You Can Too: An NGNM series of inspirational stories from everyday women.
Introducing Jess, who swapped running shoes for a bike after years of injury. She’s often found following a training plan, riding as much as she can around her work in hospitality and as a freelance copywriter. This year she was selected to ride for the InternationElles, an amateur women’s team who campaign for women’s equality. #YouCanToo⚡️
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome? - Whether that’s mentally or physically.
My biggest challenge would probably have to be completing a long-distance event on a broken bike! I was riding from London to Edinburgh and back again as part of an Audax UK event. Just outside Edinburgh my rear derailleur broke! I almost had to quit the event because I didn’t know what else to do, but then a nifty mechanic turned my bike into a single speed. I cycled 500 miles from Edinburgh back to London, with just one gear. It was long and quite painful, with lots of riding through the night, but I felt so pleased when I finished that I hadn’t given up!
What 3 words would you use to describe cycling?
We all have a person who we look up to or inspires us in cycling, who is that person for you?
For me, it has always been the women around me, rather than any pros. I’ve been fortunate to ride with many different women over the years, and all of them inspired me in different ways. There were the ones who could race, and didn’t have any fear! The ones who would wake up early every morning to ride before work and they were always so motivated. Those with families that they cared for as well as being amazing athletes. And the ladies who would plan solo adventures, and ride off into the unknown ready to tackle anything that the ride threw at them. All those women inspired me and still inspire me every day.
If you could change one thing about cycling, what would it be?
The sport has a lot of traditions and culture attached to it, which in some ways is great and interesting, but can make it seem exclusive and prohibitive. I worry that people are put off and won’t try cycling because of it. And I don’t want anyone to miss out on this great sport!
What's your "specialty"?
I tend to enjoy longer distances and multi-day rides, and I’m definitely more of a climber than anything else.
Do you ride solo?
Yes, if I’m doing specific training, I prefer to ride alone. I can just concentrate on my numbers and do what I need to do. I also don’t mind going on the odd adventure by myself, as it’s nice to ride at my own pace, stop when I want to and not have to worry about another person. I do love social rides though and just chatting as the scenery passes by.
You see another woman cyclist coming your way you...:
a) say hello
b) look the other way
d) scream hell yeah!
Oooh, mainly A! And I’d do a big wave and a smile too.