Issue 121 - Close the gap
Close the gap
The new edition of Rouleur, number 121, is about closing the gap. It’s a sequel to our groundbreaking Women’s edition, guest edited by TV presenter and Rouleur columnist Orla Chennaoui and published two and a half years ago, but on top of that, it’s also a significant step forward.
For Rouleur 121, we convened a guest editorial panel of inspiring, talented, powerful women to come up with ideas for features and to highlight not only the challenges we face, but to emphasise solutions and positive steps. We were lucky to work with former world champion Lizzie Deignan; our very own Orla Chennaoui again; Stephanie Hilborne, who is the CEO of Women in Sport; activist and journalist Jools Walker; Tiktok sensation Sydney Cassidy; and the founder of Islabikes and multiple national cyclo-cross champion Isla Rowntree.
Our mission statement for the magazine was: more women on bikes, more women in sport. And the discussion that the panel had to that end, one morning in June, was crackling with energy, ideas, insight and positivity. The result is Rouleur 121.
The magazine is full of inspiring and important stories which should galvanise us all to recognise not only that there is work to be done, but also that we are well capable as a community of achieving great things. Cycling has not yet closed the gap, but we all hope that Rouleur 121 inspires you all to help continue that work.
What’s in the magazine?
Soul sisters, Born this way, and more
Jools Walker’s feature, Soul Sisters, is about the ‘Cycling Sisters’ organisation, which encourages Muslim women to participate in cycling with organised rides that are open to all, and support networks. In Born this Way, a feature suggested by Stephanie Hilborne, India Paine spoke with four women who have had very different experiences with cycling, sport and confidence throughout their lives – Masters track rider Janet Birkmyre, Polly Neate, the chief executive of Shelter, the adventurer Jenny Tough and Women in Sport’s head of finance and operations, Harinie Wijeweera. Though all four have experienced challenges and doubt along the way, their stories remind us that nobody is born unconfident and that it is up to society not to instil feelings of unconfidence and doubt in people as they develop.
Eyeru Tesfoam Gebru
We have interviews with two inspirational women on the sporting side of cycling. Maria David interviewed Amina Lanaya, the Director General of the UCI, who is one of the most powerful women in cycling, and Rachel Jary spoke with Eyeru Tesfoam Gebru, a Tigrayan cyclist whose pathway into elite cycling was interrupted when she sought political asylum in order to escape the war in her homeland. Lizzie Deignan has been mentoring Eyeru Tesfoam, who has the dream of one day competing to win the Tour de France.
The liberation & empowerment of cycling
Orla Chennaoui is a passionate advocate for active travel, and she directed us to write about the liberation and empowerment of choosing to go by bike instead of by car whenever possible, and why forward-thinking cities are installing bike infrastructure. And Isla Rowntree educated us all about why bike design is inherently sexist – most components are sized according to the average male’s hand, and in the case of brake levers this means that most women cannot use them effectively. This goes beyond inconvenience and discomfort to being actually dangerous. Meanwhile, Sydney Cassidy told us all about the gym-based movement she has started, the aim of which is to make gyms welcoming and supportive places for everybody. Cycling, just like gyms, can be an intimidating arena for the beginner – it is the responsibility of everybody to make it a more open space.
We also have features about training and racing through the menstrual cycle, how male allies can be useful in encouraging equality and calling out toxic behaviour, parenthood in cycling and a profile by Isabel Best of Eileen Sheridan, a dynamic and high-flying record breaker who rode in the 1940s and 1950s.
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