Bella Velo in Surbiton, Surrey, exclusively stocks women's bikes, clothing and equipment, with Lizzie Armitstead backing the shop to get more women into the sport.

Commonwealth champion Lizzie Armitstead believes more women would get into cycling if the clothes are more ‘fashionable’, according to the London Evening Standard.

Armitstead has put her support behind Surbiton-based cycle shop Bella Velo, which exclusively stocks bikes, clothing and equipment designed for women.

“Ultimately that there is a place for such a shop also reflects just how many more women are cycling now, which is great – certainly so many more than when I started,” she said.

“I hope to see a chain of women’s cycling shops and plenty more women taking up the sport.”

The shop’s co-founder Peter Robson says the cycling industry’s ‘shrinking and pinking’ attitude to women’s clothing is coming to an end.

“We’re moving away from that because it’s not what the vast majority of people want,” he said.

“Eighty per cent of our stock was for men but around half of the customers were women. The products are out there now and they are every bit as good as the men’s.”

Armitstead’s fellow cyclists Victoria Pendleton and Laura Trott have spoken in the past on the subject, with Trott claiming she wears make-up on her bike because she “doesn’t feel like a girl in Lycra,” according to the Standard.

Armitstead has also recently called for a minimum wage for female cyclists, in order to help the women’s scene grow.

“You can’t expect a woman who’s holding down a part-time job to train for the biggest race in the world [Tour de France],” she said in October.

“She has to have a minimum wage and I think it’s something that is pretty crazy that we don’t have that.”

Source: London Evening Standard (Monday, November 10)