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)

  • Dave2020

    I agree with the first two comments, but more to the point, the very idea that there are worthwhile women-specific bike designs on the market is a bad joke! To my knowledge Cervelo are the only manufacturer to build all their frames with the same STA of 73°. I don’t think they’d be the first choice for a first-time buyer!

    They are correct in their reasoning for this; i.e. male/female morphology does not vary in any way that justifies different STAs. The same goes for tall or short riders, regardless of gender. The ONLY variable factor is the rider’s biomechanics – period.

    There are three areas where the bicycle industry habitually promotes incompetent design – frame geometry, crank length and the foot/crank interface. These are especially problematic on small bikes.

    I bought a Boardman frame, trusting that the product would be supplied with the 73° STA stated in the specification. It wasn’t, as I discovered after trying to set the saddle in the desired position. Only then did I check the geometry. The STA measured 74.5°! Do you think I’m right to describe bike industry design as incompetent?

    I just remembered: Liv frame geometry is (accidentally?!) ok because the axis of the STA runs behind the BB centre! But they’re not in a budget price bracket! I noticed that Vos has the saddle adjusted forward, to suit her biomechanics, using the over-long cranks (172.5) she’s habituated to.

  • Jon Burrage

    I disagree too. Segregating men and women within the cycle industry is surely not the way forward. Our shop employs 3 fantastic women and we stock a very good range of womens kit from entry level through to high end performance (clothing, bikes, accessories etc) and we see strong results because of it. Perpetuating the idea that women need their own specific shops is, in my opinion, as dated as suggesting that women should not be riding bikes at all. There are just as many male nervous newcomers as there are female nervous newcomers and cycling as a whole should be welcoming to new cyclists all round.

  • RJDW

    Disagree – we need more women in all local bike shops both front of house and on the tools, yes many shops are still in the dark ages, but this is supposed to be an inclusive sport. Bike and apparel retail generally is really poor irrespective of gender in this sector. Massive opportunity – but the independents usually can’t hold that amount of seasonal stock.