Long read: The story of 'Madame Gray', who transformed women's cycling

We look back on the career of the gifted administrator whose drive and tenacity enabled her to shape the sport into what it is today and become the godmother of women’s cycling

Image shows 'Madame Gray'
(Image credit: Future)

"Madam President.” That was the headline splash of the 18 December 1976 issue of Cycling. Pictured underneath was a smiling Eileen Gray in formal attire, looking happy if a little uneasy, perhaps uncertain of exactly what the future will bring.

The picture had been taken at the annual British Cycling Federation’s (BCF) National Council meeting, held in Blackpool the previous weekend. Prior to holding votes on introducing new track titles, increasing subscription prices and limiting cash prizes for amateurs, came the election of Gray to the position of BCF president. It was a four-horse race that went just one round – the 56-year-old Gray immediately claiming 38 of the 75 votes cast and so securing an overall majority at the first time of asking.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1