By Cycling Weekly published
Olympic and world champion cyclist Marianne Vos joined United HealthCare Procycling’s Hannah Barnes and journalist Rebecca Charlton last week in London, to host a round-table discussion on women’s cycling.
Promoted only on Twitter with the hashtag #TakeTheStage, 200 people were invited to an intimate discussion with the three campaign ambassadors at London’s Lee Valley Velodrome last Wednesday.
Questions were put to Vos and Barnes on how they saw the future of the sport and to Charlton on the role the media has to play in supporting the growth of women’s cycling.
They were joined by a panel comprising Olympic 400m Sprinter Christine Ohuruogu, Muthai Kickboxing World Champion Ruqsana Begum, Great Britain mountain biker Alice Barnes, British Cycling Women's network PR Project Manager Natalie Justice and Shaun Dawson CEO to the London Velodrome.
The varied panel bought opinions from other sports as well as an insight to the work of British Cycling.
The emphasis was on supporting every level of female participation in the sport and “there’s a lot more that can be done” said Charlton.
Vos went on to say: “I want to share the passion and experience that I have in cycling with other women. It’s not only about being a professional rider, taking medals and being the best but about the joy of riding and that sense of freedom and confidence you get on the bike.”
When asked about moving further towards equal pay and exposure for female cyclists at the top of the sport Barnes added “I know this year that [cycling] has been on TV a lot and hopefully that’s going to bring a lot of new fans and media in. I also hope it brings even more investment from sponsors.”
On Sunday Vos, Charlton and Alice Barnes lead a 60km ride out from the velodrome, again offering limited places via social media, with three different paces to suit all-abilities.
Similar events and rides are scheduled to be held around the world in the next few months, to encourage more women and girls to take up cycling.
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