10 Minutes With… Sinéad Burke

Sinéad Burke rides for the new British team PH-MAS and is one of eight riders on the squad that will compete in events this year.
When and how did you first get into cycling?
I’ve only been cycling for a year! My mum got me started, she used to cycle when she was younger but stopped when she had children. I was doing a lot running at the time but struggling with injuries, mum suggested trying cycling and we both joined a local leisure group for a ride on the 3rd February 2013. I was hooked and it’s gone from there really!
What do you love the most about the sport?
I just love getting out on my bike, it’s such a brilliant way to explore. I’m lucky to live in Yorkshire where there’s plenty of beautiful countryside for cycling in. I love the people too – everybody I’ve come across has been so friendly and I’ve already met so many really great people.
What was the highlight of your 2013, and what are your goals for 2014?
One highlight was winning fastest women’s award in my local cl
ub’s 10 mile TT, only a small event but it was my first time trial and my first win. Plus joining the team of course! My goals for 2014 are just to enjoy myself, have some fun and see what I can do.
What does the future hold for women’s cycling? Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
I’m very optimistic, there seems to be so much development going on and so many opportunities at the moment. I hope the future involves more equality between men’s and women’s cycling, more women’s races and getting more women involved in the cycling world – be it in racing, leisure cycling, coaching etc.

Sinéad (left) with team mates Natalie Hodson, Alison Kinloch and Jess Taylor

In 2013, a lot of fans have been getting more involved in women’s cycling. Any ideas what we can do to help even more?
Keep supporting the women’s races – the more support, the better! 
How can the cycling world – fans, riders, race organisers and the UCI – encourage more women and girls to start racing?
I think information needs to be more easily available. As somebody who’s fairly new to the sport myself, at times it’s been quite difficult to find information and work out what’s going on, which is a massive obstacle. I recently went to a women’s only race training event at Tameside circuit which was really good, so maybe organising more intro events for any girls and women who are interested too. 
What are you reading at the moment?
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder, 1984 by George Orwell and Boy Racer by Mark Cavendish. I’ve also just finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. 
What’s on your Ipod?
I like quite a big range of music, so a mix! I really like the This is Dance 2014 album at the moment, but I’ve also got Muse, Radiohead, Pendulum, Kodaline and Lilly Allen to name a few, with a few classical tracks thrown in too. Different music for different things! My favourite song currently is a live version of Clarity by Foxes.
Here’s a time machine which you can use to meet any rider from any point in history. Who will you be meeting?
Beryl Burton, there’s no other word for her achievements but incredible and she was from West Yorkshire herself.
Last question, and it’s the one that top psychologists agree reveals more about a person than any other: which is better – cats or dogs?
Tough decision, can I say I like both? But if I had to choose, I suppose it would be dogs.