Marianne Vos, Marijn De Vries and numerous other famous names from the world of women’s cycling were in London this week for the launch of new initiative Strongher at the Look Mum No Hands cafe, and by all accounts the evening was a roaring success and a great deal of fun. What isn’t clear from the photos and messages on social media, however, is what exactly is Strongher, and what’s it for?
Anneke Prins was at the event, so we asked her…
“Do you know someone who has wanted to take up cycling, but was perhaps a bit intimidated by going out on their own? Or are you interested in spending time with like-minded women on bikes? Why not try out the STRONGHER app? This app and platform was launched on Friday the 9th of October at the Look Mum No Hands! cafe in London, after years of work by Marianne Vos, Hannah Barnes, Rebecca Charlton and other pros.
Indeed, one of the best things about women’s cycling is the fact that the sport is supported and promoted by many professional and ex-pro riders. This new initiative will build further on the hard work of these riders. At the launch, Marit Huisman explained that the STRONGHER platform and app aims to connect women with each other so that groups of women can ride together, as well as encouraging more women to get on their bikes. The launch video highlights what cycling means to different riders, pros and non-pros alike, and explains the reason behind the creation of the platform. The launch was also attended by Alex Dowsett who lent his support to the promotion of women-specific events.
In October 2014 the original platform, Take The Stage, was launched by Vos along with Barnes and Charlton. Under this banner, a number of social rides and events have been run where women had the opportunity to learn from the pros and share their love of bike riding with others. You might have heard of these events under the hashtags #Weownyellow, #RoadtripParis, #Ontheroad, #RoadtripBarcarola, and #Secrettwitterride. Strongher was launched as an overarching platform to incorporate all the initiatives launched by Take The Stage. Keep an eye on their website, twitter account and Facebook page for rides and events. The platform also incorporates an app which women can use to plan rides, invite other riders to their rides and chat about bikes, riding and anything else! The Strongher app is also connected to Strava, so that your rides are displayed in the app.
The STRONGHER initiative aims to encourage more women to get on their bikes by creating a means to communicate with each other. It is meant for all riders, from the weekend cruisers to the hardcore racers, and especially those new to the sport. Strongher truly is The Stage for Women Who Ride.”
“What happens if you put a bunch of girls in bib shorts on the Tower Bridge? Exactly! Cars honk and crowds gather to see what’s going on. Flashing cameras, cheering guys – “beautiful, beautiful!”. We absolutely felt like world famous cyclists. Which we in fact are, of course. Or at least two of us: Manon Carpenter (world champion downhill) and Marianne Vos (best female cyclist ever)….” Marijn De Vries – read more
Teams and Transfers
A new team!
If you’ve been to any races in the Southern region this year, you may already be familiar with the name 3C CycleExperience – the team was set up earlier this year with the aim of bringing together like-minded female cyclists who wanted to race.
Sponsors CycleExperience (a bike shop based in Hythe) and Really Useful Box apparently like the exposure they’ve received, because in 2016 the team has the backing to establish itself at regional races – read more about them and their results here.
Meanwhile, Team WattCycle is to close at the end of the season – bad news, as “geographic” club teams are sorely needed in UK women’s cycling to provide a supportive environment for riders not yet ready to move to the “trade” teams. However, on a more upbeat note Bonito Squadra Corse, which we had previously reported was to close, will continue, albeit on a smaller scale.
Last chance to donate to the Women’s Eastern Racing League prize fund!
Regular readers of our news updates (apparently there are some!) will know that the Women’s Eastern Racing League, a grassroots organisation set up by Tanya Griffiths and others to promote and develop the sport of women’s cycling in the Eastern region, has been left in a bit of a tight spot after a main sponsor shut up shop recently, leaving the League without the bike and wheelset it had promised as a prize for the winner of it’s season-long time trial league.
Starley Bikes showed enormous generosity when they provided a substitute bike, but was unable to also provide the wheels – so Tanya was forced to turn to crowdfunding to try to find the money to buy some. There are three days to go, with the prizes due to be handed over at WERL’s end-of-season party on Sunday (Neutral Service will be there, so check back for photos next week), but at the time of writing only £130 has been raised towards a goal of £1600.
You can donate any amount from just £1 upwards. Please do – organisations such as this are securing the future of our sport, especially going into an Olympic year when times are especially tough on the amateur racing scene.