Women & Bicycles – speakers

Women & Bicycles is a two-day festival to inspire, enable and showcase women in cycling with speakers, panel discussions, practical workshops and guided rides. This is our cast of cycling super stars. Also, check out the incredible programme and get more info on our main event page.

Alex Feechan

Alex is the founder and creative force behind leading women’s outdoor apparel brand FINDRA. A lover of the great outdoors, Alex got hooked on mountain biking and quickly realised the kit available to women was extremely limited. Compelled to do something better and with a 20-year career in fashion and textiles behind her, Alex was inspired to establish her own brand.

She is part of Panel 1: Making space for women in cycling on Saturday morning and you can follow her on twitter here.

Anna Kubik

Anna is a cycling adventure enthusiast and an amateur dot-watcher, works in animation and is obsessed with picture making. She is madly in love with quiet lanes and climbing hills by bike, and recently rode some of the North Coast 500 route, following in the pedal strokes of the Syndicate. She has plans to explore the off-road trails of Europe and get used to camping.

Anna is part of Panel 4: Making the North Coast 500 Happen on Sunday afternoon.

Becci Curtis

Becci has been practising yoga since 2002 and riding her bike since 2012. An expert at the 3-mile commute, novice team time trialler, and total newbie cyclo-cross racer, she is an active member of the Cowley Road Condors and has run a ‘yoga for cyclists’ winter training course for the past two years. To combine her two loves, Becci co-founded VeloVedic cycling and yoga training retreats in 2016 – their first event will run in Oxford later this year.

Becci is running two Yoga for cyclists sessions on Sunday morning and you can find out more about her on her website here.

Carolyn Roberts

Carolyn is a keen cyclist and the owner of Kids And Family Cycles, an award-winning family-run business that loves helping families and businesses to welcome a life-changing cargo bike into their lives. She is also a mother to four manic boys aged 9-16 and has used cargo bikes for her daily school runs for the last nine years.

Carolyn is part of Cafe Over-share on Sunday morning and of Panel 3: Cycling as a Family on Sunday afternoon.

Cheryl Reid

Cheryl Reid was born in London and has been riding to work for over 12 years. She bought her first road bike in 2014 and joined the Cowley Road Condors, quickly becoming women’s officer, and then President the following year. She is now the proud owner of four bikes and has cycled up an Alp. She loves to combine two of her favourite pastimes – cycling and fancy dress!

Cheryl is part of Panel 1: Making space for women in cycling on Saturday morning.

Eleanor Smith

In 2007 when Elle started cycle commuting from her home in east London to her rubbish job in Victoria she didn’t know one end of a spanner from the other. But she did love the feeling of the ride (much more than the job). Several years and mechanical misadventures later she finally decided the world need more female mechanics and promptly abandoned her NGO career for a bike workshop job.

In 2011, she co-founded Beryl’s Night as a space where women and transgender people could learn mechanics. In 2012, she co-founded the Broken Spoke Bike Co-op where she works as director. She co-organised this year’s Women & Bicycles and will lead the Fix a flat workshop on Saturday afternoon.

Emily Chappell

Emily is a former London cycle courier and a Director of The Adventure Syndicate. She has cycled from Wales to Japan, across Iceland, and from Anchorage to Seattle in winter, enduring temperatures as low as -40. More recently she has won the 4,000km Transcontinental race across Europe, and the 24-hour Strathpuffer mountain bike race. Her first book, What Goes Around, is published by Faber.

Emily runs the workshop Preparing for a long-distance bike journey on Saturday afternoon and is part of Panel 4: Making the North Coast 500 Happen on Sunday afternoon. You can read her fabulous blog here.

Hannah Reynolds

Hannah is a writer, journalist and bike rider. She loves pinning a number on but her enthusiasm far outweighs her talent. She has taken part in diverse and challenging events all over the world, with limited success. From La Marmotte sportive in France to the Megavalanche, the longest downhill mountain bike race in the world, she has competed in 24-hour mountain biking, cross-country mountain biking, downhill, road, cyclo-cross and track. To be fair she occasionally gets it right, she was once the South of England Road race champion and finished third in the European 24-hour solo mountain bike championships in 2011.

Hannah is author of France en Velo, a beautifully illustrated guide book charting a 1000-mile journey across France from St Malo to Nice. She is also author of Fitter, Faster, Further, a guide to sportive preparation and Get on Your Bike, a beginners guide to cycling, both published by Bloomsbury. Hannah was Fitness editor at Cycling Weekly magazine for 15 years and editor of Cycling Active and Cycling Fitness. She now works as a freelance writer and cycle guide for Skedaddle and is based in Cumbria.

Hannah chairs our pre-lunch Panel 2: Going places by bike on Saturday.

Isla Rowntree

Isla began riding at 4. She joined Stourbridge Cycling Club aged 12 and started working at her local bike shop whilst she was still at school.

As a rider of petite stature, her progress to multiple national champion went hand in hand with developing and building her own custom frames and adapting componentry for maximum comfort and efficiency.

As the trophies started to pile up, Isla turned to pro racing for Raleigh. She later became head of sourcing and design at one of the biggest bike companies in Britain, learning invaluable skills along the way. Her frustration with the heavy, poorly designed bikes that her sister’s children were struggling to enjoy gave her the Eureka moment she needed, and Islabikes rolled into action in 2006.

2016 sees Islabikes embark on an exciting new journey, the “Imagine Project”. Concerned about global consumption of finite natural resources, the goal is to ensure families will still be able to enjoy cycling in the future through the sustainable supply of bicycles.

Isla is running the workshop The Science of Saddlesore on Saturday afternoon and is part of Panel 3: Cycling as a Family on Sunday afternoon.

Jools Walker

Jools Walker (a.k.a. Lady Velo) is the cycle-style blogger behind VeloCityGirl. She started VCG in March 2010 when she bought her Pashley Princess bike… and assumed that would be the only bike she’d ever want. After years of working within the cycling industry, in 2016 she went full time with VeloCityGirl and working as a host / MC and presenter on ITV’s The Cycle Show.

Jools is part of Panel 1: Making space for women in cycling on Saturday morning.

Josie Dew

Josie Dew’s life has revolved around cycling. She has cycled over 497,000 miles across 6 continents and 49 countries (some of them by accident). The survivor of several wonky knees and worn-out bottom brackets she is still firmly fixed in the saddle. She has written 7 books about her travels and is in the middle of an eighth. She is a patron of Sustrans and Vice President of Cycling UK. Josie rides with her three young children everyday to school and beyond. She has also cycled over 1500 miles with them across Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Josie is part of Panel 3: Cycling as a Family on Sunday afternoon and you can find out more about her here.

Karen Gee

Karen set up the family cycling website Cycle Sprog when she couldn’t find any advice on cycling with her two young sons. Since then their cycling has ranged from the daily school run to exploring Amsterdam and braving single track in the Canadian Rockies. She’s now desperately trying to keep up with them, as they’re far more fearless, fit and faster than her.

Karen is part of Panel 3: Cycling as a Family on Sunday afternoon.

Kimberley Tew

Kimberley is the owner of The Roasting House where she roasts coffee beans and delivers them across Nottingham by bicycle. She was previously a web developer and took up coffee roasting as something to do during a career break but it turns out that both coffee and cycling are pretty addictive so she is now in her third year of running the business.

Kim is part of our pre-lunch Panel 2: Going places by bike on Saturday.

Laura Moss

As well as cycling 13,000 miles around the world, through 29 countries, Laura has run the length of all the London Underground lines, walked across Patagonia and swum the Hellespont. She founded the popular Cycle Touring Festival in 2015, bringing together a wide range of people interested in exploring the world by bike, and is a Director of The Adventure Syndicate.

Laura is part of our pre-lunch Panel 2: Going places by bike on Saturday and also part of Panel 4: Making the North Coast 500 Happen on Sunday afternoon. Follow her on twitter here.

Lee Craigie

Lee Craigie is a mountain bike visionary. As well as racing in the Commonwealth Games and World Championship, Lee works within the Cycletherapy scheme to engage young people at risk of social exclusion for behavioural reasons, using mountain biking to change they way they think about themselves.

The Adventure Syndicate Director and North Coast 500 rider is part of our pre-lunch Panel 2: Going places by bike on Saturday and also leads a mountain bike ride on Sunday morning. Find out more about her here.

Marta Lomza

Marta is a heritage engagement professional, a tour guide and an archivist with a strong interest in radical history. Having previously worked with a number of heritage projects in London, she’s recently launched a radical history platform in Oxford, which focuses on highlighting stories of groups traditionally marginalised in Oxford, through tours, workshops, talks, and social media.

Marta is running the ‘Women’s Oxford’ bicycle tour on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

Maryam Amatullah

Maryam has been a cycling instructor since 2011 and currently works for Sustrans and Leicester City Council. She is also a Breeze Champion and Membership Secretary of her local cycling club, Leicester Women’s Velo. Maryam has worked extensively in the BME communities teaching women how to ride bikes. She leads rides to show safe routes for cycling and how easy it is to get around on a bike and explore the local area.

Maryam runs the cycle training session for new and ‘not-for-a-long-time’ cyclists on Sunday morning and is part of Panel 3: Cycling as a Family on Sunday afternoon.

Naomi Mahendran

Naomi Mahendran founded The Cycling Store for other city commuter cyclists who need practical everyday clothing and accessories that look great on or off the bike. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Naomi moved to London and immediately fell in love with discovering the city by bicycle. Not happy with commuting, she has since become a road cycling convert and now spends her weekends riding the lanes of England and beyond, with the view to doing London to Paris over the summer.

Naomi is part of our pre-lunch Panel 2: Going places by bike on Saturday.

Polly Clark

Polly Clark from Mountain Yoga Breaks is a highly experienced yoga teacher and mountain bike guide who runs mountain bike and yoga retreats in Wales. She focuses on how yoga practices can assist in unwinding problem areas for a cyclist’s body and how breathing and relaxation practices can make you a better rider.

Polly runs the workshop Yoga and body care on Saturday afternoon.

Rickie Cotter

Rickie officially rides too much. She cut her mountain bike teeth in the world of 24-hour racing and quickly progressed from National Champion to win two elite world silver medals. She also loves a good stage race and has won Trans Wales and Iron Bike.

She eventually decided to take things a bit further and not bother going home after rides, so began taking a sleeping bag as an essential piece of kit, just like a pump or inner tube.

She has entered and completed the Transcontinental Race, the Highland Trail 550 and the Tour Aotearoa, and was one of the seven-woman team who rode 518 miles in 36 hours around Scotland’s North Coast 500 route to launch The Adventure Syndicate.

She has crossed the Alps and Pyrenees on- and off-road and is partial to a good run, especially if mud or hills are involved.

She believes you can have a full-time job and still train for long ridiculous races, and is out to prove that we can all achieve more than we think we can.

Rickie is our keynote speaker on Saturday afternoon and also part of Panel 4: Making the North Coast 500 Happen on Sunday afternoon. Read an interview with her here.

Sarah Connolly

Sarah has been one of the most prolific women’s cycling fangirls, who covers professional road, MTB, BMX, cyclocross, paracycling and all kinds of random two-wheeled joy. You’ll find her sharing her love for the sport on her (sweary) podcast, to her blogging, occasional TV commentating, and of course, social media.

Sarah is part of Panel 1: Making space for women in cycling on Saturday morning.

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