Front from left: Stefany Hernandez, Rebecca Charlton, Juliet Elliott, Marianne Vos
Earlier this year, I chatted to cyclist Marit Huisman about her visionary strategy for promoting women’s cycling by connecting female cyclists around the globe and sharing inspiring stories. At the time, I knew that Marit had something very special in the pipeline, something that would build on the success of her previous project Take The Stage CC and help develop women’s cycling as a sport, as well as a social activity.
The very special project that both Marit and I had to keep a secret at the time is called Strongher, and I was delighted to join a crew of extraordinary cycling ambassadors at London’s Look Mum No Hands when we launched the new initiative to a huge crowd last month.
So what exactly is Strongher, and why should you be excited?
Well, much like right here on the Velovixen site, you can browse topical features, get tips and advice, and enjoy inspiring tales. Alongside that, you can read about Strongher’s diverse crew of ambassadors who engage in every damn kind of cycling you can imagine, whether that’s racing at Elite level or just pottering because they love riding a bike.
The Strongher Ambassadors! (Juliet 4th - in cycling kit! - from left, Marianne Vos 2 on from her)
We really want to make things happen in the real world
They’ll all be posting updates and sharing news, making the Strongher site a hub for all things women’s cycling.
But Strongher is about more than just a website; certainly the idea is not just to post pretty pictures you can admire on your computer screen. What we really want to do is to make things happen in the real world. That’s where the Strongher app and Strongher rides come in.
The app is a free download from the iTunes store that once installed allows you to create or join rides, invite other Strongher members and message each other; ideal if you want to get out and meet other women to ride with in your local area.
I jump at any and every chance to ride with more women
To kick things off, Strongher ambassadors the world will ride out together the weekend of December 19th and 20th - and you’re invited to join us!
Think of it as a global party on two wheels with mince pies and tinsel! There are events going on all over the place, from Oslo, to Perth, London and Hertfordshire. I’m running my own Strongher Xmas ride right here in Devon.
They’re not exclusively for women so feel free to bring your fella and as many pals as you like. Head over to the Strongher events page to find a ride and join in the fun, or if you can’t find one close enough, why not create your own on the Strongher app?
Alongside the Christmas rides, Strongher will continue to host one-off, special days out that I for one am very excited about! One of the days I’ll definitely be attending is being organised by mountain biker Manon Carpenter over at Afan Bike Park in Wales; I jump at any and every chance to ride with more women and make new cycling friends.
So whether your resolution next year is to ride more, make friends, have fun, get stronger or you’d like some inspiration to get out on your bike now that the weather’s getting so goddam awful, head over to the Strongher site right now and get a kick start on your new year’s resolution by joining us on a Christmas ride.
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