International Women’s Day is this Saturday, March 8th. No better time to recognize the women in this industry who are passionate about cycling and play a major role in the development of cyclists. There’s always been something intriguing about powerful women who make a difference, especially in the cycling industry which is heavily populated by men.
Meet Susi Wunsch, evangelist for cycling lifestyle and the founder of www.velojoy.com. She began her love of bicycles through a local spin class and when she discovered the protected bike lane on New York’s Ninth Ave in 2010, she realized the enormous potential for bikes as a means transportation. Ever since she has been working to make the streets a safer place for cyclists.
Based in NYC, she has written for Momentum magazine, Bicycling magazine, Refinery29.com, and Avenue. Velojoy has loads of interesting and useful information on women in cycling, the New York cycling culture, style, and even tutorials. With a keen eye for design, Velojoy brings an aesthetic to the bike world congruent with high fashion. Susi’s vision is fresh and playful, making biking less intimidating for those looking to get started. Her welcoming smile alone makes me feel better about getting in the saddle and knowing there is a place for me on our city’s streets.
You may have heard of our next featured lady before: Liz Hatch. She’s won the title of most beautiful woman in the peloton for 5 consecutive years, but she’s more than just a pretty face. This girl is as real as they get, and a powerhouse in women’s cycling. Starting in 2006, Hatch began riding to change her messy Miami lifestyle which she says consisted of too many cocktails and not enough success.
She was starving for something more out of life, and cycling became that niche. She was the founding member of Vanderkitten-Focus Women’s Cycling Team in 2007, and after being released in 2009, raced for the Lotto Ladies team from Belgium. After battling some health issues, Hatch couldn’t fathom putting her new found love of cycling away for life. After making the right connections and moving forward with the support of her management, she came back stronger then ever in 2013 on the CyclelivePlus-Zannata Ladies Team. Want to see more of this cycling beauty? Check out her feature in Maxim magazine from 2008. Liz Hatch in Maxim
Last but definitely not least, we’re going to take it back to the early days of cycling. Annie Londonderry was a free thinker and independent woman at a time when society did not make that easy. She was the first woman to ever travel the world by bike. She actually started her journey right here in Boston, MA; home of Montague headquarters.
It was the late 1890′s and Annie was ready to impress the world with her brave lifestyle. Anything out of the ordinary for a woman in the 19th century was sure to raise a few eyebrows. Miss Londonderry embraced this, and made sure she was remembered for years to come. She made herself into a riding billboard, carrying advertising banners and ribbons to cities all over the world. She traveled the world by bike for 15 months, earning $5,000 along the way from her endorsements (no small sum in that time). She did more then prove herself. Upon returning home, she moved her family to New York and began writing for the New York World. “I am a journalist and a new woman, if that term means that I believe I can do anything that any man can do.”
Here is a photo of Annie before departing Boston, and below, a rendition by Geoffrey Houston which I think does an excellent job of representing the vibrant lifestyle she led. A tribute to her ability to think and act outside the box.
Make sure you let the women in your life know they are appreciated this weekend, after all none of you would be here without us! Happy riding.