Suffragettes ride out for parity in cycling

Members of the Queensbury Queens Cycling Club, cycled as suffragette at the Cow and Calf, Ilkley. Picture by Simon Hulme
Members of the Queensbury Queens Cycling Club, cycled as suffragette at the Cow and Calf, Ilkley. Picture by Simon Hulme
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IN LESS than two weeks’ times, the country’s most elite cyclists will be flying past through the dramatic landscape of Ilkley Moor.

But ahead of the Tour de Yorkshire, visitors to the Cow and Calf Rocks were greeted by cyclists with a difference this morning. Around 30 members of Queensbury Queens Cycling Club donned suffragette costumes during their ride to highlight the need for increased parity in the sport.

Members of the Queensbury Queens Cycling Club, cycled as suffragette at the Cow and Calf, Ilkley. Picture by Simon Hulme

Members of the Queensbury Queens Cycling Club, cycled as suffragette at the Cow and Calf, Ilkley. Picture by Simon Hulme

Vicky Mathwin,who founded the club two years ago, said they were inspired to make the stand by the six-year-old daughter of a member, who while watching a professional race, turned to her mother and said: “so only boys can race then?”

“We are frustrated about the lack of parity for women in sport, and the coverage of sport in the media - and believe it’s important to challenge stereotypes,” Mrs Mathwin said. “We want to inspire the next generation to be something they can see. For example, although it’s great that women will get two days of racing for the Tour de Yorkshire this year, it’s on a Thursday and Friday, when young people will be at school and won’t get the chance to watch.”

Since forming on the back of a Facebook post in May 2016, Queensbury Queens now have more than 120 members from across West Yorkshire, from complete novices to women who have been cycling for 20 years.

Following the Tour De Yorkshire last year, when it came through Queensbury, in Bradford, the club saw a 25 per cent increase in members.

“While the Tour De Yorkshire has been fantastic for the area, and the sport in general, we cannot shy away from the fact that women still do not have equity in cycling,” Mrs Marthwin added.