Greetings, cyclists! Today’s post is a special one in that it features an inspirational group of determined women who have defeated the odds to pursue their cycling goals. Georgia Simmering, Megan Giglia, Laura Bingham, Fiona Brookes, and Emily Chappell all have incredible stories that I’d like to share with you in this post.
An excerpt from Wikipedia shares Georgia’s story by writing, “After suffering a wrist injury in ski cross competition, Simmerling switched to competitive track cycling. After having plates and screws inserted in her wrist from her surgery, she started training on the bike within a week of suffering the wrist injury. Simmerling won a gold medal in team pursuit on her debut on the World Cup tour with Jasmin Glaesser, Laura Brown, and Steph Roorda. She would go on to win silver at the 2015 UCI Track World Championships with Glaesser, and new teammates Allison Beveridge and Kirsti Lay.”
Except: “After deciding to turn her life around, Giglia researched several sports to join and attended a para-cycling selection camp for women. A year on from her stroke she was classified as a C3 athlete and was accepted on to the British Cycling Paralympic Development Programme. Over the next six months she progressed through the Great Britain talent scheme until she progressed to the Academy in October 2014.
Giglia was selected for the Great Britain team at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn. She finished just outside the medal positions in both the C3 500m time-trial (4th) and the C3 individual pursuit (4th). She was then selected for the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Nottwil in Switzerland; but again failed to medal with two fourth places in the time trial and the road race. The year ended with a major break-through for Giglia when she beat the reigning world champion, Denise Schindler, in the C3 individual pursuit.
In 2016, in the buildup to the Summer Paralympics in Rio, Giglia entered her second World Championships. There, at Montichiari in Italy, she won gold in both the C3 500m time-trial and the individual pursuit setting new world records in both events.
On the first day of the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Giglia won the women’s 3000 m individual pursuit (C3), Great Britain’s first medal of the Games.
Giglia was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to cycling.”
“Laura Bingham (23) is a British adventurer, having travelled extensively in her early adulthood, Laura, who speaks fluent Spanish, ditched conventional English life to live in Mexico teaching English and helping a jaguar conservation project for the Mexican government.
In 2014 she make the bold decision to attempt to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. With zero experience she blagged her way onto a 38ft trimaran, alongside two sea-faring blokes and a cat called Cuba. The passage took two months, with an enforced week stop-over in the Azores because of dangerous weather conditions (had the boat been caught in the heart of the storm it would almost certainly have been destroyed). Laura was on the night shift (midnight to 4am at the helm of the boat) was witness to some extraordinary sights: numerous whales, several pods of dolphins, nights full of impossibly bright stars, and many sharks.
In 2016 she set off to attempt to cross an entire continent without any money – completely human-powered. Laura is raising both money and awareness for Operation South America, a charity that looks after homeless or abused girls and young women in Paraguay. Laura hopes that by travelling with no money she can begin to catch a small glimpse of a life without financial or social stability. A life entirely dependent on the kindness of those around her. Having started on the Pacific coast of Ecuador in January on a push bike, at the time of writing she had just entered Paraguay (having cycled across the Andes mountain range three times – once in Ecuador and twice in Peru). She has eaten left-over scraps of restaurant customer’s plates, rummaged through bins, and foraged in garbage tips in search of edible food trash. She arrived in one piece having crossed an entire continent without using any money.”
Fiona Brookes’ account was shared on totalwomenscycling.com. Her inspirational story goes as follows:
“We often take our senses for granted. On every ride, we’re taking in the beauty around us, the sights, the smells and the sound of tyres on tarmac with the natter of our riding buddies. While there’s the obvious difficulty of communicating with one another, deaf people face cycling barriers we’re not even aware of.
That said, deaf cyclist, Fiona Brookes, has been riding for a number of years. She’s a killer climbing queen, often dropping fellow riders as she makes for the break. Fiona doesn’t shy away from challenges either having completed the Raid Alpine. A 754km ride featuring a whopping 16,212 metres of climbing, where she was also the only woman!
You don’t have to have all your senses to be sociable, and one hell of a cyclist. Fiona teaches us so much through sharing her experiences and feelings towards silent riding.”
From the same source, Emily Chappell’s story is equally as inspirational as Brookes’:
“Emily has a wealth of cycling experience from a variety of disciplines in her riding background. From cycling the busy London streets as a bike courier, Emily has gone on to undertake some serious ultra endurance trips.
Last year, Emily blasted her way through nearly 4,000km of riding with 50,000m of climbing to win the Transcontinental bike race. She’s raced, ridden and toured all over the world on two wheels, sharing her stories as she rides.
Armed with advice and experience, Emily is on a mission to promote ultra-endurance riding to women. To do this, she’s willing to help break down the barriers which may be preventing women from taking part.”
To read more about Emily Chappell’s mission to get more women into ultra-endurance cycling, read about it at: https://totalwomenscycling.com/lifestyle/emily-chappell-dont-fear-failure#fYfItfLLIilhlcX1.97
Many thanks for following along! Be sure to check these incredible and inspirational women cyclists out and stay tuned with their journeys.