Cycling for me has never been boring or neutral. A male cyclist is just a bloke on a bike, but a woman appears political, independent, a bluestocking, egregiously sporty, or suspiciously saucy. In this likable, informative and barnstorming book, Hannah Ross tells the story of how such meanings – sometimes eagerly adopted, sometimes patriarchally imposed – have become attached to what is often just the most efficient way of getting from A to B. The historical sections are the most eye-opening.
Before reading this, I knew Hannah only as Profile's excellent publicity director. Turns out she is not only a dedicated cyclist who spends most of her weekends riding with her club, thinks nothing of cycling across the Alps, and volunteers for a charity helping refugee women in London learn to ride a bike; but also a wonderful writer. From suffragette Alice Hawkins to recent world champion Lizzie Deignan, this is her entertaining and inspiring bespoke (ha!) account of the wild women on wheels and the queens of track, road and mountain who have pedalled hard to escape convention. Now 1st April 2021.