We’ve come a long way, baby!
March 1st, 2011 by Ashleigh Moolman Pasio
A quick look at the progress of Women’s Cycling since Road cycling started as an organized sport in 1868.
1888 – Women join bi(cycling) clubs in Chicago
1892 – The journal “Physical Education” (a publication of the YMCA) devoted an issue to women, saying that women need physical strength and endurance and dismiss the popular idea that women are too weak to exercise
11893 – 1900 – The “Golden Age of the Bicycle” saw many improvements to the modern day bicycle. A side effect was more common-sense cycling clothing for women.
1894 – Anne “Londonderry” Kopchovsky, 23, sets out to become the first woman to bicycle around the world, a journey that lasted 15 months and earned her $5000 along the way
1895 – Mrs Frank Sittig exhibits her new duplex riding skirts which the New York Times judges to be “An ideal suit for cycling, to which even the most prudish could not object.”
1896 – Women are buying 25 – 30 % of all new bicycles
1896 – The first women’s 6 day bicycle race starts in Madison Square Gardens, New York City
A giant leap for women cyclists……….
1958 – Women are admitted to the international cycling championships.
1974 – The first issue of Women’s Sports magazine is published.
1984 – Connie Carpenter wins the first women’s cycling event in Olympic history at the Los Angeles Games.
1984 – Grande Boucle or Women’s Tour De France also known as the Tour De Feminin started
1988 – Giro d’Italia Femminile started
1990 – Juli Furtado wins the world mountain bike cross-country championship.
1192 – Juli Furtado wins the world downhill championships
1992 – Velo News names Juli Furtado Cyclist of the Year, making her the first woman to earn that honor. At her retirement in 1997, she was a two-time world champion, three-time World Cup champion and five time national champion in mountain biking .
1994 – The first UCI women’s rankings actually started with Monica Valvik-Valen leading the final rankings under what was at the time called UCI World Classments, or UCI World Challenge. Today they are simply known as UCI World Rankings, and the UCI World Cup Rankings.
1998 – The first Women’s World Cup started
1999 – The first UCI women’s trade teams were formed
………but maybe not big enough.
Today while earnings pale in comparison to the men’s salaries, things have improved a lot in the last five years. The Top women of the world today can earn as much as 100000 euro a year. Good salaries start around 36000 euro a year, and that’s not bad at all, but some are getting as little as 10000 euro a year, or nothing at all.
Women are equally as fun to watch as the men, even more since they are underdogs of the sport. The men enjoy the best sponsors and pay worldwide, as well as many more races to compete in, however women suffer and bleed, cry, laugh and rejoice just as much as the men do!
Women’s racing is no longer a social event, but a real serious business where the lungs are bursting and legs are burning. It’s no longer the case where they circle lap after lap chatting like friends out on a social ride. That might of been the case so many years ago at some races, but today’s top women are 100% serious about what they do.
It’s all a science now, and on the cutting edge.