Kat Reinhart time trialing. Photo by Amara Edwards, Wheels in Focus.
The lions of professional sport often have a common narrative to their success: innate talent was discovered early and led to a meteoric rise to the top. But they represent a tiny percentage of the athletes in the pro peloton. For many if not most professional cyclists, however, the success story is one of hard work, struggle, perseverance, some failure enroute, and a whole lot of luck. Kat Reinhart falls squarely in that second path.
Reinhart is a Cat 2 road racer chasing a professional cycling dream. She spent most of the 2014 season living in a 1988 Ford Club Wagon van with her fiancee Nate (also a bike racer), traveling the country to race NRC races–the highest level professional women’s road races in the US. I sat down with Reinhart to talk about her first season racing in the pro peloton, the challenges of making it, the pros and cons of the dirt bag van life, and her cycling career endgame.
Photo by Michele Zebrowitz.
Cycling in the United States has a pervasive gender gap. Solid numbers are hard to come by, but some studies suggest that there as many as two or three men riding for every one woman on a bike. A search of “cycling’s gender gap” brings up a slew of articles theorizing the root cause, from gear to safety issues to infrastructure to socioeconomics. In the last few years, the conversation on why there’s a gap and how to address it has been elevated–if not to the mainstream, then certainly a lot closer to it. Accompanying efforts are popping up around the country to help get more women on bikes. National, state, and local advocacy groups are launching women’s initiatives. A new documentary called Half the Road examines the current state of women’s professional cycling and their struggles for equality. This year’s Tour de France feature’s a one-day women’s circuit race on the Champs-Elysées (admittedly a baby step towards an equal Tour de France for women, but a step nonetheless).
Sarai Snyder is an active and prominent voice among these women’s cycling efforts. She is the founder of Girl Bike Love, an online publication dedicated to all aspects of women’s cycling, and Cyclofemme, an annual, global cycling event celebrating women and bikes. I spoke to Snyder about her work with Girl Bike Love and Cyclofemme, the opportunities and challenges she sees for advancing her cause, the potential power of unifying cycling’s separated voices, and much more.
Posted in Bike Industry, Cycling Media, Interviews, Racing
Tagged boulder colorado, cyclofemme, gender gap in cycling, girl bike love, professional women's cycling, sarai snyder, women and bikes, women and cycling
Nelle Pierson at the 2012 National Bicycle Summit. Photo from the League of American Bicyclists.
Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA) Outreach Coordinator Nelle Pierson is only in her mid-20s, but she’s already making a big impact in the bike advocacy world. The Alliance for Walking and Biking named her Advocate of the Year at the 2014 National Bicycle Summit. Bicycling Magazine recently listed her as one of 14 bike advocacy innovators. This is in large part thanks to the work she’s doing with WABA’s Women & Bicycles Program, which she launched and continues to spearhead. Through it, Pierson is working to get more women on bikes and help narrow the pervasive bicycling gender gap. We discussed her work with WABA and the Women & Bicycles Program, her quick rise in the advocacy world, her long history with bikes, and some of the underlying issues of the gender gap.