Empowering Women: Pioneers in the Cycling Industry

By Megan Flottorp

The history of cycling is one of innovation, adventure, and freedom. From the clunky velocipedes of the 1860s to the sleek, high-tech machines of today, the bicycle has undergone a remarkable evolution. However, alongside this progress, the industry has grappled with a persistent issue: the lack of diversity and representation of women. Despite strides towards inclusivity (and a ton of rad women doing extraordinary things on bikes), men still dominate the cycling industry, from manufacturing to leadership roles.

When cycling first gained popularity in the late 19th century, women were relegated to domestic roles and deemed incapable of engaging in mechanical pursuits. However, a few pioneering women challenged these stereotypes, albeit facing ridicule and scepticism. Fast-forward to the present day, and while women hold a much more prominent place, the upper echelons of the cycling industry continue to look a lot like an old boy’s club.

According to recent findings by the Bicycle Association, women constitute a mere 8% of bike workshop roles and 19% of customer-facing positions. And although they hold 40% of administrative roles, very few occupy senior leadership roles. This disparity is starkly incongruent with the broader workforce where women comprise nearly half of all employees.

That said, some women are rightly claiming their seat at the table and ensuring we continue seeing a shift in the right direction. So, in honour of International Women’s Day, it’s time to shine a spotlight on the women driving change in the cycling industry.

Rachael Burnside: empowering women through mentorship

Rachael Burnside, Business Director at Shift Active Media, is at the forefront of initiatives to empower women in the cycling industry. Inspired by her experiences benefiting from mentorship, Burnside launched ‘Uplift,’ a career mentorship programme. Uplift provides aspiring female leaders with access to a network of seasoned professionals, enabling them to navigate their careers with confidence. Burnside’s dedication to fostering female talent underscores the importance of representation and support within the industry — three cheers for providing women the support they need to thrive!

Elizabeth Walker: redefining team management

 Elizabeth Walker, Team Manager at Liv Factory Racing, exemplifies resilience and dedication in a male-dominated arena. As one of the few female team managers, Walker oversees a diverse team of athletes and support staff. Her journey from collegiate mountain bike racer to team manager reflects her passion for the sport and commitment to nurturing talent. Walker’s inclusive leadership style has also been recognised as fostering a supportive team culture, that emphasises empathy and collaboration. By setting a unique tone and vibe amongst her team, Walker challenges stereotypes and paves the way for future generations of women in cycling.

Kate Veronneau: championing women’s cycling

As the Director of Women’s Strategy at Zwift, Kate Veronneau is a driving force behind initiatives promoting gender diversity in cycling. Veronneau spearheads programmes such as the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift and Zwift Academy, which provide opportunities for aspiring female cyclists. Her advocacy for women’s representation extends beyond hiring practices, advocating for inclusivity and equality within the cycling community. Veronneau’s vision for a more inclusive cycling industry inspires change and progress.

Cassondra Spring: shaping brand identity


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Příspěvek sdílený Cassondra Spring (@cassondra)

Cassondra Spring, Global Brand Manager at Liv Cycling, recognises the evolving landscape of the cycling industry. With a keen focus on brand identity and marketing, Spring plays a pivotal role in shaping Liv Cycling’s image. Her dedication to promoting diversity and inclusivity reflects the brand’s commitment to empowering women in cycling. Spring’s innovative approach to marketing challenges traditional norms, amplifying the voices of female cyclists worldwide.

Sasha Castling: breaking barriers in PR

Sasha Castling, Head of Public Relations at Ribble Cycles, embodies resilience and determination. As a trailblazer in public relations, Castling navigates a male-dominated industry with confidence and grace. Her advocacy for gender equality and representation underscores the importance of diverse perspectives in shaping the cycling narrative. Castling’s unwavering commitment to breaking barriers inspires others to challenge stereotypes and pursue their passions fearlessly.

Mei Ling Rider: revitalising marketing strategies

Bringing a wealth of experience to the table, Mei Ling Rider currently holds the position of Chief Marketing Officer at BMC Switzerland, a role they’ve held since November 2021. Before this, Rider served as the Marketing Director at G2 Esports, contributing to the growth and success of the esports organisation. Before delving into the esports realm, Rider held vital positions at Red Bull, including Global Head of Media and Audience Marketing, demonstrating their expertise in media strategy and audience engagement. As a marketing trailblazer, Mei Ling Rider’s leadership at BMC Switzerland underscores a commitment to driving forward-thinking strategy and fostering a culture of creativity and innovation.

Christina Lindquist: leading marketing innovation

In the cycling world, Christina Lindquist has shone as Rapha’s Global Marketing Director since June 2023. With a strong background in marketing and management, Lindquist earned a Professional Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and an MSc in Marketing & Management from Loughborough University. They’ve held notable roles, such as Global Head of Marketing at Brompton Bicycle and Director of Brand Strategy & Communications at Hostmaker. Lindquist’s expertise and innovation make them a standout leader in cycling marketing.

As you can see, from marketing to engineering, women are reshaping the cycling landscape, driving innovation and progress. In celebrating International Women’s Day, let us honour the contributions of these women and advocate for greater gender diversity and inclusion in the cycling industry. Together, we can create a more equitable and inclusive future for all cyclists! Happy IWD!