Here at We Love Cycling, we talk a lot about the ongoing need for diversity and inclusion in our beloved sport. So, we like to offer up some solutions for all our lamenting. Cycling remains a male-dominated industry, which means women’s clothing and gear are often an afterthought. Slowly but surely, though, this is changing. And one of the easiest things you can do to be the change you want to see in the industry is to support the people whose efforts align with your values.
So, whether you’re a woman rider looking for the perfect fit, want to snag the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for a lady who loves to ride or would like to add an item to your collection from some of the women killing it in the world of cycling design – read on to be inspired!
Mountains bikers, we are looking at you! If this is your pedalling mode of choice, you likely already know how limited women’s mountain biking and cycling options are. Wild Rye is here to change that. Founded and run by some awesome women in Sun Valley, Wild Rye makes super functional mountain bike gear that looks as good as it feels. Whether you need a cool setup for the summer or base layers for winter – they have got you covered. Their items reflect the fact that every woman’s body is unique and are made with a four-way stretch fabric to adapt to your body. And with plenty of patterns and colours to choose from, you don’t have to neglect your personal style when gearing up for a ride. Wins all around!
Arguably the most critical piece of gear you own, your helmet choice should not be an afterthought. Unfortunately, when it comes to helmets marketed towards women – many brands have adopted the “shrink it and pink it” strategy that assumes women should be willing to pay a premium for stereotypically feminine colours and smaller sizes.
Thousand takes a very different approach. Founder and C.E.O. Gloria Hwang knows that style, form, and function belong together. So, she started a company that designs unisex helmets in various colours and styles that you can count on for protection. And when we say protection – it is something the company takes very seriously. These vintage moto-inspired helmets come with a rock-solid guarantee: if you get in an accident while wearing your helmet, Thousand will replace it for free. Thousand Helmets is also a climate-positive business, meaning that it offsets more carbon than it creates. Talk about a helmet that can truly provide peace of mind.
Machines For Freedom
A mainstay on lists of women-owned cycling companies for a reason – Machines for Freedom is as rad as its name makes it sound. Jenn Kriske started Machines For Freedom in 2013 after concluding that the options available for women’s distance cycling gear just weren’t cutting it. Not one to sit around and feel bad for herself, Kriske started designing women’s-specific road biking clothing, including bibs, jerseys, and outerwear suited for an array of female body shapes. And not only do they design to accommodate all body shapes but they also use models of various sizes so you can actually see what the gear might look like on you. Yes, please.
Based in Melbourne, Australia, Tia Evans, founder of Framework Designs, creates some of the top bike-packing bags on the market. It’s a one-woman show by the textile designer turned bag maker, and she makes bike bags that are unique, high quality and can endure harsh conditions without compromising on aesthetics. Trust us – these are some seriously stylish bags. Initially inspired during a trip to Japan, Evans first designed a handlebar bag that served two purposes: storage on the bike and storage for the bike itself. Shortly after returning home, she purchased an industrial sewing machine and hasn’t looked back. We personally love the large capacity Sight Seeker but, honestly, they are all gorgeous. Spring bike-packing trips – here we come!
Elizabeth Colebrook founded Beaumont Bicycle in 2016, and there is just so much to love about this company it is hard to know where to start. She creates made-to-measure hand-built lightweight bicycles that suit the rider physically with thought given to where it will be ridden and the purpose for riding. Her mission is to keep people cycling regardless of any limitations they might be facing. In her own words, “my experience from working as a bicycle mechanic and an occupational therapist over the last 30 years has given me a unique skill set. I understand how an improved sense of wellbeing comes from matching fit, form, and function with consideration for our environment and how things are made.” Oh, and get this – for riders who can’t afford a new bike, she offers a fitting for a small fee and suggests affordable upgrades that will better protect arthritic hands or ease upper body strain. Now, this sounds like the kind of person I want building my bike!
So, there you have it, folks. We love the fact that more and more women are getting involved in the bike industry and creating high-quality, functional, and women-centric products. From clothing to accessories and the bikes themselves – there is so much to choose from! And remember, every time you support a women-owned brand, you are supporting women on bikes, period. With that in mind, get yourself the treat you deserve and you’ll be as excited for your first spring ride as I am.