Tweedlove: Girls Can Ride Bikes Too


This year's TweedLove Bike Festival includes seven separate events for women. What's going on? Is there now a vendetta against the blokes? No, it's purely a response to the success of last year's women's events and, more importantly, a reflection of the huge increase in popularity of women's mountain biking and cycling in general.




“There was a hugely enthusiastic response to the women-only rides last year and we were asked for more. So we've now got free skills sessions and some great ride-outs for women, and there's even a full-on women's road race crit at the Peebles Sprint”, says TweedLove organiser Neil Dalgleish. “The POC Queen of the Hill title is looking like it's going to be hotly contested too.”


Local rising XC star Katy Winton is among the favourites for that race, and is proving the point about the rise of women in the sport. She's a great all-round rider with sights on Commonwealth and Olympic Games among other goals. We filmed her riding on some favourite sections at Innerleithen - she can clean stuff that many riders of both sexes struggle badly with and can nail the steep DH/enduro tracks, even on a short XC bike with very ungrippy XC tyres on. Awesome. (And she told you so!)


Full details of all the events can be found here


Katy Winton Tweedlove


Here's a quick interview with Katy Winton



Q: What are your career highlights so far?


KW: Getting the amazing opportunity to compete in the World XC Championships in Champery 2011, and the European Champs in Slovakia 2011. Winning the British U16 Championships in 09 and the British U18 championships and series winner in 2010.



Q: How long have you been riding in the Tweed valley?


KW: For three years traveling down to Glentress then four years of living in the cycling heaven that is the Tweed Valley!



Q: What are your favourite places to ride in the Valley and why?


KW: Innerleithen because it reminds me why I ride a bike - it's so fun and fast!! Really, I just love the variety of the valley from hillside adventures to man-made trails there is a bit of everything!



Q: Do you have any thoughts on why more women are getting into cycling?


KW: Because biking is just awesome! I think it is because it is becoming much more accessible, slowly equipment is becoming more tailored for women making riding easier and it is a sociable sport - you get fit, have lots of fun and a laugh, it's a win win situation.



Q: Do you have a favourite/memorable mountain bike moment?


KW: Crashing at the start of the World Championships in Champery!  It sounds like a dreadful memory (in a way it is) but I learned so much from that race; I had to really search with in me to finish and not throw the rag in - which would have been only too easy when your only 20secs into the biggest race of your life and your already on the floor dead last. I will never forget the whole Worlds experience - it is my fondest memories.



Q: What are the goals now?


KW: Short term it is POC Queen of the Hill title at TweedLove and U23 British XC Champs title! Also selection for U23 World Champs in Austria. Long term I am looking at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 and Olympic Games, Rio, in 2016.



Q: Who are your favourite riders?


KW: Annie Last and Tracy Moseley - two constant reminders it is all possible. Great girls, riders and athletes. I recently met Alexandra Engen, it was inspiring talking and riding with her, oh, and Danny Hart's riding - his Worlds run always amazes me every time I watch it!



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