London Women’s Racing – the first week | Charmaine Rees

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Firstly, I would like to welcome you to London Women’s Racing (LWR)! LWR has formed as result of many women in London and the South East wanting to race in local events and to ensure that organisers keep running the events.

Having only launched a week ago, we have had so much positive feedback already and are truly overwhelmed. Twitter is positively humming, the training day is almost full and we have had lots of support from the cycling community.

I thought the first blog should be dedicated to all those who have helped out over the last 6 months, from the race organisers who have agreed to allow us to use their races for the Spring League, to our amazing team co-ordinating everything behind the scenes. Most people have full time jobs, family commitments and lead very busy lives but are helping us out voluntarily, giving up their time to create LWR. A huge thank you to you all.

So how did it all come together?

I remember speaking to Beth (Dulwich Paragon) about 6 months ago, following the cancellation of a race I was participating in. I had taken the time to drive for an hour to the race, sign on and warm up, only to be told on the start line that the race was cancelled. After all, there were only two of us, hardly enough participants to run the event. I was told I could race in the men’s Cat 3 race that afternoon if I wanted, which I didn’t.

Of course, it wasn’t only me that wasted my time that day; it was the commissars, the other race participants, the countless volunteers that had given up their time to help out. I felt so frustrated that I decided I couldn’t be the only one facing the same issues!

Luckily, I wasn’t alone and at a similar time, Dulwich Paragon was in the process of setting up a forum to try and address some of the issues with participation in women’s racing in London in time for the 2016 season.

The forum was productive but time and time again, the same issue kept being raised, how can we encourage women in London and the South East to put a number on and keep racing each season?

What you see here now, on the website and via social media is the culmination of 6 months’ work trying to address this. We have listened and talked (and drunk quite a lot of tea and munched our way through a few packets of biscuits) and created a platform for a central voice for women’s cycling in London and the South East.

At the moment, we have the Spring League and the forum but are very much hoping it is added to over the coming years. This is a site dedicated to anyone who wants to get involved in racing locally and wants to promote women’s racing.

LWR is still in the very early stages of its development so if there is something you want to change about racing, let us know! After all, we are running this for all the ladies out there who want to race.

Charmaine Rees, Chair, London Women’s Racing