Jen’s launching a new Club for Women Riders. The wheels are already in motion, the 250WRC Instagram is live and the website is being spannered as I write. Here she is to tell you what inspired The 250 WRC….
WHY THE 250LONDON WOMEN RIDERS CLUB?
Simply, it’s our way of acknowledging the ordinary but incredible Women riders who buy into our brand, or any independent brand for that matter. The Privateers and the Weekend Warriors, who are the most important investors. The riders, without whom, none of the big corporate brands would exist, let alone be able to pay their superstar Pros.
Women riders have been wearing 250LONDON since the brand launched in late 2015, even though we’ve never actively promoted 250 specifically as a “Women’s” brand. But it’s no accident that they love it, feel good in it and look freaking fabulous in it, and that’s because we actively design the products with Women in mind too.
Because of the support we get from Women riders, we’ve always been supportive in return. We give “rider support” to just as many Women as Men, as it happens, and we get a great deal of pleasure from that because the engagement we have with many of them is really special.
We want to get to know even more of these riders so the WRC will be a platform for them to share their experiences, their passion for riding, their weekend dreams, their end goals and their achievements to an audience of other women riders who want to read about them. They deserve a moment of glory as much as the pros do, right?
WHY AM I DOING IT? BECAUSE I'VE GOT FORM.
Back in the 90’s I co-published a Scottish MTB Fanzine with my boyfriend at the time, Chris Duncan, an exceptionally talented and creative Writer with a wicked sense of humour to match. Check out some of the issues below, the only copies I still possess. And don’t ask why there’s a Chopper on the front of #2!
A lot of the copy was tongue in cheek! Riders regularly got the piss taken out of them, it was part of the charm of the zine. But riders in Scotland, unless they were the absolute cream of the national crop, barely got a mention in any of the national MTB print mags, especially the women. In fact, to quote a senior male member of staff at the Scottish Cycling Union, who also wrote the Scottish race reports for Cycling Weekly, and who I pulled up for barely mentioning my significant win at a round of the Scottish National XC Series…
It’s true, he really said that. I was a member of the Scottish Squad as well, yet he didn’t feel the need to report on my achievements, I was an “aside” at the bottom, way after the boys and men who’d crashed, punctured and DNFed.
So we decided to give Scottish Riders their very own publication and invited them to contribute content, no matter how daft, it was all in good humour anyway and they loved it. We received submissions from riders all over Scotland and ran features and race reports and all sorts of stuff. Riders would eagerly wait for the next issue to see if they made the cut! Chris wrote the majority of the copy, I interviewed some riders, blagged products to test and giveaway, I did all the typesetting (on good old Windows Publisher!) and sent it to print.
Below, I’ve snapped some of the pages to give you an idea of the feel of the zine. I still can’t believe my first MTB race was a World Cup though!!
But PUMP had a really positive impact on the Scottish MTB scene, it gave riders some spotlight who would otherwise not get any. They even named the first ever Scottish DH series after PUMP, which was cool!
Ok, so the WRC will be a bit glossier (and more mature) than PUMP but I hope the spirit will be the same. It’ll give women riders the chance to tell their story, maybe about the first race they entered, their journey back from injury perhaps, the friendships they’ve made through riding, the positive effect being on their bike has on their emotional wellbeing, an amazing women-centred event they’ve organised or attended or a bloody good laugh they had with their gal pals riding across the USA! Goodness, the scope is endless! But I’m sure you get the gist.
A few weeks ago I discovered a photo of me (by retro snapper Geoff Waugh) had been printed in a really cool British MTB magazine, CRANKED MAG. It was taken at The Malverns Classic the year before, a throwback event reborn from the 90’s, a retro MTB Festival from back in the day. We went as a brand to showcase and I entered the Retro Race wearing my old Bontrager kit (my bike sponsor back then) and on my original Bontrager Race Lite, which I’d held onto all those years. I had such an awesome time and even took away a medal. I was stoked!
When I saw that photo in the mag it made me feel so happy and nostalgic! I remembered “back in the day” just getting your name in print was exciting, never mind a photo! But I’m sure the same still applies for riders today. It was certainly a eureka moment which got me thinking, so Adam and I brainstormed about how we could give you girls a platform. You might not get on TV or the front cover of a national Mag but if you’ve got a story to share, you’ve a good shot of getting featured on 250 WRC!
We have no master plan, the club will go where the members take it. The website and blog will grow as more content is published. I can’t guarantee top quality editorial journalism because I’m not a writer or an editor but I’ll do my best! For the most part, we’d like stories written in the 1st person because they’re more personal that way, but we’re also open to ideas, contributions and support, no matter where you are in the world! And if you ARE a talented writer, HELP!
Want to get involved? If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already following the new WRC Instagram account which is growing so rapidly, thank you!! But the next step is to sign up to the newsletter, which we’ll use to alert you to new stories and giveaways and other fun stuff.
Right, that’s it for now! Please hit the button below to sign up. You should receive confirmation of your sign up and a welcome email which includes a discount code, exclusive to WRC Members. Furthermore, the first 25 to sign up will be entered into a DRAW to win a treat! More details to follow…
Cheers for reading and enjoy the ride!