TWO women from Cheshire have been named in Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling.

Immy Sykes and Suzie Akers Smith were both included for their work encouraging women to cycle.

They join TV and film actress Maxine Peake, BBC Radio 4 presenter, Melanie Abbott and gold medal winners Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker in the cycling charity’s list recognising significant achievements in promoting women’s cycling.

The women have all been recognised in celebration of the amazing work they have done to inspire other women to cycle, as part of Cycling UK’s Women’s Festival of Cycling which runs between July 17 and August 1.

The list also includes less well-known names of women who have been working tirelessly at grassroots level during particularly difficult times to encourage and support more women to ride: people such as Immy and Suzie.

Immy Sykes, 27, is an influencer who shares her passion for cycling on Instagram to inspire other women to ride.

Cycling came to Immy when she was at her lowest, suffering from a running injury, her physio suggested she cycle.

She didn't know any women who cycled and assumed women didn't unless out of necessity. Immy bought a bike and fell in love, transforming her life in a quiet way, pushing life boundaries, helping her to deal with anxiety, improve her confidence and relationship with herself.

As the Cycling and Walking Champion of Cheshire East Council, Suzie Akers Smith, 55, works tirelessly actively engaging with the campaign groups across every town. In this role she is getting policies changed, meaning active travel is now a driving theme and requirement in all planning/highways decisions.

To launch its annual Women’s Festival of Cycling, Cycling UK has also released figures showing that more women have taken up cycling during the coronavirus pandemic. A survey found that 31% of women surveyed switched from a car to a cycle for everyday journeys, and those who cycled regularly reported improvements to their wellbeing.

Although the number of women cycling increased during lockdown, men are still cycling nearly twice as much as women.

Cycling UK is encouraging women to stick to the pedals and continue to replace their car journeys with cycling, and is highlighting women who are inspiring, teaching and encouraging others to do so.

Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK chief executive, said: “Congratulations to Immy and Suzie for making it into our 100 Women in Cycling in 2021. It’s an incredible achievement and testimony to the tireless work they’ve done to raise the profile of women’s cycling.

“Every woman on our list is a powerful ambassador for women’s cycling, and many have done outstanding work supporting women to cycle during lockdown. But sadly, women remain underrepresented when it comes to everyday cycling.

“During this year’s festival we’re asking every woman who already cycles to find just one more woman they can help and inspire to get on their bike.”

The Women’s Festival of Cycling features a range of virtual events, local group rides and a social media challenge asking women to share pictures of their ‘bicycle face’.

Find out about events in your area and to see a full list of nominees, visit our website: