A NINE year-old from Ellesmere Port who raised more than £16,000 has been named among the most exceptional women in cycling.

Charity fundraiser and cycling inspiration, Heidi Barker, has been recognised by Cycling UK through its annual 100 Women in Cycling list for her work encouraging other women to get on their bikes.

Each year, the UK’s cycling charity recognises women from all corners of the cycling world who have had a positive impact by inspiring others to cycle and thus helping make cycling a more inclusive space.

Heidi raised more than £16,000 by walking the distance from Land’s End to John o’ Groats she is now cycling the distance from Paris to London. With a large social media following she encourages others to get out on their bikes and cycle too. Her friends and family have cycled some of the distance with her and she’s inspiring her school friends to cycle more. 

Heidi said: “My cycling has inspired friends, family and social media followers to get out on their bikes more and see the world, get some exercise and have some fun. My cycling has made me fitter, happier and more confident.”

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Despite the 2021 census showing there are more women than men in the UK, men are much more likely to cycle regularly than women. Cycling UK wants to show through its annual celebration of these inspiring individuals that cycling can be for everyone – no matter your gender, background or ability.

Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK’s chief executive, said: “Cycling is a fantastic way to get around sustainably, keep fit and have fun outdoors and we want everyone to benefit from the joy of cycling. But in the UK, substantially fewer women ride than men. It’s our mission to reverse that and see equal levels of cycling across all genders.

“A great way to encourage more women to cycle is to share the stories of these amazing women – whether they’re chronicling their adventures on social media, advocating for better infrastructure in their neighbourhoods, inspiring their communities to join them for a ride or winning medals around the world.

“Choosing the top one hundred winners involves some really tough choices – there are so many brilliant women out there who we’d want to celebrate.”

Gongs are awarded for a wide range of achievements that have helped inspire more women from diverse backgrounds to get on a bike. They are given in four categories: community champion, industry mogul, cycle influencer and sporting hero.

Dr Fiona Spotswood said: “The 100 Women in Cycling initiative showcases the role women have to play in fostering a more inclusive culture across cycling.

"My roles in cycling vary - I lead a kids’ mountain bike club, I lead groups of women mountain bikers, and I use my research at the University of Bristol to underpin work with public organisations all committed to helping transform mountain biking.

"Collectively we’re working to continue transforming mountain biking so it is a place where women and girls feel they belong and can thrive.

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“It’s been fantastic to be nominated and to learn about all the other women working in incredible ways to foster change in cycling. I feel very proud.”

This year, Cycling UK’s panel was joined by two guest judges, Michelle Arthurs-Brennan, digital editor of Cycling Weekly, and Hannah Dobson, managing editor of Singletrack World.

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan said: "Judging Cycling UK's 100 women in cycling has been a challenge - there were just so many incredible and inspiring nominees.

"It's been eye-opening to read the stories of so many wonderful characters, doing so much to drive the women's cycling community forwards, growing numbers and confidence levels across such a broad range of cycling styles, from sports enthusiasts to commuters, and those using bikes to cross cultural barriers and enact meaningful change. The future is bright, and riding a bike."

Hannah Dobson said: “It was great to see so many women bringing something to the cycling community, and interesting to see so many different types of contributions across all disciplines. It's good to see people being recognised for their enthusiasm as well as sporting prowess - illustrating that inspiration comes in many forms.

“You don't have to be on the list to help inspire people to ride - everyone that gets on a bike, whether it's to go to the shops or to escape to the countryside - is showing the possibilities that bikes offer. I hope some of the stories here will inspire others to try cycling - who knows who will see them and think 'I could do that, too'?”

To see the full list, visit Cycling UK’s website: https://www.cyclinguk.org/100women/2023