With All of this Talk About Equality...
Maybe the UCI, the international governing body of cycling, made a New Year's resolution to equally compensate women professional athletes in prize money... but most likely they didn't.
Mountain biking phenom and current MTB National Champion Georgia Gould created a petition to the UCI that has been wildly broadcast to increase female prize money to match that of men. There are few professional women's sports that have achieved this, and we need to look no further than Tennis to see this gap closed.
A more likely achievement would be to garner compensation and endorsement packages like the surfing and snowboarding/skiing industry have. But where will the money come from?
Let's look at the numbers for a minute. There are 1.7 Million men, women and children in the USA who SURF, yet SURFWEAR is a multi-billion dollar industry. In fact, 95% of all of the people who own clothing or accessories from a "surfwear" company will never, in fact, surf. The cycling industry boasts amazing numbers in comparison. There are 44 million women in the USA who ride bikes, yet professional women make a FRACTION of what a professional female surfer earns. So, when we want equal pay... where does the money come from?
Cycling is ready for a MAKEOVER in a BIG WAY!
I love the sport, but it's been dorky at best over the last decade (save for the gravity girls). The cost of entry is extreme compared to a lot of other sports, the fashion is very far behind (see above), and the image is not one that marketeers find, well, marketable (see above). The age of people making decisions in the cycling industry is increasing, and the touch with todays trends is far removed. But cycling has something no other sport has- the ability to do it anywhere, in practically any weather. There is no Powder Day there is no Big Swell. There is not that one thing you wait for everyday of your life, that makes the attainment of said condition prestigious and godlike. Does this limit Cycling's allure? Can we shoot videos of the perfect road descent?
If any of you have ever surfed, you know you can get to the beach to find it flat, blown-out, overly crowded, choppy, glassy or perfect. The reality is that perfection is always being chased because the sport is 100% dependent on a perfect combination of being in the right place at the right time. On any given day, there is no surf. On any given day, there is always cycling. The lifestyle of being laid back, waiting for surf, is very appealing to us all. Surfing is natural, powerful, amazing. I feel the same way about skiing: I can hit speeds over 50 miles an hour on a piece of wood wrapped with some fiberglass- No wheels, no shifting and the only thing with mechanical workings are my bindings, and that's just so I don't break my legs! Everytime I go, it costs A LOT of money to ski.
So, why then is cycling not of interest to the public at large? Its the largest recreational fitness activity in the US next to WALKING! I think cycling needs a make-over. The button-up, corporate racer drone doesn't vibe with the public at large who buy the products and services bigger sports promote. What if cycling was presented in such a way that it is accessbile, causal, exciting and beautiful?
Cycling is HOT
Leah is a professional bike racer from Canada. She is one of the young women that is changing the face of the sport. She is fast, wins big races and looks like a supermodel.
Liz is hot, she is real, down to Earth, a crowd favorite. She does not look like your female cyclist of the 90's, and she is arguably much tougher, too.
Mandy stops grown men in their tracks. She is sassy, classy, intelligent, FAST and beautiful. She is fast, fun and promotes women's cycling all day long!
Flavia is a dynamo on and off the bike. She speaks her mind, is confident and focused. She knows what she wants from life.
Leigh is hard working, fashionable, fast and wide-smiling. She and her pro-boy know VK is the new hot thing in cycling. Her hard work has made Vanderkitten Racing a reality for 2008!
These are just some of the fast women who are changing the face of Women's Cycling with Vanderkitten Racing in 2008. You will get to know them all over the coming weeks. We are excited that we can bring the level of fashion, excitement, talent and personality to the sport of cycling that does not exist. In fact, many call Vanderkitten "the Roxy of cycling"... I can't think of a more flattering compliment.