Cycling has been a key part of my life for 15 years now, carrying me out of my childhood, into my teens and all the way now being a young adult navigating life. Cycling is the base of everything for me; 90% of my friendships are through bikes, most opportunities come through cycling and most importantly, where I find myself happiest.

My name is Amy Perryman, I’m a 22-year-old elite athlete currently racing on/off road for team TEKKERZ CC. I’ve been based in Portsmouth my whole life (or currently wherever I can book a cheap Airbnb in Europe!) and am primarily a cyclocross racer throughout winter, racing across the country and Europe but have recently dived into the realms of criterium racing during the summer months. One day I hope to race for a professional cyclocross team on the continent, it’s a long road but the journey excites me!

Growing up with a really strong friendship group of girls in cycling was a massive help during my teenage years of racing. I'm lucky enough to have been surrounded by such incredible women in the sport my whole life, those who really empower women in cycling. As the community of women in cycling grows year on year, I hope that one day I can be that for the younger generation.

Where did it all begin?

From what I can remember I began riding bikes at age 7, doing laps of my local track at the Mountbatten centre in Portsmouth. Watching the 2012 London Olympics was a huge turning point for me, the GBR women's track cycling team won plenty of golds, I recall really setting my sights on cycling after that. Cyclocross came about around age 12; the idea of rolling round in the mud, the energy and chaos within the discipline really appealed to my childlike chaotic
ways. It quickly became an obsession, with my whole family getting involved at the races. Now aged 22, I have raced in the CX season every year for the past 11 years.

Women in cycling, stereotypes...

Being a woman in a male-dominated sport isn’t easy and no, that is not me (or, for that matter, women in general) asking for pity or sympathy, it’s just a fact. The sport as a whole and the large administrations at the top of the sport are quite frankly stuck in the past, refusing to accept the equality that is begging to happen.
There are unfortunately huge stereotypes ingrained in cycling, especially when it comes to women's racing. Such as, ‘women’s cycling is boring to watch’ resulting in less womens races televised = less people watching women's cycling = less women joining the sport. Not only this but the idea that some people still believe “women are just small men”, just seems insane to me!!

This way of thinking is the exact reason why there is such a lack of female specific science out there, science that could drastically improve the way female athletes train and race. I believe the biggest difference between the male and female race scene is a significant lack of opportunity. Something I and most other women experience throughout their careers. Due to there being a lot more men within cycling, systems and pathways are set up already, whereas women are still having to find their own way, sourcing their own opportunities. For instance, a considerable lack of separate women's teams (professional or not), means less races on the calendar and therefore less opportunity to progress.

I have found that staying connected with people within the cycling industry, reaching out to people and making yourself known is a massive help. Being your own advocate or your own promoter is such a useful skill. I find the saying: “ it's not what you know, it's who you know.”, is unfortunately more true than you think. However, like in everyday life, if you help others out, they are likely to help you in the long run.

Fondest Bike memories:

When asked what some of my fondest moments on the bike are I immediately thought of when I've won races or podiumed at events. However, rather than just giving you a list of events I succeeded at (booooring!) I've chosen one of my favourite bike riding moments: riding the Rapha Pennine Rally in 2023 (Gravel bikepacking from Edinburgh to Manchester). It was a massive step in the dark for me, being a racer not a bikepacker, but in the end was one of the most eye-opening riding experiences to date. To hear more read my reasons on Why you should enter the Rapha Pennine Rally in 2024.

As a kid I always wanted to go travelling, do the classic, take a gap year and adventure the world, however my commitment to cycling always ‘restricted’ me a little from doing this. So instead, I merged the two passions. Over the last few years I took every step to enable myself to train, travel, earn and race across the world. As a result, I have been able to travel to incredible places and connect with so many wonderful people, my bike has taken me everywhere. Last year alone I was lucky enough to train and/or race in 6 different countries; beautiful scenery, beautiful foods and beautiful weather - I feel very grateful and proud of myself for the life I live at the moment.

Female Inspirations in Cycling

Nowadays there are plenty of female icons paving the way in the cycling world but Evie Richards has always stood out for me. I remember her entering the CX scene when I was a U14 and being in complete awe as she dominated women's racing, becoming a world champion very early on in her career. I especially loved that she combined so many different disciplines at once and challenged the stereotype of ‘girls who cycle are masculine’. She would often turn up to races with a long plait, makeup on and plenty of jewellery, as a young girl this was so reassuring. Her ability to be very playful and fun but switch on a serious side when it came down
to it was very inspiring to me. It taught me as a kid that sport didn't have to be so serious all the time; you can still be at the highest level and have fun.

Hopes for the Sport and Industry:

I really believe that the increase in female cycling that has happened in the past 5-10 years will continue upwards, pushing the sport towards a more equal future. Universally I think over the next couple of years there will always be a women's event wherever there is a men's race happening. Additionally, I believe that all teams that were once only male will have a specific female team too, rather than just the odd ‘token’ women or simply none at all. However, things such as equal pay and female-specific science around cycling I reckon will take a little longer to

3 main tips for the beginner female cyclist:

  1. Reach out to other women to ride with, via instagram, strava or even if you see someone at your local cafe! No matter if they’re faster than you or much slower, 99% of us are friendly faces willing to help out and point you in the right direction. Nowadays there are so many women specific groups you can join in on, all super welcoming and encouraging to the beginner cyclist. Riding with others will improve your bike handling skills but mainly chatting with others whilst riding makes things much more enjoyable.
  2. Before you learn to go fast, learn to handle your bike. Having confidence in your own abilities and trusting your bike will be a game changer in the long run. Many women join the sport later on in life and cut straight to the game of ‘how many watts can I add to my FTP?’, but completely miss the step on ‘how can I ride around this corner the fastest?’. Naturally, I would say women are more cautious than men, however this doesn’t mean you can’t send a descent and rail all the corners, gradually building up self-confidence is
  3. Saddles and chamois CAN be comfortable, if they aren’t it's probably just they aren't the best fit for you. Consider a bike fit, try a few different pairs of bibs (over time, I appreciate they aren't cheap!) or borrow your friends' saddles to test out! Maybe even dive into the realms of chamois cream... sounds gross I know, but you can thank me later!

Finally, social media can be a toxic place but it can also inspire and do good if managed correctly. I like to fill my feeds with positivity and inspirational role models. My favourite riders and pages on Instagram for the best female cycling content, check them out: @teganphillipscomics, @cykel_cille and @thecyclistsalliance.

💡Idea: Rapha Women's 100

🎙️Podcast: Fever Talk- Menstrual Health series, with Maghalie Rochette and Dr Stacy Sims

👀Apparel: Bib shorts that are revolutionising women's cycling

📚Book: Roar, by Dr Stacie Sims "Women are not small men. Stop eating and training like one."

👉 Get into cycling: Inclusive-led bike rides for all women.

Love Your Bike - Love Laka

For more info on our 5 star rated bike insurance click the link below.

Learn More