Disrupting Cycling Narratives with Jools Walker a.k.a Lady Velo and Ayesha McGowan
We are delighted to be hosting an evening of chat and the disruption of cycling narratives with two amazing women; Ayesha McGowan and Jools Walker (a.k.a Lady Velo) who are both passionate about cycling and about getting more women (especially women of colour!) into cycling. We also have the honour of hosting Lady Velo’s first book event ahead of her official publication day for Back in the Frame.
Back in the Frame
Jools Walker re-discovered cycling aged twenty-eight after a ten-year absence from the saddle. When she started blogging about her cycle adventures under the alias Lady Vélo, a whole world was opened up to her. But it’s hard to find space in an industry not traditionally open to women – especially women of colour.
Shortly after getting back on two wheels, Jools was diagnosed with depression and then, in her early thirties, hit by a mini-stroke. Yet, through all of these punctures, one constant remained: Jools’ love of cycling. In Back in the Frame Jools talks to the other female trailblazers who are disrupting the cycling narrative as well as telling the story of how she overcame her health problems, learned how to cycle her own path and even found a love of Lycra shorts along the way.
Ayesha McGowan has the goal of becoming the first African-American female pro road cyclist. Ayesha started riding bikes as a commuter while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since then, she has submerged herself into the world of cycling. While living Brooklyn, NY, she worked as a preschool music teacher, a Branding Administrator for WE Bike NYC, an organization geared towards getting more women on bicycles, and Director of Programs for InTandem, an organization that provides access to bike rides for people with disabilities.
In 2014 she discovered the world of bike racing. She won her first state championship in her third race. It didn’t take long for her to notice that she was one of the very few females of African-American descent on the scene. In fact, she discovered that there had not been a single African-American pro road cyclist, ever. She has taken it upon herself to become the first.
As an advocate by example, she has dedicated herself to encouraging and inspiring other women of color to follow their dreams, whatever they may be. Through various initiatives that focus on representation like her ‘Do Better Together’ virtual ride series, Ayesha has inspired countless people to ride more, ride together, and to challenge themselves and their views of how they define the word “cyclist”.
Ayesha is supported by Liv, SRAM, Clif, and Carmichael Training Systems, and has been featured in VICE Sports, Outside Magazine, Bicycling Magazine, and BBC World. You can find out more about Ayesha and her plans to become America’s first African-American pro female road cyclist on her website here and also follow here on Twitter here.
Jools Walker (a.k.a. LadyVelo) is the cycle-style blogger behind www.VeloCityGirl.co.uk that launched in March 2010 when she bought her Pashley Princess ‘Frankie’ and assumed that would be the only bike she’d ever want. A familiar face and website on the cycling scene, Jools’ blog and social media presence has evolved from being her ‘tiny corner of the internet’ to inspiring women around the world to get back on the saddle and ride. She now finds herself talking about cycling culture on the sofas of BBC Newsnight, writing about it in nationwide publications and giving talks at women’s cycling events across the country. You can find out more about Jools and her riding via her website here and follow her on Twitter here.
Tickets are free for members of Impact Hub Birmingham and on a Pay As You Feel basis for non members. Tickets can be booked here via Eventbrite.
Following on from our Hub Talks event with Ayesha McGowan and Jools Walker, there will be a Ride with Ayesha & Jools, for any type of bike, relaxed social pace on Wednesday 22nd May meeting at 9.30am. You can find more details here.
Hub Talks is our regular programme of world class writers, thinkers, filmmakers, performers and more.
Over the last 4 years we have been implicitly growing our reputation for convening to hear from deliberate and nuanced writers such as New York Time #1 best selling writer Angie Thomas, Afua Hirsch, Patrick Ness and Patrisse Khan-Cullers, as well as collaborative events with one of the nation’s favourite bakers Nadiya Hussain and The Good Immigrant with Nikesh Shukla and Birmingham Literature Festival, our approach to programming has consistently been about quietly showing a different story.
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