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Rebecca Charlton: Women’s cycling, the OVO Tour of Britain and a childhood spent on two wheels

Written by Rebecca Charlton on 29th August, 2018

Following the release of our women-only cycling holiday with Rebecca Charlton, we wanted to reshare the interview we had with Rebecca back in August. We’re excited to be working together to host an inclusive, all-abilities-welcome holiday in the cycling haven of Mallorca. Follow the link for more information about the holiday after finding out a bit more about your host!

How long have you been cycling for and how did you get into the sport?

I started racing on the track, mountain bike and cyclocross circuits as an under-10 so cycling has been a huge part of my life since an early age. My whole family are passionate cyclists, all dabbling in racing so it was a natural way to spend our weekends staying fit and having lots of fun! I remember weekends away at mountain bike races which were like festivals with music, stages and performances from the likes of the Martyn Ashton who has continued to be an inspiration to me throughout my riding and career. 

What do you enjoy most about cycling?

The friendships it brings, the ability to focus purely on the ride rather than daily stresses and the huge benefits when it comes to fitness and well-being.

Where is your favourite place to cycle in the world and why?

My local track, Herne Hill Velodrome, in south London. I’ve cycled there since I was eight years old and I’ve made so many friends there over the years. The best part of track racing and training is the social aspect of the track centre – I love a chat in between races!

What is your proudest cycling achievement?

Riding with the women I’ve encouraged to cycle, after they told me they’d never have to confidence to ride as an adult. I helped a mum who always brought her kids to races but said she was terrified of getting back on a bike herself. She now rides regularly and absolutely loves it. It makes me proud and emotional to see how much people can gain from riding in a supportive network and friendly community. There should be no barriers. After being the only Youth girl in the country to race the Nationals when Manchester Velodrome opened back in the 90s, I’m very proud to see where the sport is now. It’s changed dramatically. 

Women into cycling, Rebecca Charlton: Women’s cycling, the OVO Tour of Britain and a childhood spent on two wheels

From track to TV; cycling has opened the door to a number of exciting opportunities (photo: John Wilson)

What are you most looking forward to when presenting at this year’s OVO Tour of Britain?

I’m so excited to be joining the existing dream team of Matt, Yanto, Marty and Rob, not only brilliant presenters, pundits and commentators, but you couldn’t get a more passionate bunch of riders – Rob trumps us all with his three Olympic medals, but he’s far too modest to mention it. 

Each day I’ll be chatting live to the best riders from around the globe, including newly crowned 2018 TdF champion Geraint Thomas who’s just been confirmed in Team Sky’s line-up, it doesn’t get much better than that!

And finally, what message do you have for women looking to get more involved in cycling? 

Never be intimidated. There are no stupid questions. You’re never the wrong shape, size or fitness level to ride a bike, you just need to find the right people to ride with. The British Cycling Breeze network is a fantastic place to start. Find people that make riding a welcoming, friendly place to be and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you progress. If you’re already experienced and want to start racing, take a look at where to begin on the British Cycling website. I’m always on-hand to answer any questions about cycling too over on Twitter – @beccacharlton – give me a shout! 

Thanks to Rebecca for taking the time to talk cycling with us! You can also find her on Instagram – @beccacharlton_insta and for further info see into cycling, Rebecca Charlton: Women’s cycling, the OVO Tour of Britain and a childhood spent on two wheelsClick here to find out how you can ride with Rebecca in Mallorca in May 2019.