In Flanders, cycling is sacred. For every road, there is a bike route running right alongside it. So, what better tribute to this region's culture of cycling than the Tour of Flanders?
Keira McVitty and Wiebke Luehmann‘s considerations on cycling are important. Keira and Wiebke are not just professional cyclists. In addition to being demanding when it comes to performance, they are also aware of what a bicycle can do in a given social context.
This awareness often wanes because the satisfaction of experiencing freedom when riding is already considered rewarding enough without the need to raise other questions.
For International Women’s Day, Wiebke Luehmann points out what could be a new key to understanding the role of cycling : “Cycling can be a way to inspire women to grow together and share the effort to overcome all the obstacles that were once considered insurmountable. It is the right discipline for bravely helping ourselves and anyone else in the fight against gender disparity in sport”.
On the flip side, Wiebke is the best example of how cycling can be a means of personal growth. Up to the age of twenty-three, her efforts had been focused on other sports, and cycling was a sort of final step in her gravitation towards the triathlon.
But cycling took her by storm. It became so important that in 2019 she took off for an unexpected seven-month bikepacking adventure, covering 8000 km with just her bicycle and baggage, across South America and Europe. In the first part of her journey, she pedalled from Colombia all the way to Rio de la Plata, and over the Andes to La Paz – the world’s highest capital; in the second, after landing in Catalonia, she continued from Barcelona to her home in Freiburg, Germany.
“Cycling has changed my life and has definitely made me more independent because it has allowed me to grow both physically and mentally, increasing my self-confidence and giving me the strength to face challenges I never could have imagined”.
As for Keira McVitty, though aware of the ever-growing number of women cyclists, she has no intention of settling for statistics and numbers.
“A lot has changed in the attitude towards women and professional cycling. And so has their number. However, we have to make sure that this attitude continues to spread and that the roads fill up even more with girls on racing bikes. Being a cyclist and a youtuber, I try to inspire other women to take up cycling because it truly fosters independence and accomplishment”.
Thanks to Keira and Wiebke, the value of cycling suddenly goes beyond competition and travels along the equally important roads of equal opportunity and self-realisation.
A path that, together with Keira McVitty and Wiebke Luehmann, Wilier Triestina also intends to follow.