There is a definite buzz in the air when it comes to women’s cycling at the moment, no matter what you ride, more and more women seem to be coming into the sport, taking part in races and encouraging others to get involved. With the Women’s Tour of Britain taking place in May, and Rachel Atherton winning the first BT Sport Action Woman of the year award, no matter the discipline, big things are happening!
One woman who knows what it’s like to try new things and has been involved in the sport from a young age to witness the changes is, Anna Glowinski.
Founder of Ana Nichoola, sponsored rider for Team MuleBar Girls – Sigma Sport, Cannondale and Oakley. TV Presenter and advocate for women’s cycling, Anna doesn’t shy away from anything on two wheels, we chat to her about riding, her career and changes in the sport.
Oh – and there’s a The Mud Hugger fender to be won at the bottom of the page!
Who are you?
Anna Glowinski, CEO and creative director for AnaNichoola (I hate saying CEO, it makes me feel a little bit gross) and proud rider for Team MuleBar Girls-Sigma Sport
[quote align=”right”]I got stopped at Passport Control at Stansted airport….for being the Girl off The Cycle Show!!![/quote]
What do you ride, bike (s) and discipline (s)?
I ride everything. My garage/bedroom currently holds:
Cannondale Jekyll (all-mountain)
Cannondale Flash 29 (XC)
Mongoose Boot’r (Downhill)
Mongoose BMX (park/Dirt jumps)
Charge Plug (fixie)
Custom track bike
A really cool town bike, wrapped in floral fabric and laquered
How did AnaNichoola come to be? What was your ambition with the company once it started?
AnaNichoola came to be by accident, I had no ambition when it started. I think that is why it has taken a while to kick-off properly. I was coaching cycling after I finished uni, where I had studied Geography, and I was hand making myself some bits and pieces like trouser guards and bike lock covers.
I did a couple of shows, evolved to some printed t-shirts and a UK-made waterproof jacket, which got taken on by Harrods and then I thought, well! I guess I have something here, people want it and I really like doing it. And I committed to going full-time.
Because the starting point had been consumer-led, as in, my customers were pushing me, my intention from that point on was to always strive to provide what women wanted. As a creative person, it could be so easy to get carried away with making things that I like and letting loose with my imagination, but I never wanted that to happen. AnaNichoola had to be in the hands of female cyclists. Nobody else was listening to that market segment, designs for women were so clearly too often an after-thought, designed by men who didn’t see the commercial value in females. So my goal was and still is to achieve a global, women’s-only cycle clothing brand that truly reflects women’s cycling.
How did you become involved with ITV’s, ‘The Cycle Show’?
Like everything in my career so far, it just kind-of fell into my lap. They were specifically looking for a female for the role and they asked around in the cycling world and apparently my name came up a few times. I guess there aren’t so many girls out there who ride everything, are willing to risk injury and commit to challenges with enthusiasm and have the on-camera personality (loud, haha) to engage viewers. Also, someone with a flexible timetable. The criteria was pretty specific, so it kinda feels like it was made for me…
As part of the show you had to backflip, what did it feel like once you’d done it, and how hard was it to do?
Well, I have actually tried a backflip before, about a year before that. I was scared both times. In fact, I was probably more scared the second time on the time of the filming, because I had since heard horror stories of people breaking their necks trying it, even into foam!
I was buzzing after I did it, but the last time I was at a skatepark with a foam pit in the New Year I didn’t try one again.
I guess I’d try one again if there was a camera on me (cos I’m a lil show-off like that!) but just for the fun of it? Hmm, I’m still a bit too scared…
Having been involved with cycling all your life, what has it been like to witness more women come into the sport?
It’s rad obviously! Well, not necessarily obviously, I do sometimes come across women who aren’t too happy about their special position of uniqueness being taken away from them, but I am a girl’s-girl and I love riding with other women. I find it more inspiring to ride with a girl better than me than with a bloke better than me, and I like being able to impart some of my experience onto women who are newer to it than me.
I frequently ride with my team-mates and my mum, and they frequently ride with other women, who frequently ride with other women. And I suppose it’s just sort-of starting to feel normal, rather than that “Ohhh, another girl is here!!” feeling.
Most people will know you from your business, but you also ride and race many disciplines, how much of your time do you spend racing?
In my head, loads! On paper, practically none at all. I think I did 3 races last year and averaged getting out on my bike once a fortnight, but I still consider myself a racer, hahaha! To me, the best way to keep in the game is to race, and I have more of a calendar this year but life gets so busy I don’t know if I will be able to stick to it. I hope to! I wanna try a BMX race or two and even see if I can survive an Enduro World Cup!
What changes would you like to see within the cycling world for female riders, or do you think things are going the right way?
Yeah, things are definitely going the right way. There’s a female Tour of Britian this year, how cool is that?!?! The world’s best female racers playing it out on our roads! Yeahhh!! And there are so many initiatives and events targetting getting more women racing and riding. I probably get about one email a week from organisers asking me for sponsorship or advice, I mean, that’s pretty frequent!
Just more, more, more of the same please!
Did you know there are more surfers in the UK than in Hawaii? (Well according to a Coca Cola advert anyway). It just goes to show that in the UK there is an aptitude for people to just get out and do stuff if they want to and if it is marketed to them as accessible. I think women’s cycling is getting more accessible by the day and for that, there will be a time when it will no longer be a minority sport!
Aside from riding, Team MuleBar Girl-Sigma Sport and AnaNichoola, how do you spend your time?
Art Club, I love painting just for the hell of it. Or surfing. Or drinking tea with my friends. But mostly, I spend it sleeping, I sleep about 10 hours a night!! I am always tired and don’t have a TV, so I usually just get home and crawl into bed, mmm…..
What would you say have been your biggest achievements during your career?
Well, there was seeing my first ever jacket in Harrods and there was the moment I landed investment for my brand, or bagging some of my favourite sponsors, but the number one thing? It has to be the time I got stopped at Passport Control at Stansted airport….for being the Girl of The Cycle Show!!! Hahaha, that made my life!
What do you have planned for 2014?
A portable shop that I can sleep in and that carries my bikes!
Mini Downhill – Forest of Dean – 26 January 2014
Rachel Atherton wins BT Sport Action Woman of the year!
Rachel Atherton has been crowned the first ever, BT Sport Action Woman of the year. Up against some tough competition, Rachel says she personally takes inspiration from the other nominees and was in shock when she discovered she had won the award. At 26, Rachel has 19 World Cup wins, making her the most successful mountain biker in the sport. She has won both the Downhill World Cup and Downhill World Championships twice, and is a dominant figure in the world of mountain biking. The winner of the award was announced during a special edition of the Claire Balding Show on Saturday night.
We see, Anna Glowinski in action on ‘The Cycle Show’ whilst she shows us how to do a backflip!
This week we have a competition to win a front mudguard from the guys over at, Mudhugger!
Fits 26″, 27.5″ and 29″ front forks. Includes velcro ties. Designed to keep the mud and spray off your face. Want to win one? Just drop your email in to the form below and we’ll pick a winner, to be announced next Wednesday!
To get involved with Women’s Wednesday, please get in touch: Lauren@wideopenmountainbike.com