“Most of our customers love that I am where I am”
Lucy Elsdon, Cytech master technician, Bay Cycles
How did you become involved in the cycling industry? I started at the age of 17. I was applying for any hands-on jobs, really, and Bay Cycles was offering a cycle technician apprenticeship. It wasn’t really something I had ever considered before but the moment I started the job, I loved it. What is your proudest moment to date? It has got to be during the time I was still an apprentice. I did a write-up about a brake bleed job and it was shared with people from Cytech and from the Shimano team. A few years on and I still have people mention that they had seen it. What are your experiences of being a woman in the cycling industry? Do you feel the gender gap is closing? Being a woman in the cycle industry is definitely interesting. When going to trade shows, I notice that I am one of very few women. Working in a shop as the mechanic gets mixed views from customers. Most people are very supportive of it and think it’s great seeing a female in the workshop. We have had women customers say how much they like that our shop is very female-friendly as it makes them feel much more comfortable coming in, even if they aren’t sure quite sure what they need. Sadly, we also get the occasional sexist comment or shock at there being ‘a female with a spanner’. However, most of our customers love that I am where I am and are more than happy to have me working on their bike as they know I am fully qualified and competent. I do believe the gender gap is closing. It may be slow and there is still a lot that could be done but it is getting better.
22 | August 2019
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We are seeing more women enter into sports, more women in science and more in engineering too. We can help with speeding up that process by encouraging females to pursue their choices even if the industry they want to go in may be considered ‘a man’s world’. I also think that the more we show that there are women who are doing these things, such as going into sports, mechanics etc, then it will encourage females that they can do that too. From personal experience, I think the cycle industry may be ahead of the curve from other industries and sport in closing that gender gap. We have had many females becoming customers recently and there are womenfocused bikes and products. There are also many womenfocused cycle groups and projects within the cycle industry which is brilliant. If you could give one piece of advice to women entering the industry, what would it be? Enjoy it and jump in with both feet. It’s a great industry with so many wonderful people within it who will be willing to help you and encourage you in any way needed. Ignore those few sexist or doubting comments you may receive. It can be hard to just brush them away sometimes but there are so many other people who will be looking up to you and admiring what you do that will completely outweigh those few comments, they’re just not worth it. The cycling industry is a fun industry to work in and you can build up a true family of those who are a part of it. n