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The Wonderful Velociposse

We are proud to be a technical partner of Velociposse Cycling, here you can read the interview of Jessica Hayes who is the team’s captain.

All images © Paul Williams

Who are Velociposse? Velociposse is London’s first all female track cycling team. We’re 15 girls who love to ride bikes, talk rubbish, laugh a lot, and have a post-race beer. Check out http://www.velociposse.cc/team.html

Who is the captain? I am! Captain Jess isn’t exactly a title I thought I would ever have, but here we are.

When and were did you meet? We met through a bunch of places, but most of us had never met until the team formed.

I made the public call out to women who wanted to join, and then I selected those who I felt best encompassed the idea of what Velociposse was all about, and what kind of movement we wanted to start. I really wanted a fun, safe environment for women who may not have risen through standard club cycling ladders. I felt there was so much community and team spirit in other areas of cycling that wasn’t being fully realised: like BMX, cross, and street-fixed. So most of the girls come from those backgrounds, and a range of different histories.

Who had the idea to make a female track cycling team? The idea came from a bunch of people, but I basically came up with my part of it when I realised that race numbers for women were low, and sometimes too low to even race in our own field. I decided I wanted to do something about that, and start a community that could ride, train and race together so that I wouldn’t need to worry about low numbers. AND I wanted to help other girls find the enjoyment that competitive team racing can bring, but I knew that a ‘standard’ team or club wouldn’t be right for me. There was a lot to figure out, and then my co-captain Lucy sent me a video of Koochella it all started to make sense.

I wildly threw caution to the wind and threw everything I had into Velociposse, while working full time, after Anna Schwinn and I started an email ‘mentoring’ relationship, where she helped me do EVERYTHING (she is amazing).

I was already an ambassador for some great products and programmes (including The Wonderful Socks), so we had a LOT of support straight off the bat, which has been amazing. Everyone has been so incredibly engaged, open, and giving to us.

What is cycling for you? A release, a way to have fun, keeping fit, getting around, meeting people. Riding bikes has been such a life changer for me; I cannot even imagine me without cycling in my life now.

What is your motto? “Dude, sucking at something is the first step to being sort a good at something.” I am known for failing publicly, and not really worrying about getting back up and starting again. It’s the only way I have gotten better, and the only way I will keep getting better. Failure isn’t a stopping point, it’s a starting point.

What is your job? I work in the Tech industry at a software company, and I run Velociposse… kind of two full time jobs, really. I also run spokeandwords.cc – a cycling blog focussed on London.

How was the last race? Last race was amazingly fun, the Herne Hill Women’s League is arguably (in my argument, anyway) the best organised women’s fixed event in England. I really loved it, the sense of community, fun and energy is unstoppable. It was awesome to see the ‘pink hurricane’ ride up the sprint line in every race. My little heart is swollen with pride over that weekend!

What are your next target? We will have a few girls in the Winter League at Lee Valley Olympic Velodrome, which will be super fun. Next year we will tackle the whole Red Hook Crit, not just London, which will be AMAZING.

Who are your heroes/heroines? Anna Schwinn of Koochella is my cycling mentor, and ultimate girl crush. She has helped me out so much over the past few months, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from her.

@VelociposseCycling – Instagram

@Velociposse – Twitter

Velociposse.cc – Website **