Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Girl's Guide talks to Anna Glowinski

Fan girl alert: we want to be Anna Glowinski. Pro-rider, TV presenter, women's cyclingwear designer at Ana Nichoola and from what we can gather, all-round amazing woman. Anna is living proof that women can ride as hard as men and look incredible while they do it, and we love that she's as happy haring round the velodrome as she is getting down and dirty on her mountain bike. She's also representing Divas on Wheels, an all-female bike ride on Sunday June 23 in aid of Pilgrims Hospices. We caught up with Anna and talked heartbreak, TV presenting and women's attitudes to cycling kit.
Anna on her first bike - already demonstrating style on two wheels

GG: Tell us about the moment you fell in love with cycling
AG: There was a time when I was heartbroken and I rode my bike every weekend with a girlfriend who was feeling the same. We'd hang out in the evening after an epic winter ride and say 'how do people get over heartbreak without a hobby?' I was having the time of my life, riding more than ever, and that's when I actually appreciated how much cycling meant to me.

GG: What's been the highlight of your cycling career to date?
AG: Getting a TV presenting job! The Cycle Show needed a girl who would ride anything, throw herself into stuff and come across enthusiastic. It sounded really badass when I was at parties and people asked me what I did! I also got full bike sponsorship from Mongoose last year and it feels amazing to be supported in all the disciplines I do. Most sponsors would be terrified at taking on somebody who requires five bikes, but Mongoose loved my attitude. 

GG: How has cycling affected your life?
AG: I never got fat because I'm always riding - that's a good thing! Cycling hasn't affected or changed my life, it IS my life.
GG: What prompted you to start designing clothes for female cyclists?
AG: I got into it by accident, hand-making bits and pieces and printing t-shirts while I was a cycling instructor. I had a jacket taken on by Harrods, the press started asking question, and then the risk-taker in me designed and paid for an entire production run of gloves that I went around selling into shops. It grew from there. 
I feel as though I was born to design. The desire to sketch and research is almost physical, it becomes an obsession. I want to get it right and there IS a right answer. 

GG: What's your favourite item from the range?
AG: The Hello Yellow jacket, new for this season. I wanted a piece that was yellow, visible and waterproof, because people care about these things - and then I wanted it to look good. It was quite a task, but it helps that neons are hitting the high street anyway.
I also love the Naked-Hand Gloves. They're quite an understated piece and you can't really tell what's so special about them until you wear them. They're truly revolutionary.

GG: What have you learned about women's attitudes to cycling and the clothes and kit available to them?
AG: I have learned that women who ride bikes:
  • Don't want 'shrink it and pink it' - just smaller pink versions of men's stuff
  • Don't just want to buy men's stuff. I mean, who wears men's clothes normally? There's TopShop and there's TopMan.
  • Don't feel as if they have much choice in what to wear
  • Will buy different clothes for different disciplines of cycling. My Diva Range for mountain bikers is much louder than the understated Team Range for roadies
  • Women have different body shapes, arm lengths and hand sizes and this matters

GG: How do you hope to make the women who wear your clothes feel?
AG: I don't want them to be aware of the clothes they are wearing until they catch a glimpse of themselves riding past a window and think, 'yeahhhhh, I look good!'
GG: What would you say to encourage other women to start cycling?
AG: The biggest success rates are in groups where females stick together. Women's only sessions are so powerful in a male-dominated sport. There are events everywhere, from velodrome to road to MTB to race clubs and cafe rides. Go find one, you'll never look back!

GG: Where can we buy your gorgeous products?
AG: Online and have a look at my store locator for a store near you. New season hits early April. 


  1. Just read your article in the Telegraph & it had a repeated theme "Get women cycling.."
    If women don't want to cycle, women don't want to cycle. Seemingly for very good reasons. So why do you insist they should cycle?
    You cycle. I cycle regularly. Good way of getting round a tourist city in the summer when there isn't a prayer of finding a parking space. But I certainly never would have dreamed of cycling 6 miles across London to work every morning. I was headed to a workplace not a combined cycle park/sports club locker room.

    1. That's just like saying if obese people don't want to exercise, then obese people don't want to exercise. But the problem is when obese people don't exercise it causes problems for the rest of society. (And before you yell at me, I am actually a clinically obese cyclist, losing weight through the wonderful world of cycling). There are a lot of things people don't want to do, but a lot of people encouraging them to do it because guess what? It'll make everyone's life better. How you ask? 1) Taking cars off the street which contribute to pollution. 2) Helping with the world obesity and overweight problem. 3) Helping to see the world from outside of a box and giving them a little more fresh air. (If you can call the World's air "fresh" anymore) There are probably 8 million reasons why urging people to cycle would benefit society as a whole. So, while everyone has the perogative to do or not do something, Cathy and other cycling advocates have the right to urge it and hopefully convince some people to take up the action because quite frankly it's a societal issue, not an individual issue.

  2. Thanks for the comment. You're absolutely right, my blog on British Cycling's plans to get 1m British women cycling by 2020 did have a repeated theme of 'get women cycling'.

    As you correctly point out, if women don't want to cycle, they don't want to cycle. They probably also don't want to read articles entitled The Real Reason Women Don't Cycle and blogs about women and cycling.

    Thanks again for your input and I hope you enjoy the blog.

  3. Women should also do cycling sometimes it's not just to cut weight but it's also good for their health. Starving yourself just to have a slim body is unhealthy it's gonna take a toll on your body in the future.!

    brake repair

  4. Time to notice that women cycling can also help influence more men to cycle, which is also helpful in obtaining a critical mass of cyclists who can then help push the many positive cycling agendas to the benefit of all cyclists and society at large.

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  7. I started cycling 6 weeks ago after a gap of 30years! The best thing I have done for along time. But for comfort padded chamois tights and no knickers is the best