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?