Spotlight On …….. Francesca Rust aka @francescarust

  • What made you get into cycling?

Honestly, the only reason I bought a road bike (a very heavy Claud Butler which had the gears by the stem too) was because I got ‘roped’ into doing London to Paris for a local Charity – Ormiston Children’s and Family’s Trust whilst I was already on a fundraising event for them. I had a fixie bike just to pootle around town with whilst at university but had never covered any distance. It wasn’t going to get me through the 300 miles to Paris that was for sure!

  • What has been your proudest/best cycling moment?

This is hard. There are quite a few. Firstly, definitely has to be the London to Paris ride, both a physical and mental challenge. Raising the bike above your head surrounded by the team who also completed the challenge and thinking how much money we raised for the charity – words can’t describe the feeling! Secondly would be coming 10th in my second road race and getting that first BC point.

  • What has been the biggest challenge you have faced?

I would actually say right now, not being able to ride and train properly due to knee pain. The mental challenge of not getting disheartened and trying to just keep the love of cycling going. The challenge of resting and letting the body heal after quite a few crashes this year is also on the list!

  • Who is your inspiration, and why?

I have two.. But they come as a package. They are two ladies that I did the London to Paris ride with, I refer to them (affectionately) as my ‘cycling mammas’! Both are so passionate about the sport, encouraging of each other and so supportive of me. They are getting stuck in to TT racing and their enthusiasm is just infectious. They inspire me to keep going, keep trying and pushing.

  • What are your future goals?

As long as I can keep riding, I’m happy. I had big goals for this year which now due to knee issues I’m having to scrap them. But long term, I would like to get a few more BC points in road racing and focusing on TT I aim to get my BBAR and improve on times year on year.

  • What would be your one piece of essential advice to someone looking to start up cycling?

Don’t let the fun disappear! But also, get a proper bike fit when buying a bike! Nothing worse than wanting to ride but being in pain.

  • What is your favourite piece of cycling kit?

Has to be my This Is Cambridge cap. Made to measure around my noggin and looks cool too (I think)!

  • What’s your favourite thing about cycling?

I love the fact I can go miles and miles either on my own or with friends and just enjoy being outside and living life. But then I can challenge myself both mentally and physically on the same bike in a race.

  • As it’s Women in Sport Week what do you think is the biggest challenge for women cyclists, & how do you overcome them?

Difficult. I think there are many different challenges, stemming from entry into cycling right through to too level racing. If you take entry level, there are more challenges in terms of bike shop knowledge of kit / performance for a women wanting to get into more competitive cycling (although some shops are really embracing the women cyclist). Then right up to the top with the equal emphasis on women’s races (not just the pay)!

Overcoming local issues like bike shop experience, I’ve found it so much easier if you just go through the needs & be open about the offerings – it’s a big learning curve for shops too. But this does stem from manufacturers too, in my eyes, women shop differently to men & suppliers need to support the local shops to be able to provide a different service. Take saddles for example (an ongoing pain in my backside), many shops only do one brand which makes it really hard for a woman to get the right fit – for health reasons too. Same issue with shoes, many suppliers won’t let the shop just order in one pair for a woman to try then send back if they’re wrong resulting in the shop offering less stock and a limited service and ultimately a disgruntled women cyclist! Less of an issue with men’s cycling as there are always more options in stock. But it is changing and moving forward 🙂