Norwood Paragon (ancient cycling club) and Maison du Velo (Reigate based bike shop) have got real friendly over the last few years. The resultant lovechild: 1904RT.
A note from our founder, Michelle Arthurs-Brennan…
Norwood Paragon Cycling Club was founded in 1904.
It has a lot of history, hosting four Olympic riders between 1928 and 1952. Paragon’s Keith Butler represented GB at World Champs in the 1960s, and was also the founder of the Surrey League.
The club does, however, have a speckled history when it comes to women. Notes from the 1981 AGM read:
“On to Item 9 – Female Membership… Keith Butler seconded the Motion. Although he had opposed the last attempt to ‘inflict’ female membership of the Club… he had a problem at home. His eldest daughter, Allison, was a keen rider and wanted to race. After considerable discussion the proposal was voted on and passed 23 to 1. After 77 years the Norwood Paragon became a mixed Club.”
I joined club in 2017, only 36 years later, and that year I was the only woman racing for Paragon. So for 2018 I reached out to other local “the only woman in the club” riders and asked them if we could all join forces, supported by a little funding.
That year was successful for the women’s team: we had riders en masse at races, learning team tactics, and having fun – and we retained all 5 female race team riders.
For 2019, it was time to step it up a gear. Paragon’s bike shop base, Maison du Velo, came on board as a sponsor – and we became a squad of nine women and nine men.
In total our riders picked up nine wins, over 30 podiums and amassed 600 British Cycling points – 80 per cent of which came from the female roster.
For 2020, we will again be a women’s team. We’re recruiting more riders, aiming to max out at 15. We’re also looking for a team manager to drive in the convoy at key races (HSBC Nationals), and seeking sponsorship to help us cover cost of race entry and travel.
Interested? I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org