Team Marie has been created by Le Loop to honour the first female Tour de France rider, Marie Marvingt.
In 1908, when she was 33, Marie was refused permission to cycle the Tour de France – so she did it anyway (on the same course, after the race) and completed the whole tour in a year when only 36 of 114 men managed the same.
In 2018, 110 years later, we’d like as many women as possible to take on 2 or more stages of the Tour de France… Because with our support and camaraderie and a little bit of Marie’s determination, you can share the amazing feeling of cycling multiple Tour de France stages.
Marie wasn’t just a cyclist. She was a pioneering woman, encouraged by her dad, who is credited with inventing the air ambulance amongst many other things.
She excelled in swimming, climbing, canoe and skating, so her Tour de France adventure was just a small part of what she achieved for women and progress.
And as if all of these achievements weren’t enough, Marie’s idea of retirement was at 85 to cycle (yes, cycle) from Nancy to Paris to fly a helicopter for the first time.
We have created a Team Marie Facebook Group for all women riding Le Loop.
It is a place to make friends, swap training tips, compare tan lines, arrange get-togethers and social rides, and support each other towards their eventual goal – be it completing the whole Grand Loop, riding a couple of spiky mountain stages, or spending a week on the bike in glorious scenery and good company.
But there’s nothing stopping you choosing any Loop you like, and several overlap with the Team Marie suggestions – if in doubt, give Sarah a ring to talk through the options.
Our aim is not to exclude men (there are plenty of them who are just as worried as all our women) but more to encourage women towards a couple of Loops where you can support each other through the fun.
If you have male friends, family or colleagues who’d like to cycle one of these Loops, that’s completely fine. The more, the merrier.
For more information or if you have any questions at all about Team Marie, please email or call: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0131 3000796, ext 1
Our Le Loop Lead Cyclist is the brilliant Emily Chappell – ex-London cycle courier, winner of the Transcontinental Race and Strathpuffer,
co-founder and Director of the Adventure Syndicate.
Emily manages to hit just the right tone of encouragement and ‘can do’ attitude, without being intimidating, despite her impressive credentials. She’s the perfect woman to head up Team Marie.
Read more about her here.
“What I’m going to enjoy most about my new role is the opportunity to make a difference – to be living,
breathing, riding proof that events like this belong to women as much as to men, and to encourage
and support all the other women who sign up to ride a few stages, or even the whole thing.”
Thanks to our friends at Trek UK, we have a fantastic fleet of back-up bikes for our riders to use if they have a mechanical that cannot be fixed quickly on the side of the road. We keep you riding so that you don’t miss a mile of your challenge.
This year Trek are giving us even more WSD (Women Specific Design) bikes for our fleet to make sure you have the best possible support out on the road. They’re gorgeous, sleek, light and with the geometry to suit you. You might even find yourself hoping for a serious mechanical so that you get to ride one!
Every year women join us to cycle anything from 2 to all 21 stages of the Tour. They come in all shapes and sizes, some virtual novices (certainly when they sign up) and others ex-pro, but most of them just women who love to ride their bikes and are looking for a challenge. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
“The Tour de Force / Le Loop is any absolutely incredible adventure. When I signed up, I wasn’t entirely convinced I would survive, and, to be honest, there were a great many moments during the ride where I wasn’t convinced of it at all. But the friends I made along the way convinced me that we would make it, and against all odds, we did! So if you want to push yourself beyond your limits and contribute to some really great causes, I can’t imagine a much better way to do that than bicycling Le Loop!” – Elizabeth-Ashley
“I’m in my 40s with a young son and a job, so I don’t have tonnes of time for training, but I make sure that every ride counts. I’ve also been sporty all my life, so while I had to work hard to get the endurance for back to back stages, I didn’t start from zero. The Tour was an incredible opportunity to test myself and see what I could really do on a bike. I rode 4 Alpine stages and had enough in the bag to soak up the views and the sunshine with a big smile on my face. I loved it!” – Tracy
“I’d never done anything like this before and I’d certainly never cycled more than 100 miles in a day – but now I can say that I’ve cycled 3 Tour de France mountain stages. I stuck pretty well to a (realistic) training plan with emphasis on doing a weekly long ride. And I’m really chuffed at how that worked and how I managed on tour. I never felt bad (or was made to feel bad) about being towards the back of the group and it was lovely that it wasn’t a race and all the different abilities could enjoy the experience.” – Maggie
“I first rode the tour in 2012 and came from a mountain biking background – I was still wearing baggy shorts! After cycling 8 stages that year I decided that with enough training, I could tackle the entire route. In 2013, leaner and fitter, I returned to ride all 21 stages and had an incredible tour, making friends for life. I’ve since ridden stages in the Alps just for fun and I’m sure I’ll be back again.” – Marianne
“I signed up as part of a team from work. I was unfit, and had never ridden a bike with clip-in pedals, let alone completed a ride of more than about 20 miles. My team of colleagues were brilliant – we all supported each other in our training and between us all, we lost stones in weight – making us a much happier, fitter, healthier bunch too! Riding the tour together was the culmination of all that effort. I honestly didn’t know if I could pull it off when I signed up, but I’m so proud that I did it in the end. We still all talk about it in the office – it was brilliant!” – Julie