by Isabel Best
Queens of Pain is the remarkable and largely unknown tale of women’s cycle racing from the 1890’s to the 1990’s.
From the fin-de-siècle velodromes of North America to the glamour and chaos of the first women’s Tour de France, Queens of Pain offers a sweeping panorama of female racing history.
Told through the lives of the great champions, its heroines include stunt women and speed skaters, young mothers and teenage tearaways, shop assistants and coal-delivery girls.
When prejudice and officialdom denied them one stage they found another: from six-day track racing to epic place to place records, from 12-hour time trials to unofficial road races.
The greatly expanded women’s racing scene of today is the direct legacy of these pioneering riders whose stories form an unbroken thread since the invention of the bicycle.
“Sensational”—Herbie Sykes, author of The Race Against the Stasi
“Best should be praised not only for her research into the lives of these women cyclists, but for narratives that are every bit as compulsive as the tenacity of her subjects. Her style does her and them, proud”—Brian Palmer, thewashingmachinepost.com
"This book should be read by commentators, journalists, broadcasters, cycling fans, sports fans, and anyone who firmly believes women’s cycling is not exciting enough, female riders are not good enough"—Laura Winter, Voxwomen.com
“Some absolutely wonderful stories about some of the real […] heroines of women’s cycling”—Richard Moore on The Cycling Podcast.
“[…] you are unlikely to find a better written, more lavishly produced, and thoroughly researched tome”—Richard Peploe, road.cc
“As Best has shown in Queens of Pain, there’s a lot more inspirational riders out there than we usually credit. It’s high-time we really started recognising their achievements”—Feargal McKay, podiumcafe.com
Created by Bluetrain Publishing and published by Rapha Editions