Gemma McNamara - 2023 Women's Cycling Advocate

Current Cyling Club

Belfast City BMX Club

What is your current age? 


What cycling discipline are you involved in?

Off-road MTB, very much leisure.

What age did you get involved? 

I was introduced to off-road riding in 2018 when I was 37.

Why did you start?

Nothing beats the feeling of being out with people who share the same love of the outdoors, especially on two wheels!

What has been your involvement in cycling, your story?

In 2018 I didn’t know many female MTB’ers, the FB group LadieswhoshredIRL was a great way of connecting with like-minded Ladies, however most of the events were held in and around Dublin. 

I met with some local Ladies and eventually we decided to set up Ladieswhoshredni. My biking buddy, Audrey Gallagher set up the FB group with a couple of admins and the group grew from there. 

The pandemic saw more people on bikes and we continued to network and meet many amazing Women. 

We may be dotted around Ireland but we come together at many different locations to ride bikes. 

Do you have a quote that you live by or inspires you?

You’ll regularly hear me saying “just keep peddling “ in the voice of Dory from Nemo when I’m climbing up a hill. 

Not very inspirational but it gives me a laugh. 

What have been your cycling highlights?

Training and qualifying as a Trail Cycle Leader in 2022 which led me to run the Women on Wheels off-road training in the Leadmines in Newtownards, introducing more Women to MTB. 

How do you feel cycling has benefitted you?

I’ve met some amazing people through cycling, we don’t just cycle, we also love to socialise. 

What is your favourite thing about cycling?

It has to be the feeling after you’ve gone over a scary looking feature and all the Ladies are there supporting each other.

What would you say to other females who may be interested in cycling?

We are a friendly bunch and would love for you to join us. I totally understand it can be daunting to meet with a large group, so why not reach out individually, we would love to show you around. 

How do you feel about becoming a Cycling Ireland Women in Sport Advocate?

I’m excited for the year ahead. I can’t wait to help introduce more women to the sport and demonstrate that cycling is for everybody. 

What is your * when it comes to the IT’S NOT A RACE* campaign?

I feel like the “it’s not a race” campaign was directed at me! 

There are many different personality types within cycling, slow and steady is mine. 

My friend Lyn and I took part in our first race is December 2021 in the Leadmines and stopped to do some social media throughout. For us it was definitely not a race, even when it was supposed to be.