Eileen Gray (cyclist)
Eileen Gray CBE, (1920, Bermondsey) was an international bicycle racer who founded the Women's Cycle Racing Association, and served as President of the British Cycling Federation. She also served as Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and has been appointed an Olympic torchbearer for the 2012 London Olympics.
Eileen was born in Bermondsey, London in 1920. As a youngster she lived in Dulwich near to Herne Hill Velodrome. During World War II she was an engineer, a 'protected occupation', which allowed her to also look after her hospitalised mother. While employed as a Quality Controller in an engine factory on the Harrow Road, a rail strike disrupted her travel from Herne Hill and so caused her to take up cycling seriously, commuting in all weathers through bomb damaged streets. She subsequently joined the Apollo Cycling club which allowed her to ride whereas other nearby clubs refused to allow women to ride with them.
In 1946 Eileen competed in a women's race at Ordrup, Copenhagen, Denmark as a member of Britain's first ever Women's International team. Instrumental in the Women's Cycle Racing Association, Eileen did much to promote the cause of women's cycle racing.
In 1976 Eileen Gray became President of the British Cycling Federation (BCF, now known as British Cycling).
Awards and celebrations
In 2010 Gray became one of the initial inductees into the British Cycling Hall of Fame, her citation was for 'founding the Women's Cycle Racing Association of which she became BCF President' and she was key to women's racing becoming part of the Olympics from 1984.
In 2005 the BBC reported that Eileen Gray was the head of The Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Masons, one of two orders of women's Freemasons in the UK. In 2001, in a public message to the Women's masonic Fraternity, she wrote that she had been a Freemason for more than 50 years.
- Britich Cycling Federation, June 02, 2010; Interview: Eileen Gray CBE by Belinda Sinclair
- The Golden Book of Cycling - Eileen Gray, 1991. Archive maintained by 'The Pedal Club'.
- British Cycling - Hall of Fame - 2010 inductees
- Baik Bike, Malaysia Cycling Magazine, Ninety-two-year-old who helped bring women’s cycling to Olympics to carry London 2012 torch
- Interview: Eileen Gray CBE by Belinda Sinclair