OUR INSPIRATION - The devil in a skirt

In 1924 Alfonsina Strada stood between all the men at the Giro d'Italia. In those days women weren't allowed to show their knees let alone wear cycle shorts! Alfonsina let nothing stop her to get on her bike and therefore is the one and only woman to have ridden the Giro d'Italia.

Alfonsina was sold the first time she laid eyes on a bicycle. She called it a wonderful machine that gave her plenty of freedom. People didn't accept women riding bikes in those days. The 'weaker sex' had to be protected and women were more suitable for household chores. Alfonsina didn't let any of that stop her and started taking part in local races. She soon stood out after many victories and people gave her the nickname: 'Il diavolo in gonnele', the devil in a skirt!

Alfonsin Strada was registered at number 72 at the Giro d'Italia. Only at the start it became apparent that Alfonsin was female. This caused a lot of upheaval and everybody thought that she wouldn't make it through the first day. However, Alfonsina was very determined and kept up with the men. The Giro d'Italia consisted of twelve rides with a distance of 3613 kilometres!

During the eighth stage Alfonsina's handlebar breaks and thought that was the end of the Giro for her but luckily a broomstick was found that was made to good use as a new handlebar. However, she arrived late and was therefore disqualified. During the Giro d'Italia Alfonsina had gained so many fans that they allowed her to finish the rest of the race at the cost of the organisation. She finished the race with a third of the participants as the first woman!

During this unique edition of the Giro d'Italia, Alfonsina was gradually recognised as the true hero she was and gained even more fans. Thousands of fans waited for Alfonsina to cheer her on, sometimes till deep into the night or the pouring rain. We found this piece of cycling history so inspiring, that we decided to name our brand Fons, in honour of Alfonsina!

QUOTES FROM ALFONSINA

"It wasn't the easiest of routes but I felt my strength, my limitations, my loves. I didn't allow myself to become a prisoner of other people's opinions or expectations. This was my life! And you know, in my dreams I continue to cycle, in my dreams my legs are young and the wind dances along with me singing: Alfonsina, Alfonsina."

"As long as there's someone who sees what I see and feels what I feel, then the fire inside me lives on in the numerous cyclists: boys, girls, men and women."

"What she shows is how... in defeat, sorrow, imposed norms and all prejudices about gender or descent you recognise yourself and admit to the passionate desire to follow your own path."

Source: 'Alfonsina: Cycling is my life' by Ilona Kamps