For some, cycling is just a hobby and for others it’s their a job. For this girl, who has been in love with her bike since a very young age, riding a bike was everything. It was exactly the meaning of her life.
This person you are about to get to know, Alfonsina Strada: (1891-1959): Unstoppable woman just like her bike.
Alfonsina’s dream had been to become a cyclist since she was a little girl but her environment and family didn’t support her that she should make this dream real. It might because of the conditions of that phase, a woman shouldn’t have spent her days on a bicycle for them.
While her family complained that Alfonsina was a tomboy, she often took part in bicycle races and won almost all of them. She didn’t care what those around her said about her and continued to go her own way.
Thinking that if she got married she would give up her dream of becoming a cyclist, her parents married Alfonsina to a man named Luigi Strada. But this marriage didn’t distract Alfonsina from her love for cycling. Her husband Luigi gave her a new bicycle as a gift, and they moved to Milan. Now Alfonsina had already started training professionally.
At first, she introduced herself as Strada Alfonsin and in this way she was able to hide her gender. People thought he was a man without a doubt. The treatment she faced when his true identity was revealed was a disappointment. A few years later, Alfonsina took part in the cycling decathlon(Giro d’Italia), one of the most difficult cycling races in the world. There has never been a woman in this race before. People kept saying she couldn’t make it but Alfonsina learned at an early age that she should not listen to these rumors.
This race, which lasted twenty days, made all the competitors tired. Out of 90 people, only 30 were able to get to the finish. Alfonsina was one of these ambitious contenders reaching the finish line. It was a pretty good achievement, but there was also bad news for her. The authorities banned Alfonsina from participating in the race the following year, saying that the tour of Italy cycling was for men.
But alfonsina was literally unstoppable. She participated in races again. Moreover, this time she also set a speed record. For 26 years, no one has broken her record.
After her husband Luigi died, she married Carlo Messori, a retired racing cyclist. They opened a bike shop. At this time, Carlo was writing a biography of Alfonsina, but unfortunately he died before he could complete it. Alfonsina then closed the bike shop, sold some of her medals and trophies and bought a motorcycle, unaware that it would bring about her end. She died because of heart attack while trying to lift this red heavy motorcycle.
She would certainly be very happy if she knew that many young girls now ride their bikes freely without facing any difficulties.