Born March 16th 1891 (Happy Birthday!) Alfonsina Strada was the only women to have ridden one of cyclings biggest races, the Giro d'Italia, in 1924 when the organizers mistook her for a man. She was such a strong racer that her speed record stood for 26 years despite her use of a single gear 44 lb bike. The grueling Giro d'Italia "Tour of Italy" was, at the time, a 23 day race, riding all day every day and resting for 2 days in between.
After the race, the organizers were upset and barred women from racing. Alfonsina went on to win 36 other races against men.
Today Women's Cycling is an olympic sport and is widely popular. You can find more information HERE.
Alfonsina was a true trail blazer for women's equality in sports.
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