The English rider, who was born on 12 May 1937, dominated the cycling scene in her time, winning more than 90 domestic championships and seven world titles, in addition to setting a series of records. Born in West Yorkshire, she suffered rheumatic fever during her childhood and only took up riding after having been introduced to the sport by her husband. She rejected offers of sponsorship and remained an amateur, working on a rhubarb farm during most of her cycling years. She was outstandingly talented in the time trial discipline, and almost unbeatable on the domestic circuit. In order to honour her achievements, she was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire and Officer of the Order of the British Empire. She was also awarded three times the UK Cycling’s top accolade, the Bidlake Memorial Prize.
Born into a cycling family on 12 May 1958, the British rider was twice national road race champion, winning the event in 1977 and then again in 1984. She was awarded more than 30 medals in total for national road and track championships and also participated in the Tour de France, placing second on the final stage in Paris as well as riding the first ever women’s cycling event in the Olympics in 1984. Her grandparents founded Swinnerton Cycles in 1915. Her parents then took over the shop in 1956 and from childhood on, Catherine was surrounded by cycling, starting out on club runs and subsequently competing further afield. With prize money virtually non-existent and with rare to no sponsorship opportunities, she worked as a supply teacher during the year, taking the summer off to concentrate on racing. Swinnerton was no doubt a trailblazer at a time when professional women’s racing in Britain was still in its infancy.