Queens of Pain by Rapha


Queens of Pain tells the remarkable and largely unknown tale of 100 years of womenʼs bike racing from the 1890s to the early 1990s. For a limited time, VeloPress is pleased to bring a selection of Rapha titles to you.



Queens of Pain tells the remarkable and largely unknown tale of 100 years of womenʼs bike racing from the 1890s to the early 1990s. From the end-of-century velodromes of North America to the glamour and chaos of the first womenʼs Tour de France, Queens of Pain offers a sweeping panorama of female bike racing history.

Told through the lives of the great champions, its heroines include stuntwomen and speed skaters, young mothers and teenage hooligans, shop assistants and coal-delivery girls. When prejudice and cycling’s establishment denied them one stage they found another: from six-day track racing to epic fastest known times, from 12-hour time trials to unofficial road races. The greatly expanded womenʼs racing scene of today is the direct legacy of these pioneering riders whose stories form an unbroken thread since the invention of the bicycle.

The Queens of Pain: Tillie Anderson, Hélène Dutrieux, Alfonsina Strada, Evelyn Hamilton, Marguerite Wilson, Billie Samuel, Joyce Barry, Valda Unthank, Pat Hawkins, Eileen Sheridan, Lyli Herse, Millie Robinson, Elsy Jacobs, Beryl Burton, Yvonne Reynders, Lubow Kotchetova, Audrey McElmury, The Hage Sisters, Connie Carpenter-Phinney, Marianne Martin, Maria Canins, Jeannie Longo and Inga Thompson.

Queens of Pain: Legends and Rebels of Cycling
Isabel Best
Flexi-bound paperback with color illustrations throughout.
7″ x 9″ x 1″, 240 pp., $35.00, 9781912164059

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Tillie Anderson
Hélène Dutrieux
Alfonsina Strada
Evelyn Hamilton
Marguerite Wilson
Billie Samuel
Joyce Barry
Valda Unthank
Pat Hawkins
Eileen Sheridan
Lyli Herse
Millie Robinson
Elsy Jacobs
Beryl Burton
Yvonne Reynders
Lubow Kotchetova
Audrey McElmury
The Hage Sisters
Connie Carpenter-Phinney
Marianne Martin
Maria Canins
Jeannie Longo
Inga Thompson


Additional information

Weight 1.94 lbs
Dimensions 9 × 7 × 1 in

Blue, Magenta

ʻYou get the feeling that Best cares about these riders as people, theyʼre not just the source of bike-bound myths and legends, they exist in the real world.ʼ – Feargal McKay, Podium Café

ʻSome absolutely wonderful stories about some of the real heroines of womenʼs cycling.ʼ — Richard Moore on The Cycling Podcast.

ʻBest should be praised not only for her research into the lives of these women cyclists, but for narratives that are every bit as compulsive as the tenacity of her subjects. Her style does her and them, proud… A publication that you ignore at your peril. A book that will be deservedly talked about for many a long year.ʼ— Brian Palmer, thewashingmachinepost.net

ʻThis book should be read by commentators, journalists, broadcasters, cycling fans, sports fans, and anyone who firmly believes womenʼs cycling is not exciting enough, female riders are not good enough.ʼ — Laura Winter, Voxwomen.com

ʻA welcome focus on the outstanding cycling achievements of some inspiring women… you are unlikely to find a better written, more lavishly produced, and thoroughly researched tome.ʼ — Richard Peploe, road.cc

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