Kathryn Bertine built her professional cycling career as a three-time Caribbean Champion, six-time national champion of St. Kitts and Nevis (SKN) and five-year veteran of professional cycling, who rode with UCI domestic and World Tour teams Colavita, Wiggle-Honda, BMW, and Cylance Pro Cycling.
Bertine was named to the inaugural Rodale100, a prestigious list of activists implementing positive change in the world after she took up the charge to have women admitted into the famed Tour de France.
Off the bike, she has been an ESPN contributor and senior editor for ESPNW and author of three nonfiction books, All the Sundays Yet to Come (Little, Brown), As Good As Gold (ESPN/RandomHouse), and The Road Less Taken (Triumph Books).
As an advocate for equality in women’s sports, Bertine started the social activism movement Le Tour Entier in an effort to bring parity to women’s professional road cycling, starting with the Tour de France. She and her team succeeded, and the women’s field was included in 2014 with the addition of La Course by Tour de France.
Her award-winning documentary, HALF THE ROAD: The passion, pitfalls and power of women’s professional cycling gives a glimpse into the trials women face in this sport. In 2017, she founded and currently serves as CEO for Homestretch Foundation, a 501c3 which provides free housing to female professional athletes struggling with the gender pay gap.
A native of Bronxville, NY she lives in Tucson, AZ. She holds a BA from Colgate University and an MFA from the University of Arizona.
ABOUT THE BOOK
STAND: A memoir on activism. A manual for progress. What really happens when we stand on the front lines of change
In 2006, ESPN hired Kathryn Bertine as a columnist, putting her on a quest to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. After six months of trying just about every summer sport on the planet, road cycling became Kathryn’s chosen path for the remaining eighteen months of the assignment.
Her Olympic assignment—So You Wanna Be an Olympian?—concluded without a berth to the Beijing Games. What was supposed to be the end of her athletic journey ended up yielding a new path: activism. Bertine’s infatuation with road cycling, equal opportunity and gender equity was just beginning both on and off the bike. She had three goals: a) turn professional in bike racing b) change the patriarchal system and get women into the Tour de France c) find some inner peace with her private demons of worthlessness.
The odds were stacked against her. Cycling’s governing body (UCI) and the Tour de France’s antiquated rules and good ol’ boy network (ASO) had no intention of recognizing or including women in the male-dominated sport and ignored all her attempts at connecting. In 2012, Bertine signed her first professional contract in pro cycling at the age of 37. The following year, the female team manager warned Bertine to keep quiet about the inequity in women’s sports. “Stop talking about this equality crap. No one will listen to you. You are a nothing, you are a no one.” Bertine was benched for one year, suffering verbal and physical abuse from the manager and staff. Still, she kept standing up and speaking out, using journalism, filmmaking and Change.org petitions to effect change.
Re-hired as senior editor of ESPNW in 2011, Bertine pitched a documentary film to ESPN on inequity in women’s sports. They turned it down, citing no one would watch a film on women’s pro cycling. Undeterred, she struck out on her own and made the film anyway. In 2014, Half The Road was picked up for international distribution, won three film festivals, and screened in sixteen countries. Six years later, she still receives royalty checks from a film ESPN said no one would watch. During the filmmaking journey, Bertine discovered the power of visionary teamwork and benevolent disruption.
Forming the activism group Le Tour Entier (The Whole Tour) with three notable Olympic/World champions in 2013, Bertine lobbied the Tour de France for women’s inclusion. Nearly 100,000 people around the world signed their petition for equal opportunity, vaulting her Tour de France movement to one of Change.org’s most successful campaigns. The news went viral. A social awakening on equal opportunity was taking place. Finally, Bertine and Le Tour Entier made history. La Course by Tour de France debuted in July 2014—the first official instatement of women at the Tour’s 101-year history. Bertine effectively changed the mindsets of middle-aged men, million-dollar corporations, foreign rule-makers and victoriously challenged the fascinating boundaries of traditionalism.
Far beyond the niche of cycling, the rest of the world paid attention to a bigger message of Bertine’s activism: Change is possible. Activism isn’t relegated to the wealthy, the famous, the politicians and superstars. We “regular people” have the power to make change happen, too.
But not without consequence. Bertine’s seven-year journey through advocacy and activism took her through the gamut of private struggles. Counted out, harassed, bullied, labeled a “no one,” abandoned, suffering depression, brokenness, divorce, and on the cusp of suicide, for many years Bertine was unable to answer the internal question of activism, Is the journey worth the struggle? Does what we do truly matter? It wasn’t until 2016 when a devastating bicycle crash and traumatic brain injury opened her mind—literally and figuratively–to the healing powers of activism, the beauty of inner demons and to finally answer the question: Yes. When it comes to equality, the journey is always worth the struggle.
With unabashed honesty, irreverence, humor, vulnerability and authenticity, Bertine bares her soul and lays it all on the line. Activism isn’t pretty, but truth is beautiful. Stand blends memoir, manual and manifesto into an intimate journey of advocacy, unmasking what really happens when women/minorities stand up and fight for change. Bertine proves there aren’t any “no ones” in the world: When we rise and use our voice, we all have the power to move this world forward.
- If someone wants to fight for change, where do they begin? Kathryn will expand on education, research, teamwork and organization being the first steps in creating change.
- Activism isn’t relegated to the famous, wealthy, politicians, celebrities. Kathryn can discuss how anyone can create change and tips to create teams—and change—together.
- “It’s 2020, women are equal, right?” Nope. There are still many barriers, rules and loopholes that keep women from equity and equal opportunity. We can fix these inequities. Step one is exposing them. 5 steps to expose problems—and solutions—in the most effective way.
- 3 Tips on how to handle the “trolls” in your life.
- Depression, mental health and suicide are finally becoming destigmatized topics of conversation and awareness. Kathryn’s advice on how we can help others—and ourselves—when struggling.
- While the core of the story revolves around effecting change at the Tour de France, the book isn’t about cycling. Kathryn can discuss first hand, the ripple effect of change, and how activism in one arena can lead to change in many others.
- February is Expect Success Month
- February is Boost Self Esteem Month
- March is Women’s History Month
- April is Stress Awareness Month
- May is Mental Health Awareness Month
- June 26-July 18 Tour de France 2021
“When confronted with injustice, Kathyrn Bertine didn’t quit, and she didn’t back down: she poured her heart and soul into confronting this injustice, and she emerged victorious. Kathryn’s story is one of hope and perseverance despite the odds being stacked against her. Every girl and woman who’s been told they can’t play or keep up with the boys will take heart from this inspirational, life-affirming story.” – Gabby Giffords, U.S. Congresswoman / Survivor / Activist
“On and off the bicycle, Kathryn Bertine has always chosen the challenging road. Whether it was her tenacious battle for equal road at the Tour de France, or her soul-searching comeback from a traumatic crash, Bertine’s career as an athlete and advocate has been marked by courage, determinedness and an unshakeable sense of humor. As a slowpoke on two wheels, I hate that a talented cyclist can also be a great writer, but STAND is an inspiring testament to the power of choosing the challenging road, and it demonstrates how lucky all of sports — not just cycling — is to have Kathryn Bertine.” – Jason Gay, Wall Street Journal, Author of Little Victories
“I remember the first bike race I watched after retiring from seven years of pro cycling. Looking at the mob of flesh and carbon fiber flying around the European countryside, I couldn’t believe I ever did that. How hard I worked to barely eke out a living… I still feel lucky that I survived. Reading STAND, I realize I had it easy. Kathryn Bertine is a force of a human, a great athlete and a brilliant, funny author. Men and women alike will find STAND inspires, entertains, and educates.” – Phil Gaimon, pro cyclist/author of Draft Animals
“In STAND, Kathryn Bertine delivers more than a memoir – she presents a bold, honest blueprint for achieving change. All women who’ve had to work harder, stronger, and smarter to be recognized will identify with Kathryn’s fight for women’s inclusion at the Tour de France – a journey that was both painful and joyful (sometimes at the same time), and during which she met entrenched resistance at every step. Kathryn’s story will inspire all readers – men and women, athletes or not – with strategies supporting a simple premise: when you want to achieve something, you set your goal, and you go out and make it happen no matter the obstacles. For anyone who doubts Kathryn’s – or his or her own – ability to affect change, STAND dares you to ditch your doubts and get to work.”—Kyrsten Sinema, first female U.S. Senator for Arizona and IRONMAN triathlete
“Candid, raw, insightful, honest. As a four-time Olympian in ice hockey, I’m no stranger to the barriers women face in male-dominated sports. Bertine’s story goes far beyond sports. Her memoir is unique, her manual is necessary. STAND will resonate with anyone who wonders what it takes to create change and move the dial forward.” -Angela Ruggiero, Olympic Gold Medalist and author of Breaking the Ice.
“No one takes a stand like Kathryn Bertine… warm, witty and above all wise, as a writer she has the rare talent of infusing activism with humour and it’s her intelligence and humanity that makes STAND such a compelling, honest and kick ass read. ” – Suze Clemitson, The Guardian (UK).
“Great. Another book by a chick. Completely missed the mark. Didn’t have any recipes or life-hacks for vacuuming. Just relentless optimism, indefatigable kindness and delusional visions of justice. I want a refund. But if you like this equality bullshit, Bertine’s a fucking good writer and STAND is pretty good for a girl.” – Doug Stanhope, comedian & author of Digging Up Mother.