British Cycling women's strategy is 'on track'

British Cycling women's strategy is 'on track'

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British Cycling’s ambition to get one million more women cycling by 2020 is ‘on track’ the sports governing body said today as it published a six month update on its women’s strategy, announcing that around 106,000 women have participated in the sport governing body’s programmes so far this year.

British Cycling's Women's Strategy - the progress so far - Click to open the PDFBritish Cycling’s Chief Executive, Ian Drake, said:

“In the six months since we launched our strategy we’ve made some great progress and our plan to get one million more women cycling over the next seven years is firmly on track. We’ve got some fantastic headline figures that we’re announcing today. They show that there are thousands of women who want to ride recreationally – a big win for our partnership with Sky, especially the fact that over a third of the 100,000 women we’ve engaged so far this year was through Sky Ride. There is also a real appetite for women to get into racing or to try personal challenge rides. 24,000 women have taken part in British Cycling sportives so far this year and our female member base has increased by 19% since we launched our strategy.

“The introduction of the Women’s Tour from next year can only build momentum further. We know that British Cycling has a long journey ahead to change the culture of our sport but we are heading in the right direction.”

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller, said:

"We know that British Cycling has a long journey ahead to change the culture of our sport but we are heading in the right direction."

British Cycling's Chief Executive Ian Drake

“It’s fantastic that British Cycling’s women’s strategy has got off to a flying start. The approach to promote both recreational cycling as well as sportives to women is clearly paying off. With great role models such as Laura Trott and Becky James, an increase in women’s races, a Women’s Tour announced and more female coaches coming through, the sport is in a great position to keep up this momentum.”

Three time BMX World Champion, Shanaze Reade, said:

“For too long cycling has been seen as a sport for men. It’s fantastic to hear that over a 100,000 women have dusted off their bikes and got involved in British Cycling programmes across all disciplines so far this year. The more women that cycle, the more their friends, sisters and mums will be inspired to give it a try – we’re starting to close that gender gap and I look forward to seeing even more women enjoy all that cycling has to offer.”

Since British Cycling launched its women’s strategy in London alongside Culture Secretary Maria Miller, progress has been made in all areas of the plan. The key headline results for British Cycling’s 2013 programmes so far include:

  • Getting 23,000 women on bikes through British Cycling’s Breeze programme of female-only rides.
  • Attracting more than 37,000 women to attend Sky Ride city events – mass participation, traffic-free cycle rides – in 2013. Over a third of the total attendees were women.
  • Inspiring 6,000 women to attend Sky Ride Local rides. Again, women made up over a third of total attendees.
  • This means that over a third of the 100,000 women that have engaged with cycling were through Sky Ride programmes.

  • Attracting 24,000 women to take part in personal challenge rides – known as sportives – a 7% increase on last year.
  • Increasing the number of females taking part in its Go-Ride development programme for young people by 10,000.
  • Almost 4,000 women have attended Social Cycling Group rides – self guided, mixed sex rides that can be signed up for via the Go Sky Ride website.
  • Almost a third of all participants in Social Cycling Group rides are now women.
  • The Women’s National Series had a total of 10 events in 2013, an increase of over 50% on 2012; five of the events were run in conjunction with Men’s National Series events on the same day.
  • A 24% year on year increase in the number of women racing in formal Cyclesport events.
  • Increasing the number of female members by over 2,000 – since March, British Cycling has grown its female member base by 19%.
  • Since March 2013, British Cycling has trained 10% more female coaches than in the same period last year.

"This is great news. It's further evidence that Sky's partnership with British Cycling is helping to get more women out on their bikes."

Tricia Thompson, Sky's Director of Cycling

Tricia Thompson, Sky's Director of Cycling, said:

"This is great news. It's further evidence that Sky's partnership with British Cycling is helping to get more women out on their bikes. Our Sky Ride events create an environment where families and friends can cycle together on traffic-free routes and build up their confidence on guided rides. And the sustained success at elite level is creating new role models and inspiring even more people to get involved."

Sport England Chief Executive Jennie Price, said:

“It is good to see British Cycling have set an ambitious target of getting one million more women cycling by 2020. Whilst the gender gap between men and women playing sport is beginning to narrow, much more needs to be done, and the profile of cycling means they are well placed to make a real difference."

British Cycling Board Adviser, Kirstie Moore, added:

“From getting more women to try recreational rides with their families to training more female coaches to specialise in mountain biking, we are busy putting in place changes that will make getting into cycling a more attractive offer to all women, however they want to ride. The best thing about our sport is its versatility – whether it’s riding to work or racing in a regional competition – anyone can do it and there has never been a better time to ensure that cycling is a modern sport with modern values.”

In terms of changing the structure and broadening appeal of cycling, British Cycling has taken steps to:

  • Encourage more organisers to put on women’s races, including the introduction of the Women’s Tour – a five day international stage race – on the UK calendar for next year. The event has been granted 2.1 status putting it into the top echelon of races, second only to World Cup events.
  • Begin a female-only coaching pilot project in the South East. For the first time, the Go-Ride programme now features female-only coaching sessions for girls and young women.
  • More than double the number of Breeze female-only social rides on offer. Between March and October 2013, the Breeze programme has grown by almost half – with around 3,500 more rides taking place year on year.
  • Successfully helped to secure a number of government announcements that will make cycling on the roads safer – a key barrier identified by over a third of would-be female cyclists. The Prime Minister announced alongside British Cycling in August that all new roads will be cycle-proofed and the sports governing body is working alongside the Department for Transport on its cycling delivery plan.
  • Refresh its website and the way British Cycling speaks to people who are new to cycling.

British Cycling is measuring progress towards the one million target using research from British Cycling and Sky’s Annual Cycling Survey. Sport England’s Active People survey will be taken into account but, as that survey only measures recreational cycling in England, it won’t provide the full picture. The results will be assessed twice a year with the first tranche expected by the end of 2013.

In March, British Cycling identified seven key areas for improvement against its plans to get one million more women cycling. Read more detail about how British Cycling is doing against each of these areas here.