Published: 9 December 2013
Safer roads and an increase in the number of accessible cycle paths is key to encouraging more women to cycle according to a survey published today by British Cycling and Future.
British Cycling’s Policy Advisor Chris Boardman, who today appeared at a government inquiry into women and sport, said that the survey shows that, “making Britain’s roads safer for cyclists is integral to increasing participation.”
The results of the Find Your Cycle Style Survey indicate a clear desire from women of all ages to cycle more regularly and in a variety of ways.
From the poll of over 2,300 women, 79% of respondents cited improving cycle safety and increasing the number of cycle paths in Great Britain as the key to increasing how often they cycle.
The data also provides a clear outline of the cycling habits of women who already cycle regularly, as well as those who would like to ride their bikes more.
For example, 55% of respondents are looking to buy a new bike and cited keeping fit and healthy as the predominant reason for cycling more regularly. Enjoying fun and social bike rides came in second before practical ideals of better commuting, losing weight and cycling to the shops followed on the list.
The Find Your Cycle Style Survey was commissioned by Future and British Cycling, in partnership with Evans Cycles, to better understand the women’s market and their motivations for cycling.
Of those who currently own a bike, 47% cycle at least once a week throughout the year with the majority using either a road or mountain bike. 49% of bike owners use cycling as either a means for functional journeys such as going to the shops or commuting to work or education.
The evident growth in desire to cycle is positive news for the continued success of British Cycling’s strategy to get one million more women cycling by 2020.
Representatives from British Cycling will be outlining the success of the strategy and the results of the survey today at a Sport Select Committee inquiry into women and sport.
British Cycling’s Policy Advisor will be giving evidence alongside Olympic medallist Emma Pooley and he believes the survey provides a clear indication of the measures that are needed to increase women’s participation in cycling.
He said: “The survey results reaffirm our belief that making Britain’s roads safer for cyclists is integral to our plans for increasing participation across all areas of cycling.
“It is imperative that national and local government provide political leadership and sustained investment to give cycling the priority it deserves.
“Bringing such benefits to the individual can also benefit society as a whole, which is why we are continuing our campaign to get one million more women cycling by 2020.”
Kerry Lawrence, Head of Women's Creative at Future, said: “Future is the world’s number one cycling publisher, so to collaborate with British Cycling is a perfect match. We are thrilled the survey had such a positive response, and that more women want to get on their bikes!
“Raising the profile of women's cycling is something that we're keen to pursue and the survey has provided a fantastic insight into this market.”
In terms of changing the structure and broadening the 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.
- 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.
- Begin a female-only coaching pilot project in the South East, while for the first time, the Go-Ride programme now features female-only coaching sessions for girls and young women.