British Cycling and Women in Sport have this week jointly published the results of a study designed to encourage more women to enter challenge bike rides.
The study, originally commissioned by British Cycling in 2015, has identified a series of ways in which British Cycling can build on its existing work around women’s cycling, as part of the organisation’s overall target of encouraging one million more women to take up cycling by 2020.
Next steps include updating and improving advice to event organisers on how to engage more women and girls, and helping Breeze champions and ride leaders to allay fears of recreational cyclists considering a challenge ride.
Becki Morris, women’s cycling project manager at British Cycling, said:
“Working with Women in Sport has provided us with valuable in-depth insight. We are determined to encourage as many women as possible to cycle, and the recommendations from this study which we can now integrate into our work are hugely positive steps.
“We have identified eleven sportives to work with this year to run a pilot project with the objective of gaining different female experiences to share more widely. This will hopefully work towards changing the perception of sportives that some women may have, and breaking down some of the barriers identified in the research.”
The study is one of three carried out by Women in Sport and commissioned by governing bodies – the FA and England Athletics have also worked alongside the organisation, which the goal of using an insight-led approach to transform the lives of women and girls in the UK.
Applying insights from its previous research work, Women in Sport spoke to three groups of women to understand what holds them back, and explore how British Cycling could encourage them to participate.
Women in Sport Partnership Manager, Heather Smith believes the case study with British Cycling is a great example of using insight to champion change:
“Our partnership work with British Cycling over the last year highlights how our project based approach can support an organisation looking to engage more women and girls.
“By helping to identify the barriers and motivators to women entering more formal ‘challenge’ rides, we explored the potential methods of persuading women to try by applying insights from our ‘Understanding Women’s Lives’, (2013) and ‘What Sways Women to Play Sport’ (2015) reports.
“To see how British Cycling have already begun working through the recommendations by referring to two Women in Sport summary documents is extremely encouraging and an example of best practice.”