The Scottish Cycling Women’s Development group brings together women from a variety of cycling backgrounds, with representation from competitors, coaches, officials and Scottish Cycling staff. The group is committed to the development of women’s cycling in Scotland at all levels.
The group distributed a survey in October 2017, investigating women’s participation in cycle racing, perceived barriers and possible solutions. Women attending coaching sessions in this month were encouraged to complete it, and it was also shared across social media.
A total of 126 responses were received, the majority of whom from the 40-49 age range (48). This was followed by ages 30-39 (30) and 50+ (29). There were 19 responses from the under 30’s, including nine from the 18-22 age group.
The most popular form of cycling was road (111) and the least popular was BMX (1). Leisure cycling was second most popular (64), closely followed by commuting (58) and mountain bike (51). Just over a quarter of respondents said they were involved in track cycling (33), whilst just under a quarter cyclocross (29).
Just under half of the women who completed the survey said they do not currently compete (62). Of those who do, road cycling (28) and time trials (24) were the most popular, followed by cyclocross (20), track (17), triathalon (15) and mountain bike (12).
There were 87 responses to the question ‘Is there anything that is preventing you from competing?’; indicating that women who compete in another/other event(s) feel prevented from competing in at least one other discipline. Confidence (33) and believing that they lack the required skills (33) were the most popular answers to this question, closely followed by fear (30) and fitness (29). Just over a fifth of respondents said that time is a factor (19). A lack of BC membership/race licence (13) and not knowing what to do (13) were both identified by 15% of respondents, whilst nine women said they don’t know about opportunities to compete.
To encourage more women into cycling the most popular response was women-only rides (31). Beginner/confidence training (25), infrastructure/road safety (17) and cycle club support (17) were also identified as popular possible solutions. Next were role models/mentors (12), advertising/promotions (10) and psychological changes (9). Interestingly, there was only one respondent who mentioned cake as a way to encourage more women to cycle!
The Women’s Development group have followed up on this survey by providing information to those respondents who indicated an interest in different opportunities, A series of Get into Racing workshops for women have been delivered across Scotland, facilitated by local female racers, providing information and insight for women thinking about making the leap from recreational riding to competing in a cycle racing event. The Breeze programme continues to develop across Scotland, providing more opportunities for women to get into/return to cycling by taking part in local female-only guided rides.
Their are also plans for a ‘Bike Blether’ event to further examine some of the issues raised in the survey and explore how we might work together to further develop women’s cycling in Scotland.
Want to get involved?
Breeze : Inspiring women to ride for fun and fitness
Ride Social : Organise your own rides, and join others near you - all for free
Race Calendar : Find a race near you
For more information of the Women’s Development group please see the latest meeting minutes.