A host of Olympic athletes including Sir Chris Hoy join ‘real women’ in backing a long-standing campaign which aims to narrow the vast gender cycling gap and get one million more women on bikes by 2020.
Latest research from British Cycling shows that two thirds of frequent cyclists in Britain are men, compared to countries like Denmark where male cyclists account for 47% and female cyclists 53%2.
Insight shows a vast disparity in confidence levels amongst women and men, with more than six in ten women (64%) saying they don’t feel confident riding their bike on the roads (26% higher than men) and a similar number claiming that infrastructure (63%) and driver behaviour (66%) does not make them feel safe (17% and 13% higher than men, respectively). If these barriers were removed, statistics indicate the true potential to grow women’s cycling - with 36% of women – equating to 9,720,000 - saying they would like to cycle more frequently.
The ‘One in a Million’ campaign aims to tackle perceptions which prevent everyday women from getting on a bike, including almost three quarters (72%) who say they feel there should be safer cycle routes and they have a lack of knowledge of where to go.
Olympic Champion Sir Chris Hoy, an ambassador for the campaign, said: “Cycling, in all its forms – whether it’s commuting, competing, coaching or as a career – must be just as appealing to women as it is to men. And it’s really important that everyone involved in cycling takes responsibility for this. These heightened negative perceptions of confidence and safety on a bike amongst women are concerning as this is worsening the cycling gender gap and preventing women from getting on bikes altogether.
“If we are to close this gap we need to redouble our efforts to encourage more women to consider cycling and show them that it is safe, you don’t have to be super fit or have a wardrobe full of lycra and there are women’s only Breeze rides across the whole of the country waiting to welcome beginners.
“Getting a million more women in the saddle will be a great feat but if we are to change the face of cycling in the UK we need to drive forward progress by creating additional opportunities and true gender parity for women in cycling at every level.”
Alongside British Cycling, we are urging women across the UK to join its ‘One in a million’ campaign to help us address the gender gap in cycling.
For more information and practical tips about how to take to two wheels visit www.britishcycling.org.uk/womenscycling
Michelle Esson, Breeze rider:
“Cycling is freedom, my meditation, my voice of reason when the world sits on my shoulders.. It allows me to be me, not a mummy, to relax and reset myself leaving the housework or work stress behind and to appreciate the most wonderful, small piece of the world we live on and how lucky we are to have it.”