With a lifelong love of cycling, Aileen Brown’s passion has helped her to transform the fortunes of Bath Cycling Club since becoming the club’s membership secretary.
Aileen joined a club that was keenly run by a committee of members, who “were willing to give up their time to support anyone,” but as time went on, the club was ultimately struggling to attract new, younger riders.
As an active member, Aileen was asked to take on the role of club membership secretary and her increased involvement, together with the support of other new younger members, has helped support a change in approach and breathe new life into the club.
Things have changed rapidly for Bath CC, as the club now has one retiree on the committee (the president) and has adapted its approach to attract new riders to the club.
The result has been a doubling in club female membership in the past year. Total membership has also increased significantly with numbers now standing at over 200. More visibly, the proportion of active members who are women has increased three-fold too. According to Aileen, “Membership is increasing year-on-year, the average age of the membership is falling and we have more family members.”
These trends reflect what is happening at British Cycling, where membership is at a record high thanks to the good work of volunteers like Aileen. Bath CC now has a new ethos when it comes to club rides, and Aileen is confident that this new approach has helped stimulate growth.
“The introduction of shorter social rides has been key. Our mantra is to start together, finish together and look forward to riding together the next week; nobody gets left behind or feels intimidated.
“The club has introduced tailored rides, with a more social focus where rides are led at a pace where riders can chat all the way. I meet lots of lovely like-minded people who all seem to have a positive outlook on life. It’s a great way to see the countryside and an efficient way, too.
“It’s a way of life, a wonderful way of life!”
Following a fantastic Women’s Tour, British Cycling is delighted to launch #WeRide week, an initiative highlighting the vast range of opportunities available to women who wish to get involved in the sport.
British Cycling’s #WeRide strategy was launched in March 2013 with the target of getting one million more women cycling regularly by 2020. A two year update published earlier this month showed that the strategy is on track with 254,000 more women now cycling, but with work still to be done to reach the one million target.
There are a number of inspirational women already out there working and taking part in the sport and we’ll be highlighting some of those case studies throughout the week.
- Caroline Foreman – Getting more women cycling more often
- Yvonne Mills – Getting more women running the sport
- Rachel Aldred – Campaigning and commuting for safer roads
- Nicky Hawker – Creating opportunities to ride and race
- Marian Lauder/Alex Russell - More women getting involved in governing the sport
- Aileen Brown – Increasing female membership
- Monica Eden – Creating a pathway that keeps women engaged
British Cycling also has a number of activities taking place during #WeRide week for any women looking to take their first steps into the sport, whether someone wants to race, coach, volunteer or get involved in race organisation - check them out here.