Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines
Published: 27 June 2014
Cycling has been booming in the UK with success at recent Olympics and the Tour de France inspiring a new generation of pedallers. But how have women embraced this new era?
At last year’s Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines, the UK’s first closed road cycling event, there were just 60 female participants, making up 7% of the field that included 2,000 amateur cyclists. This has quadrupled to over 250 female riders for the 2014 event, with plenty more expected to sign up before the event on July 20th.
Etape Pennines takes place in County Durham and has a reputation of being the UK’s toughest sportive. The 60 mile route starts and finishes at Barnard Castle and participants will have to conquer 2,000 meters of climbing. They’re duly rewarded with spectacular views and several exhilarating downhill sections through beautiful Pennines scenery.
Selena Colmer, Etape Series Event Director said: “There has been a well-recognised growth in women’s cycling since the 2012 Olympics, with more of us inspired to get on our bikes. Importantly though, these new figures show that women are increasing in confidence and trying more challenging routes, pitching themselves against the men and enjoying it.
“With such a huge increase in Etape Pennines female riders, as well as the first ever Women’s Tour of Britain, 2014 is certainly a great year for women’s cycling.”
There were a number of reasons female participants gave for entering the event; ‘testing myself over a challenging course’ ‘the opportunity to cycle on closed roads’, ‘a fitness goal’, ‘raise money for charity’ and ‘compete against friends’.
Interestingly, the survey also showed that female riders own more bikes than men, with 75% owning three bikes or more, compared to just 57% men. Women also spent £70 more on their bike and kit each year than men, but only 28% were members of a cycling club compared to 72% men.
Many of the riders will be raising vital funds for the events Official Charity Partner, Marie Curie Cancer Care, which will enable Marie Curie Nurses to provide more free care and support to terminally ill people and their families in communities across the UK.
Places are still available at www.etapepennines.com