Women's participation strategy on track, claims British Cycling
Thursday, 17 October 2013
October 17 - British Cycling's strategy to get one million women cycling by 2020 is "on track", according to the sport's national governing body, as it revealed today that 106,000 women have taken part in its programmes so far this year.
A six-month update report on the initiative indicated that more women are cycling more often, with figures showing that, among other events, 23,000 have taken to their bikes as part of the body's female-only Breeze initiative, 37,000 participated in Sky Ride city events and 24,000 took part in personal challenge rides.
British Cycling, which says it has grown its female member base by 19 per cent and trained 10 per cent more female coaches since March, has also introduced 10,000 female under-16s to the sport through its Go-Ride programme, while 4,000 women attended Social Cycling Group rides.
"In the six months since we launched our strategy we've made some great progress and our plan to get one million more women cycling over the next seven years is firmly on track," British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake said.
"We've got some fantastic headline figures that we're announcing today.
"They show that there are thousands of women who want to ride recreationally - a big win for our partnership with Sky, especially the fact that over a third of all Sky Ride event participants this year were women.
"There is also a real appetite for women to get into racing or to try personal challenge rides.
"Twenty four thousand women have taken part in British Cycling sportives so far this year and our female member base has increased by 19 per cent since we launched our strategy.
"The introduction of the Women's Tour from next year can only build momentum further.
"We know that British Cycling has a long journey ahead to change the culture of our sport but we are heading in the right direction."
Britain's three-time BMX world champion Shanaze Reade was also pleased with the results of the programme to date.
"For too long cycling has been seen as a sport for men," the London 2012 Olympian said.
"It's fantastic to hear that over a 100,000 women have dusted off their bikes and got involved in British Cycling programmes across all disciplines so far this year.
"The more women that cycle, the more their friends, sisters and mums will be inspired to give it a try - we're starting to close that gender gap and I look forward to seeing even more women enjoy all that cycling has to offer."
Following the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, British Cycling launched a review in to women's participation and success in the sport.
It subsequently identified seven key areas for improvement to help it achieve its one million women riders target, including the need to encourage more organisers to put on women's races, a demand for female-only coaching sessions and road safety - a key barrier named by over a third of would-be female cyclists.
As a result, British Cycling has more than doubled the number of female-only rides taking place since March and launched a female-only coaching pilot in South East England, while Prime Minister David Cameron announced in August that all new roads in Britain will be "cycle-proofed" - something the national governing body is working with the Department for Transport to deliver.
"It's fantastic that British Cycling's women's strategy has got off to a flying start," Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller, said.
"The approach to promote both recreational cycling as well as sportives to women is clearly paying off.
"With great role models such as Laura Trott and Becky James, an increase in women's races, a Women's Tour announced and more female coaches coming through, the sport is in a great position to keep up this momentum."
October 2013: Further boost for women's cycling as 2014 Tour of Britain announced