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Women’s cycling questionnaire

(73 Posts)
Quadzilla Sat 03-Oct-20 15:05:30

Do we have any feminists on two wheels? Scottish Cycling want to hear from you. Out of their membership only 19% are female and they want to understand why.

www.britishcycling.org.uk/scotland/article/20200923-Help-increase-women-and-girls%E2%80%99-membership-in-cycling-clubs-0?fbclid=IwAR37OAmTvKT8LK5S-8DZutTWeU0vuC6r7n9Qucmfq_kP7VM2mYzqh6muurY

A bit of background:
British/Scottish Cycling run a Sport England funded grassroots women only initiative called Breeze which is open to anyone who identifies as a woman. This policy has cause many female volunteers to complain be ignored/called a bigot and leave.

British Cycling have had well publicised accusations of sexism levelled at them over the years by many of their athletes including Nicole Cooke, Lizzie Deignan, Jess Varnish and Victoria Pendleton.

Whoever wrote the questionnaire fails to mention sex yet there’s lots of mentions of gender. In my experience women do not want to cycle with men as men are physically stronger and faster therefore club runs become men only unless you are a super strong female athlete. I left a cycling club because I couldn’t even keep up with the overweight middle aged men. Sex is the divider in sport. If sporting organisations don’t understand that, is there any hope for them? I’ve filled in the questionnaire in vain hope that they will do if we point it out to them.

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Kit19 Sat 03-Oct-20 15:21:41

Sports bodies decide women as a category is also open to men, tell women who disagree they are hateful bigots & then wonder why women stop getting involved

It’s a mystery isn’t it?

Quadzilla Sat 03-Oct-20 15:26:22

Well, yes. It’s unfortunate as all the governing bodies seem to have drunk the Koolaid.
I joined Cycling UK as they seemed to be a sensible bunch then they ran a Festival of Women’s Cycling earlier this year for anyone identifying as a woman. The women that respectfully pointed out that they disagreed with that position were just ignored in the Facebook group. Which at least is a step up from being called a bigot.

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ArabellaScott Sat 03-Oct-20 15:42:46

I have seen the packs of male cyclists. It's a very visibly macho community. Wouldn't dream of joining a cycling club, but enjoy local family community cycling events.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sat 03-Oct-20 15:58:35

Did you know there's a cycling board on Mumsnet? I think it's pretty quiet as not easy to find.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/cycling

I'm only there for the Grand Tour threads as I can't actually ride a bike but you could ask there too.

DramaAlpaca Sat 03-Oct-20 16:03:16

DH is a member of a cycling club. It doesn't seem to be a particularly macho one as there are a good few female cyclists, some of whom can really give the men a run for their money, especially up hills as they are smaller and lighter. It's a fairly inclusive club as far as I'm aware.

Quadzilla Sat 03-Oct-20 16:03:28

Thank you, I’ll take a look

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Quadzilla Sat 03-Oct-20 16:08:43

Drama some clubs are friendly places for both sexes but they are in the minority I’m afraid as the stats show.
The barriers to participate for women are many, and well documented which is why we’ve got initiative such as The Girl Can.
An average women is not going to rock up at a cycling club full of men and be able to ride with them. Regardless of the difference in physical strength, women with children tend to be time constrained. A 60 mile club ride in a Sunday is just not do-able for women juggling family responsibilities. British Cycling launched Breeze to try to overcome this barrier by offering shorter friendly rides that are more female friendly in terms of ability and time.

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DramaAlpaca Sat 03-Oct-20 16:54:18

I totally believe it @Quadzilla. I suppose I was just trying to point out that there are a handful of decent, inclusive clubs out there. I'm all for initiatives that encourage women and girls to get involved in cycling, it's a fabulous sport for all ages and fitness levels. I'm more of a lone wolf myself, I hate cycling in a group.

horseymum Sat 03-Oct-20 16:59:45

I filled it in as I do actually cycle and am in Scotland. I mentioned several times about girls/ women not wanting their hard earned places taken away by boys/ men pretending to be girls. Also just about the nacho attitude and bad reputation some cycling clubs have and women not wanting to be part of that.

sultanasofa Sat 03-Oct-20 17:15:15

I filled it in too. Plenty of free text boxes to express exactly what we think!

Incidentally most of their ideas for how to increase female participation were terrible and illustrate why there's such a problem. They didn't exactly suggest painting the bikes pink but it was not far off. They seemed to think that women were more interested in social events and cafe stops than cycling.

I would be very put off by any cycling club that considered that women should be competing in the same sex class as transwomen.

Aside from that it's also important that women feel represented, can find other women of a similar standard to cycle with, and feel that their successes will be celebrated and considered equal to male success.

Running clubs feels much more female-friendly to me. There are still more men, but it feels like a comfortable 60:40 M:F. I wonder if cycling could learn from the success of parkrun and Couch to 5K?

TorkTorkBam Sat 03-Oct-20 17:27:11

Incidentally most of their ideas for how to increase female participation were terrible and illustrate why there's such a problem. They didn't exactly suggest painting the bikes pink but it was not far off.

This would suggest that they got men to come up with the ideas and/or filter them, which does rather indicate why women do not feel welcome.

19% women should surely mean a group of women could have worked on this. Even, shocker, without male supervision.

Quadzilla Sat 03-Oct-20 17:30:33

Yes I think they could. A few of us where so pissed off with our experiences in cycling we all trained up to be coaches and now run Couch to 10k courses for women. (Or at least did before Covid struck).

In our experience women tended to underestimate their ability and once they’d done some skills work and a few rides with us, they’d have the confidence to either ride out on their own or find a club that catered for their ability.

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Quadzilla Sat 03-Oct-20 17:31:51

Forgot to say, you can complete the questionnaire if you don’t live in Scotland too.

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ArabellaScott Sat 03-Oct-20 17:33:13

Yes, sultana, I'd join a running club if I wasn't a lazy arse, but not a cycling club. I mean, I'd probably most likely join a running group in the sense that if I saw a group of runners running towards me I'd run as fast as I could in the opposite direction, but still.

SciFiScream Sat 03-Oct-20 17:36:21

I'm a Bikeability instructor in Scotland. Also a cycle ride leader. I've filled it in.
What's this couch to 10K you refer to please? Is that like couch to 5k running but for cycling? I can comfortably cycle 8k but not fast. I just like to pootle along. Apparently cycling is good for knees though so I should do it more.

ThinkWittyThoughts Sat 03-Oct-20 17:45:27

I love cycling. On the flat. For pleasure. Or practicality.

It wouldn't (hasn't) occurred to me to join a cycling club because I perceive them to be competitive, testosterone fuelled, time sucking, did I mention competitive, drains on time.

I cannot be arsed to convince a bunch of blokes to let me join them - I already spend enough of my life proving myself in a male dominated workplace. I have 2 kids. A husband. They are my priority. Why the hell would I use my precious free time doing it for a cycle club I probably couldn't keep up with?

A women- only, friendly ride for an hour in the evening or weekends - I'd be interested.

Quadzilla Sat 03-Oct-20 18:02:40

@SciFiScream it’s not an official Couch to 19k programme. It’s one we put together ourselves. It includes skills sessions as well as riding to build up both confidence and fitness over the 8 weeks of the course.

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Quadzilla Sat 03-Oct-20 18:04:16

@ThinkWittyThoughts that’s exactly what Breeze tries to do, create local friendly short rides for women, led by women.

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aliasundercover Sat 03-Oct-20 19:02:41

I left a cycling club because I couldn’t even keep up with the overweight middle aged men

Any decent cycling club should be organising fast, medium, and beginners (or relaxed) sessions, and they should be going at the pace of the slowest rider if it’s not a race.

I agree that cycling UK is marginally better the British Cycling - there does seem to be an awareness that more women could be cycling - though disappointingly they don’t appear to be aware what a woman is.

QuestaVecchiaCasa Sat 03-Oct-20 20:17:13

I sometimes do ride with a club (triathlon not pure cycling) and I actually find it very enjoyable. Strangely I have found triathlon to be very accessible because there is always someone who is not as strong in one of the disciplines so people are much more willing to wait and encourage when they recognise that you are struggling because they feel the same when doing one of the other activities. Cycling in a group can be great because some of the other stronger cyclists sit on the front of the group and if follow in their their slip stream, you get pulled along. There is almost a 50/50 split of the sexes in the over 40s groups as well. Please give it a go if you fancy it.

BobbinThreadbare123 Sat 03-Oct-20 20:47:03

I cycle. I've answered it. I've ensured that they have a clear picture of what a woman is.

LoeliaPonsonby Sat 03-Oct-20 20:56:54

If they wanted to increase the number of women in cycling, they could concentrate on telling their male members not to piss off for 5 hours on a weekend so that perhaps mothers might stand a fighting chance of getting out for some free time?

Cycling is notoriously misogynistic and woke. I left an online cycling forum because there was such an odious trans member who was just vile about women. And Cook et al were beating the world with no support whatsoever from British Cycling when the men were mediocre also rans.

They can fuck off and all.

BreathlessCommotion Sat 03-Oct-20 21:16:05

I cycle. I haven't ever cycled with a club as they are mostly men and the speed required for the slowest group is just within my average speed. So I just go out on my own.

ThinkWittyThoughts Sat 03-Oct-20 21:17:14

Thanks Quadzilla. Intrigued, I googled "breeze cycling" and found the British Cycling page. The link to find clubs was broken. I googled again "breeze cycling club near me". There is one club, a county & toll road away from me. And I'd still say their routes are beyond me 😞

If I had the time, I'd think about starting my own club...

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