Women on bikes cycling through park

It's festival season - and we're celebrating women in cycling

With our Women's Festival of Cycling starting on 1 July 2017, we look at why it's important to raise the profile of women's cycling and those who inspire other women to cycle with their passion for pedal power.

Cycling UK's festival may not take place in a field with bands and beer tents, but it does provide an inspiring and insightful opportunity specifically for females to take part in cycling activities. As we kick start our Women's Festival of Cycling, which runs throughout July 2017, we look at why women and cycling needs to be celebrated.

Don't women cycle already?

Good point. SMS (Sports Marketing Survey) data in 2016 revealed that there has been an increase in women's cycling in the UK. Cycling UK has also seen an increase in female membership from 20% to over 27% in the last year. However, despite there being a large number of active groups that cater for both men and women, and a significant amount of groups offering female-specific rides, there are a number of barriers that inhibit many women to try or take up cycling, such as:

  • Fear of riding on roads due to perceived dangers
  • Lack of confidence in riding ability 
  • Media and publications related to cycling can appear 'male-centric' featuring athletic Lycra-clad lads
  • Psychological and physical health conditions that affect a large proportion of women such as depression, anxiety, arthritis and osteoporosis

Cycling UK know that, through our networks like Community Cycle Clubs, campaigns like The Big Bike Revival and our members, by creating the right conditions for female cyclists it is possible for many more to enjoy cycling as a recreational, healthy and useful activity. 

Plus our festival is a great opportunity to highlight some of the  'super women' who have already made a big impact in the world of cycling - from the international stage right through to changing cycle conditions in local communities. 

So why a festival?

Ten years ago, back in 2007, Cycling UK staged an exciting new initiative called 'Five Miles to Fabulous' that specifically engaged women in cycling. This saw a number of activities take place up and down the country targeting women to get back in the saddle (or try it out for the first time), which resulted in a number of women's cycling groups forming. Many of these groups continue to run today, so to mark the ten-year anniversary, we wanted to showcase all the impressive progress that has been made, whilst highlighting there are still many more reasons to encourage and support women into cycling.

We are joined on this journey through July by many of our members, partners and cycling groups so we'll be highlighting a range of stories, events and updates throughout the month.

What's going to be happening?

There are a number of ways you can get involved and hear more about our Women's Festival of Cycling, such as:

  • If you're organising a ride for female friends, colleagues or your community, you can register the event as part of the Women's Festival of Cycling - plus the first 50 groups, clubs or individuals to register a ride will receive a FREE picnic-themed promotional pack to help you make the most of your event plus up to ten goodie bags for each participant!
  • If you'd like to give cycling a try, there are events both on and off-road taking place across the UK that you can join in. Just check out the list on the website to see what's happening near you. 
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what people are up to, and share with us photos and videos of your trips out in the saddle during July. 
  • Each weekend in July, starting on Saturday 1 July, we are celebrating 100 women who have made a difference to the world of cycling. Take a look at the first 20 females. Over the course of the month read about why our 100 inspiring women were nominated - including Jeanie Welford, who in 1880 become Cycling UK's first ever female member!

We look forward to celebrating a rich heritage and a future that supports and promotes more women in cycling.