Almost half of women would give up TV, the gym or the World Cup over cycling

Polly Clark
Polly Clark (right), one of this year's 100 Women in Cycling
A survey by Cycling UK found that more than 43% of women who cycle would happily give up watching TV, going to the gym or the football World Cup in favour of getting out on their bike

For its Women in Cycling survey, Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, quizzed more than 1,000 women who cycle to kick off its Women’s Festival of Cycling, a whole month of rides and events for women that launches in July 2018.

The survey also found that 11% would give up alcohol, 8% would give up shopping and 2% said they’d give up going out with friends before they would give up cycling. Six women questioned even said they’d rather give up their partner or family than their bikes.

The survey also revealed some of the main reasons women choose to cycle, such as health and fitness, transport, the sense of freedom and their mental health.

Julie Rand, Cycling UK’s co-ordinator of the Women’s Festival of Cycling, said: “All too often we hear the reasons why women don’t cycle, but it’s a fact that thousands of women are enjoying the benefits of getting out on their bikes and absolutely love it.

“It’s encouraging to see that, although more than 31% of the women we questioned cycled regularly for exercise and fitness, a large number (21%) said they cycled simply for the sense of freedom it gave them, while 11% cycled for transport and 10% cycled for fun.

“The benefits of cycling, particularly for women, shouldn’t be underestimated, which is why we want to get many more women out on their bikes.”

As part of the festival, Cycling UK is also announcing its 100 Women in Cycling for 2018, women who are ‘breaking the mould’ and who are achieving great things in typically male-dominated sectors of cycling.

By showcasing how any woman from any walk of life can cycle, the role models of the 100 Women in Cycling list are changing perceptions

Julie Rand, Women’s Festival of Cycling co-ordinator

It includes women from all walks of life and every corner of the cycling world, from mountain bikers and endurance cyclists to community group leaders, cycling school-run mums, industry entrepreneurs – and even a pair of cycling suffragettes. The list includes Rose Lamartine Yates and Millicent Fawcett, 100 years after the Representation of the People Act of 1918, which first gave women in the UK the right to vote. The bicycle played a remarkable and little-known role in the struggle for female suffrage, and became a symbol of women’s liberation.

Julie added: “By showcasing how any woman from any walk of life can cycle, the role models of the 100 Women in Cycling list are changing perceptions. There are teachers, campaigners and community leaders, and many have overcome illness or cultural barriers.

“This diverse group of women have all demonstrated in different ways how cycling benefits people’s lives, and they deserve to be recognised and celebrated.”

On 30 June, Cycling UK will celebrate this year’s 100 Women with a special free event: ‘From Bloomers to Baggies and Beyond – celebrating the role of cycling in liberating women past, present and future’, a day of talks, workshops and activities in Manchester.

Notes to editors

  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. More than a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone
  2. 1,118 women who cycle were questioned in the Cycling UK survey. The full results are [here]
  3. The 100 Women in Cycling list can be viewed in full [here]
  4. Cycling UK is championing women in cycling with the second year of its Women’s Festival of Cycling. The campaign is running throughout July 2018, providing a programme of rides and activities which celebrate, support and promote women in cycling and cycling activities for women
  5. Do men cycle more than women? According to research by Cycling UK’s policy team, the answer is ‘yes’. Statistics for England show:
    • In 2015, males (of all ages) made just under three times as many cycle trips as females (25 as opposed to nine);
    • Males also cycled around four times as many miles (86 as opposed to 21 for females) (NTS 0605);
    • Men are more likely to cycle to work than women. In 2011: 3.9% of male workers cycled to work compared with 1.6% of female workers in England and Wales (CensusEW); while 2.1% of male workers cycled to work compared with 0.6% of female workers in Scotland (CensusS, Table DC7101SC)
    • A guide to understanding why more women don’t cycle by Cycling UK can be found [here]
  6. To find out more about the From Bloomers to Baggies and Beyond event and register to attend visit:

Press contact information

For more information, or to request interviews contact the Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email