British Cycling, the national governing body for cycling, revealed plans on Monday to get one million more women cycling regular in the UK by 2020.
BC says that it wants to see more women involved with cycling at ‘all levels’ including recreational riding, racing and getting involved with organisation, including sitting on its own board. It has identified those areas which are currently an obstacle in enticing women into the saddle and will address each issue.
The strategy – which has been termed ‘ambitious’ by BC themselves – has the support of Culture Secretary Maria Miller, Sport England and long-term sponsor Sky.
“At British Cycling, in partnership with Sky and Sport England, we have never been scared of a challenge, nor of setting ambitious targets,” said British Cycling president Brian Cookson.
“Whether it is winning eight gold medals at a home Olympics four years after the triumphs of Beijing, producing the first British winner of the Tour de France or getting a million people cycling, when we set ourselves goals, we set about them with seriousness and purpose.
“We are not saying we are going to be perfect, far less that we are perfect now. The direction of travel is important: our ultimate aim is to inspire one million more women to get on bikes and we are determined to make this happen.”
The main points of BC’s strategy have been outlined by the organisation as follows:
Building on the success of traffic free, mass participation events, Sky Ride, and British Cycling’s female led rides, Breeze, to encourage more women to take up recreation cycling with other women, their partners, families and friends;
Continuing to campaign for safer roads for all cyclists to help overcome the safety concerns that 30% of women identify as the main barrier to taking up cycling;
Setting up entry-level racing opportunities for women to compete at key facilities across the country, including establishing ‘get into cycle sport’ coaching sessions;
Working to influence more event organisers to put on women’s events to run alongside men’s races;
Establishing a National Youth Form with equal male and female representation to feed into British Cycling’s work to inspire young people to take up the sport;
Recruiting more female coaches, volunteers and officials into the sport to ensure more women are influencing and running the sport at the grassroots;
Working to ensure that British Cycling’s board is more representative with plans to recruit three Board members as soon as possible;
Embedding our strategy in all of British Cycling’s work and outputs including ensuring that our website, membership offer and branding is appealing to women;
Looking at how we can better promote our free expert advice, cycling routes and Social Cycling Groups network to demonstrate how easy it is to get involved.
Progress and success of the strategy will be assessed via BC and Sky’s Annual Cycling Survey, which is undertaken on BC and Sky’s behalf by GFK NOP and uses a sample of 10,000 adults who complete an online questionnaire.
Last week it was a announced that the final stage of the 2013 Tour of Britain will include a women’s race in London, with a five-day regional women’s race taking place in 2014.