All-male cycling club founded in 1941 finally accepts female members

The Pedal Club was allegedly set up to ‘exchange diverse views,’ but women were not allowed to enter as members

 Minister for War Transport George Strauss Speaking at The Pedal Club in January 1946
Minister for War Transport George Strauss Speaking at The Pedal Club in January 1946
(Image credit: The Pedal Club )

An all-male cycling club founded in 1941 has finally allowed women to join.

The Pedal Club, which was founded as a lunch club for cycling official and journalists, was allegedly established for members to “meet and exchange diverse views.” 

Despite their initial aims, the club has been open to only male members since its inception, but now the organisation has tried to step into the 21st century, with women only allowed to participate as guest speakers for the club. 

In a statement released in October 2021, the clubs said: “The Pedal Club, one of the very few remaining all male cycling clubs, is now fully open to women.

"Many in the cycling world had assumed that this club retained its men only rule because the members were determined to keep it that way, but this was not the case. The issue had been contentious for decades and proposals for change were often put forward, but these were successfully resisted by a group of ‘social conservatives’.

"They were aided by the club’s rules which appear to have been devised by a gentleman who felt that the nineteenth century had ended prematurely and who wrote in a style resembling the Ten Commandments, which gave the rules an impression of immutability.”

The club said that part of the reason for the lack of progress was due to the voting rules, which stated that a two-third majority was needed, with a vote to allow women being defeated in 2017.

But earlier this month the organisation agreed to “accept women as equal members” by unanimous agreement.

The Pedal Club was founded by 22 members at the Blue Lion pub in central London during the early years of the Second World War, as a discussion group for high profile figures in the cycling world. 

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Today the club still holds monthly meetings and members gather for rides, exhibitions and support other cycling events.  

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.