February 11, 2019
A host of Olympic and world cycling champions have joined forces with ‘real women’ across the country in a campaign by British Cycling to get one million more women on bikes by 2020.
The famous names read like a roll call of British cycling success and include Laura Kenny, Lizzie Deignan, Sir Chris Hoy, Elinor Barker and Joanna Rowsell Shand. The ‘One in a Million’ campaign aims to boost the number of women cycling and to tackle perceptions that discourage them, such as 72% who say there should be safer cycle routes and they also have a lack of knowledge of where to go.
British Cycling launched its women’s strategy in 2013 – when just 525,000 women were cycling regularly – with the aim to increase this figure by 1 million, by 2020. The initiative, backed by Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, has helped to inspire over 800,000 women to take up cycling, but there is still much more to be done to tackle gender disparity. The latest research by British Cycling shows that 69% of frequent cyclists in Britain are men, compared to countries like Denmark where the picture is reversed (female cyclists make up 53% of the total and male cyclists 47%).
The research also shows a vast difference in confidence levels among women and men, with 64% of women saying they don’t feel confident riding their bike on the roads (26% higher than men) and a similar number claiming that infrastructure (63%) and driver behaviour (66%) doesn’t make them feel safe (17% and 13% higher than men, respectively).
Julie Harrington, British Cycling Chief Executive, said: “Aside from reaching our million women target we want to create a cultural shift which normalises cycling for everyone – so that an equal number of women to men are riding bikes in this country. Cycling is increasingly being understood as a fundamental part of the solution when it comes to issues of public health and air quality, however change will not come unless people feel safe on the roads and we know this disproportionately affects women.”
As part of this campaign last year, British Cycling asked cyclists of all abilities to send video clips, telling the story of their cycling life. The aim was to create a video showing the breadth of women’s cycling in order to engage and inspire women to cycle, helping to reach the goal of getting one million more to ride, race and be part of British Cycling by 2020.
The mental and physical benefits of cycling are well known, alongside the environmental benefits and reduction in congestion that increased levels of cycling can bring. So, it is no surprise that government, local authorities and organisations are keen – at least in principle, if not always in practice – to improve cycling infrastructure (for example, Nottingham and London) and to get more people cycling, with women being under-represented and therefore prime for such initiatives. However, there are barriers to cycling that can deter men and women alike, such as inadequate changing facilities and safe storage for bikes.
While it is true that not all cycling involves wearing lycra and racing at top speed followed by a quick shower to freshen up, as demonstrated very well in Denmark, in most cases secure bike storage is a necessity. To meet this need, metroSTOR can offer individual lockers, secure compact stores and communal cycle hubs, which can all be specified for individual security and accessibility requirements. These bike storage facilities are available in a range of sizes, layouts, cladding, finishes and locking systems, with a green roof option on some models to further increase environmental benefits.