How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

andydr2wheelsandydr2wheels Posts: 24
edited June 2018 in Women's cycling forum
Hi,

I'm looking for advice or suggestions on what my road club could do to promote women members. We are quite a large club w around 200 nominal members, closer to 50-60 more active ones. We have a weekly no-one-left-behind social run, a longer quicker run on Sundays, plus a chain gang. We're also a racing club and have a youth coaching and Go-Ride set up. All of these are unisex and no one has to join, or pay subs, until they've had a few trial runs out and decided they like the set up.
At the moment we're reviewing the way we do things. We have women members but only a fairly small percentage of our regular participants in the club rides. So, we're looking for tips on what we could to encourage more women to participate. Among the suggestions are some women-only rides. Some shorter come-along-and-try rides (our basic club social club ride is c.40 miles). But I hope you will have some ideas or insights for us to act on.
To my mind a club should be a place where anyone interested in road cycling can share that interest and develop their abilities but I'm struck by the fact that I see a lot of women out on road bikes but not so well represented in club membership - even my own partner, says she'd never think of joining a cycling club, although she's a strong cyclist and a member of other sport clubs.
All suggestions welcome.
Thanks in advance
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Posts

  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,086
    There is a club around here called Widger spoke essies, its women only and despite being in a small market town, has some 50 odd members, its all about the social side, a bit of light competition and no male ego's.

    they are on facebook only, might be worth asking how they managed to attract women where mixed clubs have failed?
  • milemuncher1milemuncher1 Posts: 1,472
    Find a Breeze ride local to you.

    https://www.letsride.co.uk/breeze

    Go on some of them. Chat to the riders about your club. Explain how any riders who fancy something a bit more challenging may like to join you. The word will soon get out.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Women-only rides are the way to go. They seemed very popular at the RCCAMS and the comment from most ladies was that there was no testosterone going on.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,291
    Women-only rides are the way to go. They seemed very popular at the RCCAMS and the comment from most ladies was that there was no testosterone going on.

    Breeze does seem to attract the women out and into groups - they do "compete" just not quite as brazenly as us blokes (village sign here we go!)
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    It's because a massively high percentage of male club riders are really boring and stuck up their own backsides.

    This is not appealing to the opposite sex strangely enough.

    Until you change that demographic/reputation you're gonna have trouble attracting the fairer sex.

    Sorry, but you asked.

    I run a running collectif at work at which a few ladies turn up - they know that if any of the blokes start getting all macho then I'll get it sorted: it's no fun spending your time with someone being a schmuck so they won't bother coming back.

    Integration, reassurement, empowerment seems to work.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,119
    It's because a massively high percentage of male club riders are really boring and stuck up their own backsides.

    ^^ this totally :) Im always reminded of the time a small group from a cycling club all kitted up, of about 5 blokes and 1 woman probably late 20s early 30s, so not just idiot teenagers, turned up at the pub I was at whilst I was quietly nursing a recovery drink of my own in the corner, and they were the loudest, most obnoxiously macho t**ts I think Ive ever encountered, I actually wondered if it was just some kind of extreme fancy dress stag/birthday weekend pub crawl thing (you know abit like the golf challenge pub crawl) and theyd just been pushing bikes around and actually been on Jagermeister vodka chasers all day.

    and you could, well I could anyway, see how uncomfortable it was for the woman in their group, who was just trying to fit in and laugh at the right moments so as not to stand out as a target for their male "banter", and she obviously had chosen to ride with that lot, but it didnt look like it was being alot of fun for her.

    and I know my reaction was sheesh if those are the kinds of muppets you could end up on club rides with, no thank you,
  • Find a Breeze ride local to you.

    https://www.letsride.co.uk/breeze

    Go on some of them. Chat to the riders about your club. Explain how any riders who fancy something a bit more challenging may like to join you. The word will soon get out.

    Thanks Milemucher1. Really helpful. Turns out there are several ones and I'm thinking we might sponsor one via the club.
  • Women-only rides are the way to go. They seemed very popular at the RCCAMS and the comment from most ladies was that there was no testosterone going on.

    Thanks. What's the general opinion on running women-only rides? Should we only have a women leader on these rides, or would participants be ok with a male leader - or a rota of ride leaders some male female. I'm only thinking we don't want to oblige our women members to be the only ones to take this on.
  • awavey wrote:
    It's because a massively high percentage of male club riders are really boring and stuck up their own backsides.

    ^^ this totally :) Im always reminded of the time a small group from a cycling club all kitted up, of about 5 blokes and 1 woman probably late 20s early 30s, so not just idiot teenagers, turned up at the pub I was at whilst I was quietly nursing a recovery drink of my own in the corner, and they were the loudest, most obnoxiously macho t**ts I think Ive ever encountered, I actually wondered if it was just some kind of extreme fancy dress stag/birthday weekend pub crawl thing (you know abit like the golf challenge pub crawl) and theyd just been pushing bikes around and actually been on Jagermeister vodka chasers all day.

    and you could, well I could anyway, see how uncomfortable it was for the woman in their group, who was just trying to fit in and laugh at the right moments so as not to stand out as a target for their male "banter", and she obviously had chosen to ride with that lot, but it didnt look like it was being alot of fun for her.

    and I know my reaction was sheesh if those are the kinds of muppets you could end up on club rides with, no thank you,

    Fair comment. That's not a club I'd want to join! And yes, there are plenty of t**ts out there. Guess I'd just say, there's also plenty of male cyclists who don't buy into that either and are looking to change things. Here's hoping!
  • cld531ccld531c Posts: 517
    I think women only rides are the way forward, but they dont necessarily have to be shorter and/or slower.
    I wouldnt join a mixed club at the moment as all the blokes I see out are wxnkers who want to race past you, cut you up and generally ride like a xxxx. If you have the gall to overtake I get the feeling they would rather push you into a hedge than allow you to get past. I also think doing slower/shorter female rides reinforces the opinion that men think we are slow/20p for the swearbox.
    I think a female leader would be good to start off with then maybe later a male leader if female not available.
    Where abouts are you based???
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Marianne Vos and a few others have kicked off a women-only cycling club(?)

    http://weownyellow.com

    Nice people too - offered to bandage up my gravel rash after an off in the Ardennes.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • TonyJamsTonyJams Posts: 214
    Looked at this a while ago having already helped make the (mostly male) club rides in a local club go from a handful of riders to a hundred
    1. Set up a Breeze ride, even if its only once a month. This is probably favourable to start with as you get all the women out together rather than a few different ones on each week. First saturday of the month is a good date
    2. Get a woman to be the point of contact. Sounds easy? It might not be - in my experience women that have progressed through male dominated cycling clubs aren't always the best at organising laid back easy going women only rides.
    3. Get weekly emails sent out to all the women to build a sense of community amongst them
    4. Register the ride on BC go ride site
    5. Set a standard on the ride listings - i.e. no hybrids. People will turn up that are soooo slow it will annoy the rest of the group, have an alternative group you can redirect them to, even if its not organised by your club
    6. Be consistent - if someone turns up and theres no one there they you probably wont see them again
    7. Have a progression funnel for the women that want to join the main (faster) club runs and evening 10s. but don't push this on anyone
    8. Stick £50 on FB ads for your town targeted to women who enjoy running or cycling as an interest. Have it go to a really good womens page on your club website
    9. The whole experience HAS to be fun.

    All the best and good luck, its definitely a worthwhile and rewarding venture.
  • JaymeJayme Posts: 48
    About 10 months ago, my club promoted a women only ride to try and get a few female riders in the club. From what I understand, it was successful (it was my first ride with the club). It was a longer ride than the normal club run (normal club run is 27-30 depending on route, this was just shy of 40), and had a mix of male and female ride leaders. On a nice day, there will be 120-150 people on a club ride, with maybe 35-40% female. Some of the groups are only women, some only men, most a mix.
  • cld531c wrote:
    I think women only rides are the way forward, but they dont necessarily have to be shorter and/or slower.
    I wouldnt join a mixed club at the moment as all the blokes I see out are wxnkers who want to race past you, cut you up and generally ride like a xxxx. If you have the gall to overtake I get the feeling they would rather push you into a hedge than allow you to get past. I also think doing slower/shorter female rides reinforces the opinion that men think we are slow/20p for the swearbox.
    I think a female leader would be good to start off with then maybe later a male leader if female not available.
    Where abouts are you based???
    Thanks. Based in Newcastle
  • TonyJams wrote:
    Looked at this a while ago having already helped make the (mostly male) club rides in a local club go from a handful of riders to a hundred
    1. Set up a Breeze ride, even if its only once a month. This is probably favourable to start with as you get all the women out together rather than a few different ones on each week. First saturday of the month is a good date
    2. Get a woman to be the point of contact. Sounds easy? It might not be - in my experience women that have progressed through male dominated cycling clubs aren't always the best at organising laid back easy going women only rides.
    3. Get weekly emails sent out to all the women to build a sense of community amongst them
    4. Register the ride on BC go ride site
    5. Set a standard on the ride listings - i.e. no hybrids. People will turn up that are soooo slow it will annoy the rest of the group, have an alternative group you can redirect them to, even if its not organised by your club
    6. Be consistent - if someone turns up and theres no one there they you probably wont see them again
    7. Have a progression funnel for the women that want to join the main (faster) club runs and evening 10s. but don't push this on anyone
    8. Stick £50 on FB ads for your town targeted to women who enjoy running or cycling as an interest. Have it go to a really good womens page on your club website
    9. The whole experience HAS to be fun.

    All the best and good luck, its definitely a worthwhile and rewarding venture.

    Thanks TonyJams, really helpful tips.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    The only problem with women only rides is that a lot of women I know don't want to ride with just women - they like a bit of a mix and bants.

    Doesn't mean that they want to hang with and bunch of twattty pseudo macho males, but going women only is a bit of a dead end. Fortunately due to where I work the women are generally confident enough to tell anyone when they are being a plank.

    Perhaps you could, behind the scenes, arrange for mixed rides but hand select the blokes who are going to go - i.e. Normal people, not the ones a single detailed above. Then when everything is settled open it to all.

    Above all, have a sense of humour and be prepared to be overly nice: I tend to wear a big smile and be really supportive even when inside frustration is building. It's all about being a good coach/instructor/leader/mentor - use all the skills you have to make people feel wanted, included and noticed, then your retention figures will grow and your reputation will grow, leading to more people turning up.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    The only problem with women only rides is that a lot of women I know don't want to ride with just women - they like a bit of a mix and bants.

    Doesn't mean that they want to hang with and bunch of twattty pseudo macho males, but going women only is a bit of a dead end. Fortunately due to where I work the women are generally confident enough to tell anyone when they are being a plank.

    Perhaps you could, behind the scenes, arrange for mixed rides but hand select the blokes who are going to go - i.e. Normal people, not the ones a single detailed above. Then when everything is settled open it to all.

    Above all, have a sense of humour and be prepared to be overly nice: I tend to wear a big smile and be really supportive even when inside frustration is building. It's all about being a good coach/instructor/leader/mentor - use all the skills you have to make people feel wanted, included and noticed, then your retention figures will grow and your reputation will grow, leading to more people turning up.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    So basically, sounds like 1) put women in charge, and 2) put more events on that women like

    The solution can't be to remove men from the equation, as though men the problem ('some men', like me, can of course be problematic). Don't get me wrong, I love the ladies. But I heard somewhere that they attract bears. It a conundrum.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    TonyJams wrote:
    Looked at this a while ago having already helped make the (mostly male) club rides in a local club go from a handful of riders to a hundred
    1. Set up a Breeze ride, even if its only once a month. This is probably favourable to start with as you get all the women out together rather than a few different ones on each week. First saturday of the month is a good date
    2. Get a woman to be the point of contact. Sounds easy? It might not be - in my experience women that have progressed through male dominated cycling clubs aren't always the best at organising laid back easy going women only rides.
    3. Get weekly emails sent out to all the women to build a sense of community amongst them
    4. Register the ride on BC go ride site
    5. Set a standard on the ride listings - i.e. no hybrids. People will turn up that are soooo slow it will annoy the rest of the group, have an alternative group you can redirect them to, even if its not organised by your club
    6. Be consistent - if someone turns up and theres no one there they you probably wont see them again
    7. Have a progression funnel for the women that want to join the main (faster) club runs and evening 10s. but don't push this on anyone
    8. Stick £50 on FB ads for your town targeted to women who enjoy running or cycling as an interest. Have it go to a really good womens page on your club website
    9. The whole experience HAS to be fun.

    All the best and good luck, its definitely a worthwhile and rewarding venture.

    "9. The whole experience HAS to be fun. "

    Definitely. But general point that might have been mentioned, fun means different things to different people. Don't assume that women want a bimbly ride. I reckon a similar proportion of women and men (from my totally unscientifically arrived at opinion) want to ride hard.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 10,654
    Men aren't the 'problem' per se - and 'clubs' aren't the problem per se, either - you only have to look at women's participation in tri clubs to see that. Most, if not all tri clubs are unisex and women are generally pretty well represented in terms of membership - but tri clubs are mostly about competition and so will attract women with that in mind.

    Women who 'only want to bimble about' will obviously hate being involved in a racing club with mostly male membership. That's not the fault of the incumbent males, incidentally - it just means that club is not right for them. Women who want to race will have less of an issue in joining such a club.

    Breeze rides go some way towards addressing the 'participation' issue, but it really isn't as simplistic as saying 'how to get more women involved' - because women, like men, all have different objectives and different expectations from their cycling. So a club with the right outlook and the right proposition will attract both genders if the appeal is accurately pitched.
  • cld531ccld531c Posts: 517
    "Women who 'only want to bimble about' will obviously hate being involved in a racing club with mostly male membership."

    So would men who 'only want to bimble about' I assume.
    There is a middle ground between popping to the shops and racing (by which I assume you mean entering races).

    Personally I would like to join a club where I was welcomed, not cut-up because an ego has to get infront and, most importantly, the members were curteous to all road users. Macc Wheelers it is then!
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 10,654
    cld531c wrote:
    "Women who 'only want to bimble about' will obviously hate being involved in a racing club with mostly male membership."

    So would men who 'only want to bimble about' I assume.

    Undoubtedly. But this thread is about getting women more involved, not men.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    cld531c wrote:
    "Women who 'only want to bimble about' will obviously hate being involved in a racing club with mostly male membership."

    So would men who 'only want to bimble about' I assume.
    There is a middle ground between popping to the shops and racing (by which I assume you mean entering races).

    Personally I would like to join a club where I was welcomed, not cut-up because an ego has to get infront and, most importantly, the members were curteous to all road users. Macc Wheelers it is then!

    I'm trying to think what people class as being "cut-up". Is it someone overtaking you and pulling in to the normal roadside position, but in front of you? Or are you talking about some kind of dangerous maneuver where you have to take evasive action? Not being funny, genuinely not sure about what you mean.
  • Imposter wrote:
    Women who 'only want to bimble about' will obviously hate being involved in a racing club with mostly male membership. That's not the fault of the incumbent males, incidentally - it just means that club is not right for them. Women who want to race will have less of an issue in joining such a club.

    Breeze rides go some way towards addressing the 'participation' issue, but it really isn't as simplistic as saying 'how to get more women involved' - because women, like men, all have different objectives and different expectations from their cycling. So a club with the right outlook and the right proposition will attract both genders if the appeal is accurately pitched.

    Thanks Imposter. It's really a key point that people will have different interests & objectives. What seems to be emerging from this thread is that organising some well planned women-only rides might provide a good way in to discovering those interests and objectives among some who haven't done much road cycling before.

    Some CCs can be pretty singleminded in their focus, but I think one of the benefits of a large club is it can support a diversity of interests. Our club has a racing group, and that's the focus of some of our youth coaching, but there's plenty who are more interested in just being out on the bike - some 'bimblers' definitely, some who prefer endurance/sportifs, and many who like the opportunity to go hard when they're feeling good, and have the option of an easier ride when they're not. I'd hope that new women members could find a place within those different activities/interests and help to shape future ones.
  • cld531c wrote:
    "

    Personally I would like to join a club where I was welcomed, not cut-up because an ego has to get infront and, most importantly, the members were curteous to all road users. Macc Wheelers it is then!

    Just looked at the Macc Wheelers site - useful in itself! V welcoming!. Lots of good useful info and variety of activities. chapeau!
  • cld531ccld531c Posts: 517
    Alex99 wrote:
    cld531c wrote:
    "Women who 'only want to bimble about' will obviously hate being involved in a racing club with mostly male membership."

    So would men who 'only want to bimble about' I assume.
    There is a middle ground between popping to the shops and racing (by which I assume you mean entering races).

    Personally I would like to join a club where I was welcomed, not cut-up because an ego has to get infront and, most importantly, the members were curteous to all road users. Macc Wheelers it is then!

    I'm trying to think what people class as being "cut-up". Is it someone overtaking you and pulling in to the normal roadside position, but in front of you? Or are you talking about some kind of dangerous maneuver where you have to take evasive action? Not being funny, genuinely not sure about what you mean.

    Im talking about overtaking and pulling in so you have to slam on your brakes (and legs when on fixed) to avoid a collision. Unfortunately not a rarity as there are some out there (I blame Wiggo not Wiggle) who feel as a man they have to overtake a woman even if their legs arent really up to it, hence the maneouvre!
  • cld531ccld531c Posts: 517
    Just looked at the Macc Wheelers site - useful in itself! V welcoming!. Lots of good useful info and variety of activities. chapeau![/quote]

    Rode with them circa 15 years ago and were a great club. Ive heard they still are. Yours sounds great, shame you are so far away. Best of luck, Im sure you'll do a great job!
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    cld531c wrote:
    Alex99 wrote:
    cld531c wrote:
    "Women who 'only want to bimble about' will obviously hate being involved in a racing club with mostly male membership."

    So would men who 'only want to bimble about' I assume.
    There is a middle ground between popping to the shops and racing (by which I assume you mean entering races).

    Personally I would like to join a club where I was welcomed, not cut-up because an ego has to get infront and, most importantly, the members were curteous to all road users. Macc Wheelers it is then!

    I'm trying to think what people class as being "cut-up". Is it someone overtaking you and pulling in to the normal roadside position, but in front of you? Or are you talking about some kind of dangerous maneuver where you have to take evasive action? Not being funny, genuinely not sure about what you mean.

    Im talking about overtaking and pulling in so you have to slam on your brakes (and legs when on fixed) to avoid a collision. Unfortunately not a rarity as there are some out there (I blame Wiggo not Wiggle) who feel as a man they have to overtake a woman even if their legs arent really up to it, hence the maneouvre!

    That does sound annoying for sure. Is it really that the person in question can't bear to have a female riding in front of them? It sounds odd that they would do this if they're so close to their limit that they have to slow down immediately upon overtaking. Do you pass them again soon afterwards?
  • cld531ccld531c Posts: 517
    Assuming it's a male female thing but it may just be me or the steel bike! Nah, can't be bothered as you know it would just keep happening. I either pull over til they've gone then go a different way at junction, turn off or if I'm feeling particularly evil half wheel til they turn off or have 'a mechanical issue''.
  • MoonbikerMoonbiker Posts: 1,706
    Make a facebook group & post up info for a weekly womens ride etc.


    I think getting "critical mass" is crucial once you get say a dozen women riding then probably alot more easy to encourage more, but if you have only one or very few, hard to get more. Just my theory. :roll:
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