How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

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Imposter
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby Imposter » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:38 am

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.

cld531c
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby cld531c » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:31 pm

"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!

Imposter
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby Imposter » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:43 pm

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.

Alex99
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby Alex99 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 13:15 pm

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.

andydr2wheels
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby andydr2wheels » Thu Jun 01, 2017 13:40 pm

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.

andydr2wheels
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby andydr2wheels » Thu Jun 01, 2017 13:47 pm

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!

cld531c
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby cld531c » Thu Jun 01, 2017 13:50 pm

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!

cld531c
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby cld531c » Thu Jun 01, 2017 13:52 pm

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!

Alex99
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby Alex99 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 15:32 pm

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?

cld531c
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby cld531c » Thu Jun 01, 2017 16:05 pm

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''.

Moonbiker
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby Moonbiker » Thu Jun 01, 2017 23:16 pm

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:

cld531c
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby cld531c » Fri Jun 02, 2017 08:15 am

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:[/quote]

Think that's spot on

burnthesheep
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby burnthesheep » Fri Jun 02, 2017 17:55 pm

andydr2wheels wrote: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


I'm not a lady, but I've been trying to get my wife to join me and I've done some more social rides recently with good participation from men and women.

Now, this is in the US, so results may vary, but this is what I see working over here in the US:

1. The "core" of the group in the US often isn't the club of bike members itself, it is usually a brewery that hosts group rides and has a "team". It's fine to have a club or team without, but I would encourage engaging in a partnership with a local cycling friendly business. I suggest a restaurant, pub, coffee shop, or brewery that can host riders. They need to have an area for bikes, car park, etc... You get them to do a couple small things and hope it grows. Next thing you know there's a weekly no-drop ride with upwards of 50 people showing up.

2. Cater to the no-drop crowd for slower recreation riders AND faster recreation riders. If there is success with #1, split the group into a 10 mile maybe 12mph cruise and a 20 to 40 mile faster group.

3. Have a good active Facebook account for the group with accurate calendar and routine weekly events. Every week, same time, same sponsored brewery or restaurant. Be consistent. I've given up on a few things for poorly updated calendar of events, inconsistency. The one I do attend meets EVERY Weds at 630 except major holiday or thunderstorm.

4. Have at least one seasonal "event" with 2 distance options. Make a few of these "audax" style with checkpoint cards instead of timer events. Offer a unique thing to see/do at each checkpoint: try a beer here, sample a cheese here, a coffee there etc....

The key is the right mix of social, food/drink, and riding interest. Regardless of targeting men or women. The key, to me, of getting more of a gender to the group is Facebook networking of existing members posting photos of events. Linking friends to those events, etc.... Connecting the group to the sponsored shop, brewery, cafe on social media. Connecting with other smaller groups with social media.

I see this working great here in my city in the US. I live in a metro area of about 1 million people I know of about 5 very strong cycling meetup groups. 2 at local breweries, 2 at restaurants, and 1 at a bike shop. I don't count 2 others as it is a triathlon bike shop.

The mix of men and women in these is very good.

Milemuncher1
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby Milemuncher1 » Thu Jun 08, 2017 05:56 am

The main issue I encounter when I'm asked to try and encourage more women to ride, is trying to persuade groups of women to participate at the same time. The argument I hear more than any other, is that the women don't want to go it alone, "if A, B, and C, aren't doing it, I don't feel comfortable joining a group by myself, and I don't have the confidence to ride solo".

VitaminC
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby VitaminC » Thu Jun 08, 2017 14:29 pm

OK from a female perspective:

Our local (small) cycling club until recently only offered one weekend ride (approx 60 hilly miles at 16 MPH++) and a midweek ride evening. There are three groups. However, the groups are fast, faster and very fast and even the slowest group is 16/17 MPH + (it's quite hilly round here too). So not surprisingly the riders are mainly men.
The slowest ride is advertised as 'no-drop' but even so I don't want to be the sole person holding everyone else up.

My husband is a regular on these rides and he tells me there are two women but they are both strong competitive riders who train 5/6 days per week, so not your average hobby cyclist.

Recently the group started offering a women-specific ride and I have been going along. However, it tends to be the opposite end of the speed spectrum ie 20-25 miles at around 11/12 MPH, which I find too slow, although I have been sticking with it for the social side of things (I'm new to the area and want to meet people).

Left to my own devices, I tend to cycle at 14-15mph on hilly rides and 16.5 MPH on a shorter flatter ride (say 1000 feet of climbing over 25 miles). So I seem to fall in the gap of being too fast for the women's ride and too slow for the other club rides. I would like to push myself and improve but I'm not going to do that riding 20 miles at 12 MPH.

My observations of the women's group are:

- Tends to be mainly older women (40s/50s). Hardly any younger women, only one under 30. Not sure why?

- Lots of women don't seem to want to commit, ie they'll come once every 4 weeks and not cycle in between so don't improve. Whereas I think a man who joins a cycling club is more likely to be ambitious and want to improve/go faster.

- One problem is each week someone new turns up who is quite slow, doesn't have a good bike / the clip in shoes etc which slows the speed right down. Really the group needs to split into beginners / faster riders - and they need to be stricter about enforcing this. Obviously it's great to encourage new cyclists and everyone has to start somewhere but it's quite disheartening for the better riders when someone new turns up with a 20 year old steel bike and running shoes and you know this week's ride is going to be moving at 10 mph.

So I guess what I'd like to see as a woman is a club ride where there is a 'core' group who come along regularly and can improve together, do some decent length rides and challenging climbs at a decent speed but not too fast. Of course I think there should be rides for beginners but these should be separated out and perhaps new joiners should have to go on the beginners' ride first and only be allowed to progress to the faster ride once they have proved they are good enough.

JSBR
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby JSBR » Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:23 am

This is a really interesting discussion.

Like the other poster, I would love to find a women's ride with more experienced cyclists. Similarly, I find myself too fast for the standard women's rides locally and not fast enough for some of the men's club rides. The "Breeze" rides are a great idea, but just too basic for me.

I have found that there are several different types of women cyclists:

- women who would like to start cycling but are feeling incredibly self-conscious about how they look, the equipment they have and probably very nervous about starting something new, especially on their own.

Our local running club found a great solution to this by having regular 5-week courses (0 to 5km) where they start from the beginning with info on equipment, nutrition, training etc. This could be easily adapted to cycling. The people joining the course know that everyone else will be in the same situation, it is not a long-term committment, but just enough to see if it is for them or not.

- women who enjoy cycling but struggle to get away from home commitments - shoot me down if you want, but as far as I have witnessed, it is still more likely for the men to take off on their bike rides every weekend leaving the women at home to taxi the kids round to weekend activities. So, maybe a couple of women-led rides during school hours might attract some new members?

- Thirdly, the keen and fit cycling enthusiasts who are happy to join in the men's rides, but might enjoy some more challenging women-led rides

I would be very interested to hear what your club ends up doing.

Milemuncher1
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby Milemuncher1 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 23:58 pm

cld531c wrote: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''.


That's the best way to avoid unnecessary raised blood pressure for sure.

Milemuncher1
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby Milemuncher1 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 00:10 am

cld531c wrote:
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!


It's not just women this happens to. It's an irritating trait of lots of relatively inexperienced riders, who think they can pull a silly overtaking manoeuvre, only to suddenly realise that they were doing 30% less work whilst they were wheel sucking. I let them get in front, wear themselves out, then pass them at the next inevitable climb. Stravalabs Flyby feature is brilliant at showing who it was, and how quickly they blew up.

cld531c
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby cld531c » Tue Jun 13, 2017 14:35 pm

Milemuncher1 wrote:
cld531c wrote:
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!


It's not just women this happens to. It's an irritating trait of lots of relatively inexperienced riders, who think they can pull a silly overtaking manoeuvre, only to suddenly realise that they were doing 30% less work whilst they were wheel sucking. I let them get in front, wear themselves out, then pass them at the next inevitable climb. Stravalabs Flyby feature is brilliant at showing who it was, and how quickly they blew up.



At least it isnt just me!!

hjghg5
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Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Postby hjghg5 » Sun Jun 25, 2017 17:35 pm

My club has massively increased female membership/participation over the last few years but doesn't run women only rides. Most of the growth has come from the "social series" half day rides which are positioned as a more relaxed alternative to the traditional Sunday club runs. Lots of choice, leaders and back markers for each group (no group riding skills required so the groups tend to string out then stop to regroup), routes and cafe stops publicised in advance with ride reports posted afterwards so that people can get a feel for what the different options are like before taking the plunge. All the rides are mixed (although a good number of the ride leaders are female) but maybe closer to what some women want when starting riding with a club and not as daunting as the longer faster rides.

It also helps that we have a high profile female role model (Lizzie Deignan is an honorary club member) and the club's twitter/facebook feeds have lots of women's cycling news on it as a result.

From that some people have progressed to other groups/racing - we had a women's team in the national TTT last weekend for example and the women's club championships are sometimes more hotly contested than the men's (in the 50 TT next week there are three women and two men). I try to make sure that when I race I do a report for the website so that other people can see that it's an option and something they could try.


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