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How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Mon May 29, 2017 22:36 pm
by andydr2wheels
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

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 09:38 am
by mamba80
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?

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 10:33 am
by Milemuncher1
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.

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 10:48 am
by meanredspider
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.

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 12:04 pm
by Slowbike
meanredspider wrote: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!)

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 20:24 pm
by Matthewfalle
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.

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Tue May 30, 2017 23:46 pm
by awavey
Matthewfalle 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,

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 09:51 am
by andydr2wheels
Milemuncher1 wrote: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.

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 10:04 am
by andydr2wheels
meanredspider wrote: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.

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 10:10 am
by andydr2wheels
awavey wrote:
Matthewfalle 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!

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 12:31 pm
by cld531c
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/crap.
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???

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 12:57 pm
by meanredspider
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.

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 16:49 pm
by TonyJams
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.

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 18:39 pm
by Jayme
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.

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 22:05 pm
by andydr2wheels
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/crap.
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

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 22:06 pm
by andydr2wheels
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.

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 07:37 am
by Matthewfalle
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.

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 08:04 am
by Alex99
Matthewfalle wrote: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.

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 08:12 am
by Alex99
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.

Re: How to promote womens participation in cycling clubs?

Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 08:19 am
by Alex99
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.