At an event hosted at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in London, British Cycling set out ambitious plans to get one million more women riding bikes by 2020.
The new strategy, supported by Culture Secretary Maria Miller, and Sport England, covers getting more women into the sport at all levels from recreational riding and racing to volunteering and sitting on British Cycling’s Board.
The plan includes building on the success of Sky Ride and Breeze, campaigning for safer roads, creating more entry level racing opportunities for women and influencing more event organisers to put on women's events alongside those for me. Other measures in the pipeline include establishing a National Youth Forum with equal male and female representation.
There will be more jobs for women in cycling too - in the form of more female coaches, officials and volunteers too. British Cycling will ensure its work, website and output is appealing to women too.
British Cycling’s President, Brian Cookson OBE, said:
“At British Cycling, in partnership with Sky and Sport England, we have never been scared of a challenge, nor of setting ambitious targets. Whether it is winning eight gold medals at a home Olympics four years after the triumphs of Beijing, producing the first British winner of the Tour de France or getting a million people cycling, when we set ourselves goals, we set about them with seriousness and purpose. We are not saying we are going to be perfect, far less that we are perfect now. The direction of travel is important: our ultimate aim is to inspire one million more women to get on bikes and we are determined to make this happen.”
GB cycling team Olympian Jess Varnish said:
“If we can realise this ambition it will go a long way to refreshing cycling’s image so it is not seen as a sport only for men in Lycra. The best thing about cycling is that anyone can do it, and in whatever form they like. I’m looking forward to seeing more women riding bikes and, most importantly, enjoying every moment.”
Speaking at the event, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller, said:
“Cycling in Britain is in great shape after a fantastic London 2012, and it is fantastic that the sport wants to go further and get more women on their bikes. British Cycling’s plan shows that it is a sport that women can embrace at every level.”
British Cycling aims to build on the success of traffic-free, mass-participation events, Sky Ride, and British Cycling’s female led rides, Breeze, to encourage more women to take up recreation cycling with other women.