That’s the number of women in the UK who have begun riding bikes since 2013, thanks in large part to the efforts of British Cycling’s #WeRide initiative. The program was launched in response to the persistent gender gap that has long plagued the industry, with an initial goal of getting “one million more women cycling regularly by 2020.”
And if today’s report is any indication, they’re well on their way to succeeding.
Take a Ride with the Women’s Cycling Movement in the UK:
“People told us we were being too ambitious,” says Julie Harrington, CEO of British Cycling. “This itself was proof of the entrenched view of cycling as a sport for men.” Four years and hundreds of thousands of new cyclists later, however, she’s “pleased to say that the sport is in a different place.”
And the good news doesn’t stop there. According to the progress report, women have made significant gains in other areas as well, including:
- A 72% increase in women holding a racing license since 2013
- A 100% increase in in British Cycling’s female membership since 2013
- 500 clubs across Britain offering women-only sessions
- 150,000 female participants at Breeze Bike Rides (British Cycling’s own all-female program)
While the results thus far are certainly encouraging, Harrington is the first to acknowledge that there’s still a long way to go. “The biggest challenge we now have is persuading women to keep riding,” she says.
To help do just that, London police have recently gone undercover to implement what’s been dubbed the Space for Cyclists initiative. The program targets motorists who pass too closely to those on bike, and it’s already being hailed as a successful step in the right direction.
“Research shows that one of the main barriers preventing women from cycling is that they don’t feel safe on the roads,” says Dame Sarah Storey, British cyclist and Paralymic Gold Medalist. “It is crucial that politicians and decision makers…ensure that our roads are appealing, safe shared spaces.”
We couldn’t agree more. To find out how you can be a part of British Cycling’s #WeRide initiative, visit their homepage and show your support.