British Cycling hits target of one million more women on bikes by 2020
'Any sport needs those strong foundations with people regularly participating in their sport, so it's a really big deal for us'
By Ros Satar
Last Updated: 04/03/20 10:30am
British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington called the achievement of getting one million more women on bikes a 'momentous' milestone in the sport's development.
A cornerstone of the organisation's ongoing ambition was to reduce the historic gender gap within the sport.
British Cycling launched its women's strategy in 2013 to inspire one million more women to ride, race and be part of British Cycling by 2020.
"Back in 2013 there were probably about 525,000 women who told us that they cycle at least once a week. We set ourselves an ambitious target to get a million more women on their bikes by 2020," Harrington said.
"That's really important because any sport needs those strong foundations with people regularly participating in their sport, so it's a really big deal for us today."
Along with the headline figure of getting one million more women on bikes, the strategy also aimed to create opportunities to ride and race, develop a pathway that keeps women engaged, get more women running the sport, get more women involved in governing the sport and increase female membership.
Harrington said: "Only about 20 per cent of the licences we issue are for women versus men. That's grown significantly while we've had this programme of growth on, and we want to continue to grow that so that the number of women who are racing their bikes and enjoying competing in the sport, as well as enjoying riding recreationally and for fun is 50/50.
"Obviously gender parity is our ultimate aim. We know that from all the way through from the grass roots to top end of the sport that there's a slight disparity with the number of women who ride their bikes to men, and ultimately the work that we've done is to get that growth spurt and now we're aiming for gender parity."
British Cycling's strategy to get more women into the sport
|British Cycling introduced equal prize money across its men's and women's road series|
|British Cycling appointed its first female chief executive and now has a board made up of five male directors and seven females, surpassing the 2013 target of 25 per cent female board representation|
|Four out of seven of the organisation's discipline specific commissions has a female chair, with 20 per cent female representation across all commissions|
|British Cycling's flagship female participation programme, HSBC UK Breeze, has welcomed over 275,000 women onto its free, guided women-only rides|
|Female membership has grown from 9,500 to 29,000|
The UCI Track Cycling World Championships was pivotal for British Cycling to help athletes prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Harrington said: "It's an important race in the calendar for us because it's that last chance to experiment before the Olympics. Everything that we wanted to try, we tried. We broke some British records but also there were some world records smashed and it really does set a marker for Tokyo.
"Having those few months before Tokyo, it gives the opportunity for the riders and the coaches to come back, regroup and make any adjustments that they need to make to really peak in Tokyo."