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Three-quarters of a million more women cycling since 2013

Joe Robinson
26 Jul 2017

British Cycling closes in on its target of one million women cyclists by 2020

Latest figures from British Cycling show that women's cycling has grown massively since 2013, with 723,000 new riders in the past four years. 

With three times as many male cyclists as female in 2013, British Cycling established the #WeRide initiative which aimed to have one million new women cyclists by 2020. 

The scheme looked to inspire women to take up cycling, in all forms, and give them opportunities to become involved in the sport. 

Besides the three-quarters of a million new cyclists, women's cycling has seen itself grow more broadly. 

Around 500 clubs around the county now offer women-only sessions whilst female race licence holders are up 72%. In addition, British Cycling female membership has doubled. 

This dramatic rise in female cyclists definitely shows correlation with the increased success and profile of British women elite riders. With ten Olympic and Paralympic cycling golds at Rio 2016 and 20 world titles since 2013, it is undeniable that the spotlight upon the likes of Laura Kenny and Dame Sarah Storey have boosted its appeal.

Despite the fact in recent months the perception of female cycling has been slightly marred - particularly through the dismissal of coach Shane Sutton over abusive comments to women's sprinter Jess Varnish - it is clear women's cycling has been on an upward spiral of success.  

Yet, whilst this success is being celebrated, multi-Paralympic champion Dame Sarah Storey believes the key to getting more women on the road is increasing road safety.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Storey highlighted that road safety is one of the 'main barriers preventing women from cycling.'

'It is crucial that politicians and decision makers take on board safety concerns, and ensure that our roads are appealing, safe shared spaces that can be used conveniently by all road users, regardless of their chosen method of transport.'

As Storey offered advice on how to reach the one million target, British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington remarked at how ambitious this original target was. 

'We were almost laughed out of the room. This itself was proof of the entrenched view of cycling as a sport for men' said Harrington.

'Four years on, I am pleased to say that the sport is in a different place,' adding 'This isn't something we can tackle alone - we'll need the support of sports bodies, cycling and transport organisations, national and local government, and the media. But we are determined to crack it.'

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