Ride Across Britain: Not just for men

Karl Holbrook is taking part in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain cycle ride. In his latest feature he speaks to the women leading the charge on this year's event.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 11th May 2016, 2:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2016, 3:50 pm
Karl Holbrook is taking part in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain.
Karl Holbrook is taking part in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain.

There is no doubt. The growth of cycling is unstoppable.

Every weekend, across the nation’s rolling countryside, there are more and more cyclists enjoying the lanes. But more often than not these weekend warriors look something like me – men of a certain age with our ample frames squeezed into Lycra on top of expensive racing bikes annoying motorists the length and breadth of the country.

There is even a name for us; we are a demographic – the much-mocked MAMIL (Middle-Aged-Men-In-Lycra).But despite the continued growth in cycling, women haven’t been as quick as blokes to catch the bug.

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Julian Mack, founder of Threshold Sports, which organises Deloitte Ride Across Britain, is keen to get more women on their bikes and thinks more can be done to break down the male-dominated ethos around the sport.

He said: “Traditionally, cycling challenges have been aimed at, and therefore have attracted, more men, roughly to an 80% / 20% ratio.

“Threshold Sports would love to be part of the campaign to get more women on the road. They are more collegiate, more considerate and they tend to have more respect for the recommended training programme.

“They don’t necessarily need women only cycling events to be coaxed on to the saddle, but we can, as event organisers, work harder to deconstruct the myths of cycling to make it more female friendly.”

Deloitte, sponsor of the ride, has also launched an initiative to encourage more female employees to take part. Their 2016 Deloitte Ride Across Britain team is now 57% female – the highest it has ever been.

Today a host of women who are taking part in this year’s event tell us what drew them to such a big challenge...