CT Publisher Wade Wallace and Ella Editor Anne-Marije Rook
  • Steve

    Keep up the good work. Awesome publication.

  • Steve

    Keep up the good work. Awesome publication.

  • Jamie Morton

    Thanks for providing such a great source for us to read about women’s cycling! As a female cyclist, it’s inspiring to see stories like mine represented on CyclingTips.

  • darrindg

    I enjoy the Ella sections just as much as the Cycling Tips ones – keep it up!

  • Mel

    Thanks for taking the gamble and creating Ella. Look forward to seeing the continued growth of Ella in the future and reading more great articles!! To the hard working editors and other contributors, keep it up!

  • pedr09

    I think Ella is great and love reading the articles here. There’s always a few gems in there that you don’t get in CT articles and I think it’s the women’s perspective that provides that.

  • Oldan Slo

    Thanks for the background info. Good luck finding a way to get women to support women’s cycling.

  • xponti

    What is most disappointing about this article is no.5. I hope that all the males (and females) reading this who DO appreciate the female content and comments, jump all over those that abuse and are agressive. Ladies, please dont be silent on the comments, it’s your comments that help to make this site and cycling tips what it is. #Iridewithyou #Icommentwithyou

  • Heather Nelson

    Thank you for stepping to to the need!! You are appreciated! :D

  • Mark Blackwell

    Nice work people. I’m a male fan of any type of cycling and I have a sneaking suspicion that a tipping point in women’s cycling has been reached… there (seem to be?) just enough women out riding bikes that it’s possible for other women to join in without feeling too intimidated. It’s hard enough as a bloke to overcome a certain amount of snobbery/elitism and jump into a local bunch, and I imagine doubly so as a woman… but it seems that female participation is growing in spades and Ella is early on the beat.

    Given the comments above, I do wonder why Ella remains separated into its own sub-domain. I’m an avid reader of Cycling Tips and read almost everything here, but sometimes miss good content on Ella that is relevant and interesting to men also (hat tip to the writers).

    • We get asked about why Ella has been separated into it’s own domain frequently. I want Ella to be a friendly place for women, and that does not work as effectively (as I’ve already discovered and proven by the comments) when mixed with men. We are also trying to appeal to the female audience by approaching things in a slightly different way. Subtle, but different. There are also heaps of women’s issues and topics that don’t necessarily mix in well with articles about doping, UCI politics, etc that exist on the main CT site.

      I’m still happy with the decision to separate Ella and CT into two identities and believe we made the right choice.

      • jules

        I don’t get the aggressive comments towards women’s article and authors. I’ve noticed it too. Without wanting to start a big debate, this has been an issue on a broader stage than just Ella. People (men) need to just chill out and accept it for what it is – they don’t need to react angrily to an article that doesn’t resonate with them.

        Women’s cycling has certainly taken off in some areas. But at risk of being patronising, my impression is they don’t tend to connect to the sport/activity in the same way as men tend to. They don’t necessarily get as excited about elite competition, although many certainly do. I don’t have any real answers for how to cover women’s cycling but I know that cycling should be – and mostly is – an inclusive community. I hope Ella continues to grow.

        • Neil

          We are a bunch of opinionated loudmouths. Sad, but true.

        • ummm…

          I think that the “Aggressive” comments towards Ella, and by aggressive you may mean opinionated (which is the right of anybody no matter gender race etc.) has to do with the juxtaposition of womens cycling as a separate animal to mens cycling. We give lip service to inclusivity as we practice exclusivity. And many times the lack of female perspectives or “safe spaces” is theorized to be a knock on affect of male dominance and not female disinterest – males being the primary readership of Ella cannot go unnoticed. Women have the “safe space” from the gaze of the “aggressive” male yet they arne’t coming. It is a self perpetuating problem that is rectified on the road and not on the internet. I see women on the road all the time where I’m at. It is great. In fact I dont even notice they are women. I notice they are fellow cyclists. It just feels as if Ella is being asked to be a social movement that has it beliefs firmly set in the myth of the perpetually offending male, and is trying to do the REAL WORK of putting the word out there that women are on bikes and you can come here to read about it. I’m all for the latter, but the former is what sometimes is used to attract the readership, that attracts the ads, that attract the dollars,

      • krashdavage

        Why not block men from Ella comments?

        • jules

          baby, bathwater

          • krashdavage

            Agree but it works for Fernwood. Just leaves moderators with more work to do. Clearly those commenting and supporting here don’t need blocking

            • jules

              it’s pretty difficult to selectively block people on the internet. the nature of the web makes identifying them difficult.

            • In all seriousness, we don’t necessarily block all male commenters. That would go against the big picture of what we’re trying to achieve. In a practical sense, we don’t even know the gender of a name such as “krashdavage” (even though I know in this instance).

              • ummm…

                “we dont necessarily want to block all male commenters” This statement should have not been said in such a diminutive manner. It gets increasingly difficult to back the equal but separate motivation when such ideas aren’t firmly rebuked. Why is it that male cycling is just CYCLING; while women on bikes is FEMALE CYCLING or ELLA and completely defined in juxtaposition to men? That really sets a negative tone, not a positive one and is just as cynical as my sometimes criticism of the site. It is the exclusivity and gender preference of ELLA, while CT has none, that can offend. Is that not a simple point. I run group A and everyone can join no matter race, gender, religion – albeit new subgroups from under my group over time as more people gain confidence to call themselves part of group A; Group B defines itself as only one gender and uses a tenuous argument about gender relations to exclude all men based upon perceived offenses by virtue of anatomy. THAT IS WHAT IS OFFENSIVE, that there is a mythology of male transgression that spurned the need for a “Safe space”. When immigrants assimilate into a country (which isn’t to say women are ONLY NOW becoming cyclists – the idea that women weren’t always is ridiculous) they dont say, we need to start a new government or we aren’t safe – they say lets take chances and learn and make this country our own and in our image.

        • jules

          baby, bathwater

        • We can’t block Jules!

          • jules

            they’ve tried and my lawyers had a lot to say ;)

            • Cameron Harris

              Are you The Secret Jonathan Vaughters?

        • ummm…

          that is a scary suggestion and really serves to undercut anything that Ella is trying to achieve. Really sad.

          • krashdavage

            Scary? That’s a very emotive word. I’m not saying I want that but merely offering a suggestion. A discussion point. If male commenters are scaring away women from commenting and discussing things on the Ella site, I’d say that is also undercutting part of what Ella is trying to achieve no? Disclosure: I am a bloke. I ride. My wife rides but does not read Ella (nor Cyclingtips) and I think Ella is great.

            • ummm…

              I think Ella has great content except the articles that uphold the aggressive male mythology i.e. How to find a female friendly bike shop. Life is full of comfortable and uncomfortable situations. Make them your own. Being a female doesn’t excuse one from confronting that reality, but it appears the answer has been to create a “separate but equal” ecosystem – as if genetalia decided what sort of cyclist you are. That isn’t good for anybody. GROWN Women should NOT be intimidated by men. Look around CT. Where are the aggressive males frothing at the mouth. I’d go so far as to say if we found one, then he would be a problem for not just women but men as well. I can’t wait for the day when everyone is a cyclist and not a woman or man cycling. I can’t wait for the day when women are not offered a safe space to exist “like a woman”. I can’t wait for the day that women demand and pursue the ideals that feminism has fought for. Inclusiveness, equality etc. (well at least prior to 3rd wave feminism). I’m male and biracial etc etc. When I feel othered, I dont decide to run to my safe space. I make room for myself where I want to. I dont take my ball and play on another field. “Womens” cycling is by and large a marketing ploy. And what is funny is that STILL more men are converging upon it, as they are the primary demo. Maybe the problem isn’t faux gender wars.

  • Marika

    Keep up the great work and wonderful content it is appreciated and enjoyed! There will always be those who are negative and discouraging but don’t let that drown out the voices of those that appreciate your efforts and look forward to seeing Ella grow.

  • Anna

    Piping up from my regular silent lurking presence to say THANKS for the huge effort your are making with Ella. And thanks for sharing some of the tribulations and difficulties – it adds to our appreciation of the determination and tenacity required to start and then keep delivering the very high quality content and reader experience that you have created here. Keep pushing forward. We’re with you!

    • Thanks Anna!

    • ummm…

      Hi Anna. I think Ella’s comment is as first rate as CT main. However, may I ask you what Ella provides for you and why this couldnt be done under one genderless umbrella, albeit with articles of differing interests all next to each other. Do you consider yourself a cyclist or female cyclist? Best and be safe out there.

  • VeloG

    Keep up the good work, it is great to see someone putting their money and time into women’s cycling. It is always a good read.

  • Gordon Haywood

    Yeah I’m a bloke, yeah I support women in cycling. Bit confused about why there is a separation but I don’t buy in to the politix. I love to ride, will ride with anyone and everyone. On the road girls provide a different and refreshing perspective to a group ride. If I don’t read Ella I feel like I’m missing out on the great content. Keep up the great work

    • Hey Gordon, thanks for the feedback. With regards to the separation of sections, see my comment above.

      • Gordon Haywood

        Thanks Wade. Fully agree with you re Ella. was referring to the broader separation. Understand the issues with media and audience. Frustrated not to be able to follow Strada Bianche live on TV/live video feed. Made do with Boels tweets, which was great but not the same. Thanks for posting RAI 1 30 mins

    • ummm…

      yeah the separation is really difficult for me to comes to grip with. I love the content and the desire to include female voices and in some cases female specific issues, but can’t get over the exclusivity of when it is defined in juxtiposition to “male” cycling and the mythology of male aggression.

  • David Bonnett

    Thanks for sticking with it – too often people expect success in a quarter or sooner. Ella covers a lot of topics that appeal to more than “just” the female riders and I really enjoy every article.

  • Coach

    I’m going to say thanks CTips for Ella. Womens cycling really needs this in Australia. Women really need the flow of content here, and they need to feel normal and part of cycling. They also need something to aspire to. Please, please keep it up.

    • ummm…

      Does Ella make itself outdated when women are more comfortable in the racing community? Is that even Ella’s goal? Is there a “womens” cycling or just “womens” racing? Were women unable to “aspire” to anything on a bike prior to Ella or does Ella only serve as a gateway towards the larger genderless and inclusive community?

      • To me, I think a good story is a good story. No matter if it’s a woman, man, dog, cat, etc. Racing makes great stories. But there’s much more to cycling than just racing. There are also many female specific issues that Ella talks about (such as performance during menstrual cycle http://cyclingtips.com/2015/11/can-your-period-affect-your-performance/) that we want to write for women and have dialogue with other women about. I think we have to acknowledge that there are differences between men and women and embrace that instead of only writing about genderless topics.

        • ummm…

          Oh I agree whole heatedly and I WILL be reading that article about the menstrual cycle. While that isn’t primarily for me, that is still very interesting – and as far as women are concerned a very appropriate topic. However, Im not sure it needs to be separate. Afterall I have an interest in that as well. We pretend as if there are “female” cycling issues but not “male” cycling issues. How can that be? Where is the obligatory blurb on lower sperm counts etc? I’m sure it is somewhere, but doesn’t pander – if thats the right word.

          I think Ella gives great voice and perspective to and from women. IT IS NEEDED. I’m not sure it needs to advertise itself as a “safe space” or be separate at all. But this is an editorial decision and sometimes things are about dollars and cents. I just dont feel that women should be made to feel othered, even if it is by other women. I want women to not see themselves as women cyclists but just cyclists. Why should I care? Is my protest an example of the aggressive male? No, because in the Modus operandi of Ella there is a bit of the mythology of the aggressive male and needing a safe space. How does that move the ball forward?

          It really sucks that I can’t help myself from repeating the same critique, and it is a bit more upsetting that I’m not being engaged by women commentors. And that could be the problem; The idea that my criticism in and of itself is an offense, and not seen as a desire that women do not cower in the corner but stand in the center of the room and say, “Listen, this is my community too. Yeah I may have some articles and issues that are more directed towards me, but I am part of this community and I wont be othered. I wont allow myself to justify separation by setting up a straw man.”

          Anyhow be well Wade and Co. I honestly feel no separation from women when I’m on the road, the only time I feel it is when I come here. We can’t have it both ways, either I’m invited or I’m not. Either we are equal or we are not.

          • Alex L

            Continuously posting online under a pseudonym trying to push a tired point could be conceived as a little aggressive, if not just plain annoying.

            Ella is separate but it’s not. The main articles are still linked on the main site, and you always have the option to jump over to the Ella site and read the content there. Wade explained the reasoning behind that decision above. Perhaps it will change in the future, but Ella is still a relatively new site.

            If you don’t feel the need for a ‘safe space’, it’s probably not aimed at you.

            • ummm…

              Alex L? Thanks for tearing back the veil on your true identity. I feel like I know you now since you are so transparent. Am I pushing a tired point or am I debating an important subject; one that was prompted by this article and the editors, and one that brings validity to Ella in as much as Ella exists in large part because of such dialogue? If you read to what I’m saying, which isn’t at all anti woman and has more to do with optics, you’d find that my objection is to exactly what you are practicing; this sort of safe space mentality in light of opposing opinions – or outgroup voices. When we visit political sites or interact with the general world there is no presumption that differing opinions are offensive just by their utterance. Unfortunately here, in your mind, a differing opinion is. I’m an advocate of women and men but have a different approach. My approach demands inclusivity and not othering. I find nothing amiss with 99% of Ella content. I would defend this as the best news etc. cycling site on the web.

              If I was here bashing women, complaining that just the existence of a women’s site was offensive to me, abusing commentors, then I’d have to be put in my place. However, I am not. I am here because I am genuinely curious about why this site is and interact with women to understand the comfort it brings or voice it empowers – and how it may be uniquely situated to do so. I’m not some b00b behind a computer playing with action figures; I took interest in the subject at an early age, into university, read about it afterwards, and still attend the odd lecture. I am not a troll, I am just working through the dialogue with the same vigor and care that I hope that you are.

  • alicatado

    Congratulations Ella team for the site and the award, well deserved. I’d like to see more Ella articles highlighted on the main site. Also, I’ve found that women are thirsty for knowledge – more tips in Ella please! There are many inclusive groups in cycling. It’s a matter of finding them. Unfortunately comments sections, even of female directed websites, are not always representative,

  • Tim

    I read both Cycling tips and Ella. Cycling as a lifestyle has so many angles. To capture its essence requires a feminine and masculine approach. I hope to be able to continue enjoying the benefits of both sites.

  • boalio

    Great work. Keep it up!

    Why is it that women’s racing coverage attracts a predominately male audience? Is it because of the way it’s marketed and covered, or are women less interested in watching racing?

    • I’m not sure I know the answer to that Boalio. I assume simply because there are more males into the sport, and many more who don’t participate but still watch.

    • Dave

      It would also be interesting to compare the M/F proportions of the audience for men’s racing and women’s racing, and then see how it compares to other sports.

      This summer, women represented a higher proportion of the BBL audience than they did of the WBBL audience in its first year, both on TV and attending the matches,. I would not be surprised if the same effect is even more pronounced across a broad sample of cycling events, cycling being an even more ‘nerdy’ sport than cricket and also having a much wider gap between the level of men’s and women’s competition.

      Having a strong male interest in women’s events is a good thing for sports where the women’s events are not viable without cross-subsidy. However, it should be possible to have a strong level of male interest and also a slightly stronger proportion of female interest than would apply to the men’s races.

      The biggest thing that could be done to change this and convert more women into dedicated fans, in my opinion, would be for women’s cycling to take itself more seriously. There will always be a fairly significant performance gap, but the perception of that gap will be exaggerated so long as there is such a vast difference in the distance and quality of the races. If the top women were to, for example, contest this year’s La Course on the route of TdF stage 12 they would get far more respect than they would from another glorified crit, because the feat of racing to the top of Mont Ventoux would be impressive enough in its own right even if they did it 10-15 minutes slower.

  • Pete23

    Wow, number 5 is pretty sad. I guess some guys are so used to everything being aimed at them that when they come across something that obviously isn’t written specifically with them in mind they can’t handle it. Keep up the good work Wade, you’re killing it!

  • Jeanine Laudy

    Your reactions are heart-warming! I’ve only just joined Ella as a reporter and will try to help overcome the issues raised by Wade and I’ll continue to create great content for this wonderful website, one that’s very much appreciated in the Netherlands too! A big thank you to CyclingTips and Wade for giving us the opportunity to let Ella grow, slowly but steadily.

    • ummm…

      Good luck Jeanine! Would you rather have an all inclusive site, or the current cut out of Ella? What does Ella mean to you? Please read my comments re: this article below. I am very curious to hear your thoughts.

  • mt

    Nailed it Wade!..”Get a woman hooked on cycling”.. and you’ll probably also get the whole family involved! Well done and keep up the great work… failure is not an option, because you’ve achieved so much already.

  • Cameron Harris

    10 things. You forgot listicles. ?

  • I think all of us would agree that starting Ella must have been a challenging experience. But kudos to the entire team for sticking with it and to continue delivering splendid content. Good luck for a brighter future.

    • And it’s still and ongoing challenge. I don’t mean to imply that we have it all figured out. Far from it.

      • Surely but with the relentless passion of your team, I hope and believe that you’ll make it sustainable.

  • Will

    As a male reader, I tend to read the women’s’ race results as much as the men’s. The pieces from Chloe Hoskings and other similar pieces have been excellent and I hope they continue. You’re doing a fantastic job and wish you all the best as you develop it.

  • ummm…

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot through my criticism to say, CONGRATS ELLA! No matter the optics of this site, the content is fantastic. Good show.

  • ech0ech0

    You all are awesome and are doing the best work on women’s cycling on the web. I am so appreciative of the coverage and articles you post, especially those with info from Dr. Sims!

  • Dave B

    great post Wade. Well done, i am sure this will serve a great read and insight for other industries and publications as well.

  • Meredith Miller

    A massive congrats should also go to Jessi Braverman who essentially gave birth to Ella. Her terrific imagination conceived the name “Ella”, she was one of the mastermind’s behind building the look and feel of Ella, her vision helped create the following that Ella has today, and for a year she put her heart and soul into producing content (from herself and the contributors that Ella hired) that not only women would be excited to read but men too. She simply shouldn’t be missed as part of the group from Ella receiving the well-deserved accolades.

    • Thanks Meredith. Jessi’s hard work, imagination and passion should definitely be acknowledged and thanked. She was an instrumental part of getting this started and much of it still stands.

  • Durian Rider

    Companies are best to focus on the weight loss benefits that cycling can provide women vs pouring money into pro teams whose main audience is also men actually. Lets be honest, bike companies only sponsor teams with the hope they will sell more bikes.

    I used to watch womens racing when I was racing in Belgium and it was mostly men watching and the girls who were serious about riding were in the race itself. Unlike Netball where its mostly females in the stadium as its a female dominated sport.

    My gf Freelee has never raced in her life and only done a few proper bunch rides but she would single handedly sell more road bikes than any women on the planet I reckon and she isnt even sponsored nor wants to be.

    Cycling is ran by old skool crew at the moment who think social media is just new age fluff but yet they drop coin on riders who nobody even cares about on social media and social media is the most powerful tool any company can have in 2016.

    I weekly decline sponsorship as I want all my opinions 100% non biased and authentic but have no problem with others using their social media platforms to attract what they want.

    Im also a bike hoarder so the thought of being locked into 1 brand when I own 10 different brands just seems to take the spirit of cycling away from me.

    Getting back on topic I would say 99% of girls who race bikes do it for weight loss and they don’t really care about the politics etc as much as ‘How do I look good in lycra!’ haha.

    Star riders like Vos wouldnt bring many girls into cycling as women naturally have lower testosterone levels therefore the drive to compete is a lot lower. Id say 95% of her fans are male as we find it intriguing and appealing how fast and strong she can ride.

    A slim girl with a strong non purchased social media following though who says ‘I love my bike, helps keep me slim and trim’ will grab INSTANT attention in 100% of their non cycling followers and now these noob girls see cycling not as a sport but as a weight loss tool and like WW said ‘Get a woman hooked on cycling and she will have a fire burning in her belly a hundred times hotter than anyone I’ve ever met.’ I 100% agree with.

    • alicatado

      ‘99% of girls who race do it for weight loss’ citation needed! Plus grossly offensive.

      • Durian Rider

        You are going to wait for a university study before you can believe a common fact? xD

        If you can find me a cyclist who HONESTLY doesnt care about their weight or aesthetics then I would like to meet them. In over 350000km Ive cycled as a lean vegan Ive never met one person who asked me ‘how can I get more fat and slow looking??”

        If the truth is offensive then Id recommend a #realitycheck.

        Ive over 21000 unanswered questions on my tumblr. Id put my life on it that 95% of them are weight loss motivated.

        • alicatado

          Gross generalisations coming from a single male do not constitute truth, even on the Internet. I suggest you ask a few women racers the right question, because funnily enough ‘do you like being an oompa-loompa’ and ‘why do you like racing’ are not actually the same.
          PS ‘girls’ especially used in the context of blatant stereotyping is offensive. It’s not up to you to decide what is offensive. PPS Wade, why don’t women participate more in the comments section? Answer: see above.

          • Dave

            For anyone who’s ever met Freelee, the posts above explain a lot.

          • Durian Rider

            Lets just agree to disagree on that one. Get back to me after you have spent more time training/eating/talking/partying and having OTR chats with total noobs and total pros. Thousands of them. Literally.

            • alicatado

              You make no sense. And have made no contribution to the discussion except to prove Wade’s point that some males ruin the experience for those that this site is directed at.

          • Durian Rider

            No need to get offended Alica. It is the internet after all and peoples opinions will naturally differ. If I got offended by everything I read on the hate machine that the internet often is, Id topped my self 10 years ago haha :)

            Rest assured I coach more female cyclists than you ever have and bring more new women into the sport than you ever will so don’t think guys like me turn women off cycling because I have a strong opinion that was developed from helping thousands of noobs get into cycling over the last 20 years. 99% of which my time was given for free. Im not sure you can call me a misogynist as most of the people that stop me on the street for a selfie are 16-25 year old females.

            100% of the girls that come to my 3 week FREE training camp in Chiang Mai this year all want to drop weight or continue staying greyhound lean. You should join us and see what I mean.

    • Alex L

      Most insightful DR. Only moderately less offensive and kooky than your usual content.

      • Durian Rider

        Thanks mate.

        You are right. I definitely don’t get stopped on the street each day for selfies because Im mainstream and PC. ;)

  • lulu

    I used to read cycling tips, and then when Ella launched i pretty much just read that content now. Love having a ladies perspective, and reading in way more detail than we ever got about the pro ladies, the lady kit, the lady riding in general. Fantastic job. I generally only dip in and out of comments as i can’t stand getting into some argument with someone who hasn’t lived my life. Keep up the great work. Can’t wait to see more.

    • ummm…

      What sort of arguments do you find yourself being upset by? I’d like to know as my comments here have sometimes attracted hostility as my perspective is more nuanced. Please read my comments here if you can and let me know what you think. Best, be safe.

  • Melissa Clarke

    Sadly, I’m not at all surprised to read that comments by some men on Ella are more aggressive and chauvinistic than on CyclingTips. CT is not alone in that regard, it is standard in the online world. Whilst I’m agnostic on the issue of having a separate space for womens’ content (as long as it’s there, I don’t mind what banner it comes under), I do care that women are not engaged, or put off from, contributing to the online community. Everyone loses when a significant sector of the cycling community becomes disengaged.

    There is a problem with small number of – mostly anonymous – chauvinistic men who clearly have too much spare time to bait, pick fights, harass others and sometimes abuse others. Unfortunately, their effect outweighs their numbers. I’m not sure much can be done about them, other than to ignore their bile. They’re not worth anyone’s time.

    The other issue is the few who may unwittingly put off women from contributing to CT/Ella because of their aggression. Some people relish getting stuck into a feisty debate. Many don’t. Try to judge that before launching into a tirade. Appreciate that sometime people (men and women) just want to chat or raise a point, not argue a case. Understand that women are wary about wading into public forums because they risk a backlash that most men will never have to contemplate. (Don’t believe me? Look at the twitter mentions for any woman who mentions the topic of gender and start counting the violent threats.)

    In short: Don’t hold back on your opinions. Just don’t be a douchebag about it.

    And to the vast majority of you who contribute to making CyclingTips and Ella the fabulous forum that it is – thank-you and keep up the good work!

  • alex

    I love Ella – read it everyday and super helpful to make you part of a women’s cycling community. I just wish that it was easier to find the content on the main Cycling Tips site. Sometimes things are referred to, but sometimes they aren’t included in the Daily News Digest. It would be good so that everyone sees everything that is going on.

  • wheel women

    I was interested in Wades comments…what would a man have to say about running a website predominantly for women? I’m not sure I agree with everything and maybe there is a skewed perspective that is not inclusive of the more everyday cyclist….there seems to be a focus at the pointy end in my opinion.
    As a woman who runs a cycling website for women, this is what I think…read my response to Wade.

  • Ian Frakes

    Wish I could get my girls to cycle, I’ve forwarded them lots of articles from Ella.

  • Alex

    Why give women ‘their own’ this or that?… Well, here’s my perspective, for what it’s worth, coming from a 65yr old woman who only got into club (road) cycling 3 years ago, having been a recreational loner on a heavy hybrid before that. Living in a beautiful rural part of the U.K., I longed to explore further than the surrounding 10 miles but was too slow to get far in the time available. The transformation into an enthusiastic club member is mainly due to the encouragement and wisdom of my brother, who lives 400 miles away but, mainly down the phone, gave me advice, found me a fabulous 2nd hand carbon fibre road bike and urged me to look for a friendly club with social rides. Not only did I find a great club that has a complete mix of riders but it has a women-only Sunday ride and its here my confidence has developed to the point I’ve even taken part in (a few) club TTs, done a number of 100km sportives and had more joy and fun than I could believe. What I believe is that for younger, fitter, more competitive women, there might be less need for separate ‘facilities’, be they magazines or clubs; but, if cycling is to be thoroughly inclusive, it needs to reach the wider world of women, who need gentle coaxing and encouragement to explore what they can do.

    At the risk of making this too long, I’d add that as soon as any Forum discussions descend into childish name-calling and expletives, I’m out of there! Differences of opinion are interesting to read, but bullying rudeness is just that and resorting to it is where I believe many women just choose to walk away. I know plenty of men just see it as a harmless, manly way to go on but it’s not seen that way by most women – and that’s just one of the many ways we’re different (but not less equal!).

    That’s me done, other than to say I love reading both Cycling Tips and Ella – keep up the good work guys!

    • ummm…

      Alex; An thoughtful and needed perspective. If you have a moment, please read my comments and let me know what you think of them. I think it is wonderful that you were able to find a comfortable balance for yourself. I think your point re: younger woman and their place in the conversation is thought provoking. Thank you for your comment. Best, be safe.

  • Andge

    I love Ella from all the way up here in Canada!! Keep up the awesome work. I really love the training tips.

  • Roger That

    Congrats Ella. Vive la différence!

  • Possible

    Congratulations on the award, getting anything off the ground to a sustainable and then to profitable level is major work, I’m glad it’s being recognised. I am a cyclist, female, and I’ve browsed both Ella and CT, as well as other cycling sites (e.g. the climbing cyclist, wheel women, etc). I don’t read every article, and I don’t usually post to discussions.
    This is a fascinating discussion on whether women’s cycling should be separated, with a few glaring assumptions and “unknowns”, so I thought I would contribute.
    Philosophically I’m opposed to segregation, but I have come to recognise that some imbalances are most effectively addressed by an artificial boost initially. Perhaps this cartoon below about equality v equity illustrates it best http://i2.wp.com/interactioninstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/IISC_EqualityEquity.png?zoom=2&resize=730%2C547.
    So is there an inequity affecting women in cycling? Leaving aside the elite end of the sport (where the answer has been agreed to be”yes” – less competition, less dollars), the numbers say yes. Figures from Bike Network put the number of female cyclists as about 25% of the cycling community. And while the number of female cyclists is increasing, the numbers are not increasing as quickly as in the male population, so the ratio is actually decreasing. So why are women less likely to take up cycling when it’s such a great activity (you can see I’m hooked!)?
    I don’t know of a definitive answer, but the assumption that a woman will pursue an objective in the same way a man would could account for some of the confusion and resentment demonstrated in some of the discussion. Women I know have given the reasons they don’t think cycling is for them: I won’t be safe on the roads, I’m not going to wear lycra, you have to be really fit to cycle, I couldn’t do it, I don’t have a bike, I don’t know how to start. These responses seem to highlight a couple of points of difference. I’m suggesting that most women are more risk averse than most men, that women are more likely to need help / mentoring / guidance to make a start, and that some cycling practices (I mean lycra) discourage women from identifying as part of the cycling community. I also think but can’t demonstrate that the underlying competitive bias in cycling is unattractive to many women starting out.
    My personal experience has been mainly positive, I’ve had many encouraging comments from male (and even some female) cyclists, even when struggling up the 1:20 – thanks to all. In my 7 years cycling I’ve never had a negative one. However I’ve ridden most of the time on my own, because I hadn’t known of a group that rode at my speed – which was sub 20kph until relatively recently. More commitment from me plus a couple of skills sessions have really changed my riding.
    The real “gap in the market” is for riders who are starting out, don’t know routes, don’t understand the protocols, don’t have the skills, and ride slower the “20-25kph” or “25kph” of beginner club training rides. I would suggest that maybe this is where the effort to convert women to cyclists should be focussed if we’re serious about changing the gender balance in cycling. Thankfully there a few businesses out there now who are addressing these issues.
    As to why women aren’t posting? I’d have to do more market research on my friends and acquaintances!

    • Love it. Thanks for the insightful comment. More of this!

  • Eric Hancock

    I’ve been delighted to read Ella since the launch. Keep up the great work.


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