Strava report debunks myth that women aren’t inspired by professional cycling

by Anne-Marije Rook


Strava has released a new comprehensive Women’s Cycling Report, believed to be the biggest of its kind. With it, Strava aims to determine motivations, influences, buying attitudes and views on barriers to entry for more women taking up cycling. The big takeaways are that women, in fact, are interested in professional cycling and are less deterred by barriers to cycling than is often thought.

Olympic 2012 Gold medallist and Wiggle-High5 rider Dani King was a participant of the report and hopes the industry will use the findings to help serve female cyclists even better.

“Since I’ve been cycling I’ve consistently heard two things. 1. Women aren’t interested in professional cycling and 2. There are significant barriers in place that prevent women from cycling. This report addresses these often quoted stereotypical views and shows them largely not be true,” said King. “There is however still more to achieve and with growth of media coverage surrounding women’s cycling and increased focus from the industry, I hope women’s cycling can reach its full potential; both in a sporting and recreational context.”

The break doesn't last as the chasers join the leaders in the final kilometer of stage 4.
The break doesn’t last as the chasers join the leaders in the final kilometer of stage 4.

The report is based on survey analysis of over 5,000 active female cyclists in the UK (who use Strava). Respondents were segmented into four groups based on when they took up cycling: ‘new starters’ (less than one year), ‘recent’ (1-5 years), ‘established’ (6-10 years) and ‘long term’ (10+ years). Around two-thirds of respondents got into cycling in the past five years.

Here are some of the highlights:Strava_Women's_Cycling_Report_Graphic_1

Speed, distance and frequency

– Strava members around the world currently upload 6 million activities per week, and in 2015, on average, 5.3 activities were uploaded to Strava every single second.

  • The average speed per ride of UK female cyclists on Strava in 2015 was 19.8 km/h (12.3 mph).
  • The average distance per ride of UK female cyclists was 34 km (21.1 miles).
  • Overall, for all female cyclists on Strava, two thirds ride up to 5 hours per week on average.

Inspired by pro cycling

– 61% of female cyclists surveyed said they are inspired by pro cycling, and 64% take an active interest.

– 94.1% of respondents follow the Tour de France, 52.4% follow the Giro d’Italia and 39.6% follow the Vuelta a España. The Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour show their appeal with 52.0% and 39.6% saying they follow the races respectively.

What got them into cycling and keeps them motivated

Strava_Women's_Cycling_Report_Graphic_3

– Respondents have a diverse range of cycling experience with 51% of them relatively new to cycling, having been cycling for less than 4 years.

  • 62% took up cycling for general fitness
  • 56% were influenced by friends & family.

– When asked “what motivates you to cycle now?”

  • 84% said general fitness
  • 59% said friends & family
  • 32% said events
  • 29% said weight loss
  • 26% said commuting

Cycling is an ‘accessible sport” but barriers persist

Respondents expressed a view on the presence of barriers for women’s cycling, and the majority feel that cycling is an accessible sport.

  • 60% disagreed that there were barriers in place for women wanting to get into cycling.
  • Of the 40% who agreed that there were barriers,
    • 78% believed this was due to a perceived danger of cycling
    • 71 % worry about mechanical proficiency
    • 59% flagged barriers around the subject of body image.

Women riders are often solo ridersStrava_Women's_Cycling_Report_Graphic_4

For riding activities at least once a week,

  • 22% say they ride with a cycling club
  • 79% ride on their own
  • ‘63% ride with others – friends, family or their partner.

Buying habits

Survey respondents were asked to rank a number of influences from 1 through to 7, with 1 being the biggest influence. The aesthetics and price of cycling apparel/equipment scored 1 to 3 for around two-thirds of female cyclists.

  • 31% state that they buy their gear from specialist online retailers and 23% buy from an independent bike shop.
  • On average, female cyclists spent £1,050 in 2015 on cycling – including apparel, equipment and events.
  • The majority of female cyclists on Strava own 2 bikes and purchase a new bike every 4 years.
  • 60% ride a women’s specific bike.
  • Specialized is the most ridden bike brand amongst female cyclists.
  • dhb and Castelli are the most popular apparel brands.

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