The problem of diversity in cycling

The problem of diversity in cycling

This article is about diversity in the cycling industry. Which, no surprise is connected to the lack of diversity in the cyclists themselves. Only 11% of women cycle regularly, compared with 23% of men17, who make twice as many trips and cycle more than two times further than women.

I downloaded an article by the UK cycling association which outlines the possible causes and solutions to this dire situation, also i will outline a few female owned cycling businesses which are worth shouting out about.

Research on equity in the workplace points to multiple causative factors, including difficulty finding a work–life balance; lack of appropriate working environment; lack of training and life-long learning opportunities or inadequate targeted recruitment; persistence of stereotypes; harassment; and bullying4. Other studies highlight discrimination, lack of supportive policies and facilities, and lack of role models as key barriers. Nine in ten women working in sport report facing barriers when entering the industry, and half believe they are paid less than men for the same work. The World Economic Forum estimates it will take another 151 years to close the global economic gender gap (the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the rate of progress), while data is still too patchy even to estimate gaps for racial equity and LGBTQ+ and disability inclusion6.  

Firstly why is diversity important?

Research by Accenture found that 41% of shoppers removed at least 10% of their business from a retailer for their lack of focus on diversity, equity  and inclusion

Additionally, the report found that companies with a gender inclusive business culture have a 59% probability of achieving more creativity, innovation and openness. This has to be a good thing.  A positive corporate culture attracts good people and those good people make the business more profitable and successful. 

Lack of diversity in cyclists affects the lack of diversity in the industry

In addition to the huge inbalance between male and female cyclists, just 14% of ethnic minority groups, 12% of disabled people and 19% of LGBQ+ people cycle regularly19. This underrepresentation in participation inevitably impacts upon the desirability of a career in the cycling industry for these groups today. 

 Other similar studies highlight gender discrimination, lack of supportive policies and facilities and female role models as key barriers for women. A 2022 report on British female entrepreneurs additionally highlighted access to finance, discrimination and self-doubt, unequal sharing of chores/childcare and a lack of female role models and professional networks as significant barriers faced by female founders, compared with their male counterparts

Lack of diversity of ethnic minorities in cycling

Sustrans and ARUP warns that the needs of many marginalised groups have been ignored, with 74 per cent of people in urban ethnic minority groups currently not cycling, despite 55 per cent of people in these groups stating that they would like to start (compared to 37 per cent of White people).

Besides the cost barrier of getting a bike, which reportedly stops 20 per cent of people from ethnic minority groups from cycling, other factors include a lack of confidence in skills and a lack of facilities – including safe storage or changing rooms at home and work – stopping 33 per cent and 25 per cent of people in these groups from riding respectively.

Queer cycling groups

I was happy to find the Queers on wheels instagram page where queer and like minded people get together for rides - both long and short. They are using very innovative methods to increase the visibility of queer people on bicycles including recruiting on grindr, using Heylo for poeple to keep track of rides and regularly posting information on instagram. They do things like laps in regents park as well as longer rides to essex. 


Some female owned or run cycling businesses 

London Bike Kitchen - Jenni

Cycle Sisters founder Sarah Javaid

Daschel bicycle helmets - Katherine

Goodordering - Jacqui

Loud Mobility - Georgia Yexley

Cyclechic - Caz

Po Campo - Maria Bousted (usa) - Jo 

Some other articles about diversity in cycling

Queers on wheels - cycling group

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