Why we need more women's cycling on TV
Image: Chuck Coker via Flickr

I’ve heard a lot of arguments lately about why we need more women’s cycling on mainstream TV. I watched The Women’s Tour and loved it, but it wasn’t accessible to everyone…it wasn’t on any of the main four tv channels and it was on later in the evening than I would have liked to have seen.

My daughter is six. Very nearly seven. Up until just over two weeks ago she couldn’t ride her bike. Regular readers will have grasped my frustration at her apparent lack of interest. We’ve tried to encourage her to learn on a number of occasions –  shiny new bike was delivered for her birthday last year and she just wasn’t all that interested. Fear seemed to set in and she refused to go anywhere near her bike. In recent months, the mere mention of giving it a go has sent her into a trembling mess, which was really sad to see. I was about to give up trying to encourage her altogether and was ready (reluctantly) to accept that maybe cycling wasn’t ever going to be something she would want to do. But then a wonderful thing happened…

It was like a light bulb moment!

We watched Nottingham’s Milk Race on 25 May. It was only the second year there has been an elite women’s race. It wasn’t televised but we were lucky, we were there, right by the start/finish line. It was like a light bulb moment for my daughter. As she waved her cowbell from the sidelines, you could see the excitement in her face.

‘They’re going really fast aren’t they mummy!’ – my daughter

I think mummy getting to meet Laura Trott and Katie Archibald may have had something to do with it, but ultimately she was completely inspired by what she saw: the pro women cyclists looking cool in their brightly coloured kit, wearing their helmets, lined up on the start line raring to go. She was inspired by the pro women cyclists mingling with the ordinary folk, smiling happily, saying ‘hi’. She was inspired watching them take the sport seriously, warming up pre-race on their rollers. She was inspired by the effort, the determination, the camaraderie that she witnessed, by the roar of the crowds as the women sped past. She was inspired watching the winners receive loud applause and cheers as they approached the podium.

As we climbed into the car to head home I asked her if she’d had a good day.

“It’s been a great day! The best day!

“Tomorrow, mummy, I’m going to learn to ride my bike. Maybe one day I’ll be as good as Laura Trott or Katie Archibald.”

Whoop! – me

And that’s why we need more visibility around women’s cycling, why we need more women’s cycling races and why we need more women’s cycling on TV. Inspiration is a wonderful thing.

In her own words….

23 comments on “Why we need more women’s cycling on TV”

    • Thanks Melissa, I agree with you. More women in sport on mainstream TV channels would be brilliant at encouraging young girls to participate in sport and in helping them to see that sport is cool. Women’s cycling is slowly getting there but we have some amazing talent in the field and they should receive as much recognition as the men. Having seen my daughter’s reaction at watching the likes of Laura Trott racing, I really do believe more coverage would inspire a whole new generation of British talent.

  1. oh I do wish to be more energetic and ride again, we have lovely scenery to ride around in Durham but I’m just starting the 30 day fitness challenge as I haven’t done any exercise as such for 15 years, wow I know, but it’s a start.

    • Everything helps Lisa and it’s great you’re starting back with exercise again! Google women’s cycling and watch some to inspire you back into fitness! Good luck with the 30 day challenge!

  2. I agree! I do think that the Olympics had a hugely positive impact for women in sport and we all became more aware of women cyclists after their success. I didn’t know that they did a womens tour de France and this is simply because all of the highlights on tv are about the mens, which really needs to be changed! x
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  3. Yes we need more women’s cycling on tv. Firstly, if nothing else, to simply normalise the idea of women’s cycling being on TV. Once that is achieved the risks to event organisers, promoters, broadcasters and sponsors will reduce and the investment will increase. We are very proud to be ensuring that women’s cycling has equal billing in our televised series. This isn’t the easiest approach but one we have chosen to do as we feel its the best way to show case the cycling talent on display and make the opportunities to participate for women clear.

    • Hi Carl, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your views. It’s really encouraging to hear about Street Velodrome proactive approach and I hope lots more follow suit.

  4. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Apart from the Olympics, I can’t really tell you any other time when I have seen female cyclists showcased on television whereas you see men like Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins all the time!

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