0800 121 4424
Lines Open Mon-Fri 9-5pm

Breaking the cycle: Why women ride less and how we can change it

Article written by:

Share this article

As a woman, I’ve always envied the effortless freedom men seem to enjoy while cycling. They seem to fly by, cutting through traffic with ease, while I can often hesitate with an internal mix of anxiety and doubt. The sad reality is, women don’t cycle as much as men, and the reasons are as complex as they are frustrating. But there’s hope on the horizon, embodied in initiatives like the Welsh Cycling Breeze programme.

The fear factor

First and foremost, there’s the issue of safety. Women are statistically more cautious than men, especially when it comes to activities perceived as risky. Cycling, particularly in busy urban environments, can feel like navigating a minefield. The absence of dedicated bike lanes in many areas forces cyclists into direct competition with cars, buses, and trucks. This is daunting for anyone, but the stakes feel even higher for women who, studies show, are more likely to be harassed or assaulted on the road.

Confidence and competence

Confidence plays a significant role too. Many women I know, myself included, weren’t encouraged to take up cycling from a young age. Boys are often given bikes as a rite of passage, their crashes and tumbles seen as part of growing up. Girls, on the other hand, are sometimes shielded from these experiences. This leads to a skill gap that manifests in adulthood. I often feel self-conscious about my cycling abilities, fearing judgment from more experienced riders. This lack of confidence is a huge barrier, making the prospect of cycling seem insurmountable.

Infrastructure and practical concerns

Practical issues also play a part. The lack of proper facilities, such as showers and changing rooms at workplaces, can be a deterrent. The idea of arriving at work sweaty and dishevelled isn’t appealing, especially in professional environments where appearance can impact perceptions. Furthermore, secure bike parking is a concern. The fear of bike theft is very real, and without safe storage, the risk often outweighs the convenience of cycling.

Financial barriers

Lastly, there’s the financial aspect. Good quality bikes and kit come at a price. For many women, especially those managing tight budgets, this can be a significant barrier. The cost of regular maintenance, repairs, and gear like helmets and lights adds up, making cycling seem like a less viable option compared to other forms of transport.

The Breeze programme: A breath of fresh air

Enter the Welsh Cycling Breeze programme. Breeze is designed specifically for women, by women, addressing many of the barriers that hold us back.

Safety and support: Breeze rides are led by trained female volunteers, known as Breeze Champions, who create a safe and supportive environment. These rides often take place on quieter routes, allowing women to build confidence without the pressure of heavy traffic.

Building confidence: The programme emphasises skill-building, offering rides for all levels. Whether you’re a complete beginner or looking to improve your cycling abilities, there’s a place for you. The supportive atmosphere helps to boost confidence and diminish the fear of judgment.

Flexible scheduling: Breeze understands the time constraints women face and offers rides at various times, including weekends and evenings, making it easier to fit cycling into a busy schedule.

Community and camaraderie: Perhaps most importantly, Breeze offers a sense of community. Riding with other women who share similar concerns and goals can be incredibly empowering. The camaraderie and shared experience can transform cycling from a daunting task into a joyous activity.

Accessibility: The programme also works to make cycling more accessible by promoting the availability of affordable bikes and gear. By partnering with local bike shops and community organisations, Breeze helps to alleviate the financial burden that can accompany cycling.

A path forward

The reasons women cycle less than men are numerous and deeply rooted in societal structures and norms. However, initiatives like the Welsh Cycling Breeze programme offer practical solutions and a supportive community that can help overcome these barriers. By addressing safety concerns, building confidence, and creating a welcoming environment, Breeze is paving the way for more women to embrace the freedom and joy of cycling. As more of us take to the streets on two wheels, we’ll not only improve our own lives but also contribute to a more inclusive and balanced cycling culture. For more information on the Breeze programme, please visit the Welsh Cycling website

Did you know that Pedal Cover offer home + bike bundled as well as stand alone cycle specific bicycle insurance. Our insurance covers crash damage, theft, liability, personal accident and much much more. Give our friendly support team a call on 0800 121 4424

About our blog

We produce a weekly blog all about cycling. Why not sign up using your email address. We have a no spam promise!

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Related Posts



Contact us

The Old Mill, Ewenny, CF35 5BN
0800 121 4424
Lines Open Mon-Fri 9-5pm