Cycling club triples number of female riders with 'confidence building' academy programme

Scheme addresses reasons why some women are 'put off' jumping on a bike

Friday, 25th June 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 28th June 2021, 10:33 am

Claydon Cycling Club has tripled its number of female riders by hosting a new 'Academy' programme.

The initiative encourages would-be cyclists to take part in a confidence building scheme and experience the thrills of riding in a group.

It enhances road safety awareness, culminating in the ability to confidently ride 50km and more.

Members of Steeple Claydon Cycling Club
Members of Steeple Claydon Cycling Club

The academy, led by John Bull, addresses the reluctance of women to cycle, let alone join a club.

Despite the recent surge and adoption of the sport, for many years there have been numerous reasons why women are ‘put off’.

According to a recent BBC 4 report* commonly cited reasons for shunning the benefits of getting into the saddle include sexist attitudes among male road users, fears about appearance and concerns about road safety.

Ciara Day, academy graduate, said: “As a ‘rusty rider’ and mother of two young children, I have a lot of responsibility in my life, so the risk element of cycling was a real concern.

Academy graduate Ciara Day

“The academy programme has given me the confidence to ride both on my own and also now in a group - which has proved to be a really great new social activity. I would encourage anyone who is considering riding to join a club, learn the skills and before you know it you will be covering miles!”

Chair of Claydon Cycling Club, John Bull, said: “I’m really proud of what the Claydon academy graduates have achieved in such a short period of time. I can already see some riders with true potential and others who have truly flourished within the collective environment.

“I’m also encouraged to see that more than half of the academy participants this time have been women and we look to grow that further.”

The BBC report cites that the number of female riders doubled between April-May 2020 as a direct result of lockdown, giving newbie riders the luxury of clear roads and removing some concern.

John said: “As the world opens up again and motorists take to their vehicles, training people to be safe and confident cycling on the roads is of paramount importance. My message is ‘See, Be seen and Communicate’… and we can teach you that in the club.”

Claydon Cycling Club asks for a £5 deposit to take part in the academy which goes towards the membership if they continue to ride. The club has new academy dates planned as well as other workshops such as bike maintenance and riding in inclement conditions.

*BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour – Breaking barriers to cycling for women – May 3, 2021

About Claydon Cycling Club

Claydon Cycling Club is a non-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing safe and enjoyable rides for its members. The club was formed in spring 2020 and has grown considerably due to its open and welcoming nature, which attracts both men and women across a range of abilities.

For further information visit or to join a ride contact [email protected]