We’re doing this! Woo hoo! Sharing problems and solutions works! But don’t just take my my word for it…
“This is excellent – thank you very much for taking the time to send over this information, which I’ve passed on for discussion at our next committee meeting in May. Female membership of LRC is probably around 5% at most, which clearly is not good and something we would like to address.”
Lancs RC, April 2015
“Thanks for the reply and the ideas, I really like the idea of having a Women’s contact on the website, we’ll definitely look into that…
I think your input has been really useful, we’ve created two new roles in the club, Women’s Race Secretary and Women’s Ride Secretary and these will be formally introduced at our AGM in October…
Again, you’ve given me some ideas, I think we’ll have to look at a few extra prizes for the club dinner etc and I think a winter turbo night is a great idea and we’ll definitely look into this. There’s lots to do but I’m excited by what we’ve already done in just a few days and look forward to see what happens.”
Thames Velo, May 2015
I thought I’d send you a message with a few updates/thoughts about my recent experiences of getting more women riding. I took your ideas about making our women members part of the committee and pleased to say that we have introduced the roles of Women’s Ride Secretary and Women’s Racing Secretary to the club and I think this has made our women members more confident and feel more part of the club!
I’ve been making sure that all the women’s racing and TT results are celebrated on Twitter but I would have done this anyway regardless and mentioned them on our weekly club email. On this point I think its important not to come across as patronising and do the write up the same as you would a man’s race and really try to avoid writing anything that has a “Good on you for trying” type sentiment.
Our website is ‘slowly’ being revamped and I have written a page showing our commitment to supporting women’s riding and racing which I hope will really help us promote ourselves. When this is up and running I intend to really go to town!
I think that most clubs would welcome more women riders within them but not sure how to go about it.
My opinion is that women should be brave and get a foot in the door and promote themselves from within. That’s what I’m trying to do, give the current women members the support and opportunity to kick things off and hopefully let it grow?
On the subject of women finding the speed (or impression of speed) intimidating, I think that if we could get across to women that the speed might be faster than you are used to but not so fast as not to cope! A recent ride we did had one of our women riding faster than normal, but she was constantly checked to make sure she was on the wheel and feeling ok. I emailed her and she said that, despite it being slightly out of her comfort zone, she knew we were always checking on her and slowing down when she was dropping off the pace. I like to think that this raised her confidence in her own ability as well as in us! I think at some point we’ve all ridden with a group where the speed is faster than you anticipated and your mind starts making you think you’ll never keep up and you’re beaten before you start! After a while you trust your ability and don’t ‘panic’ and the pace becomes the norm. If there was a way to tell women that they probably will be ‘slow’ to start with, but keep at it and you’ll become fitter and better in a very short space of time and I think you need to do at least three or four rides with a club to get a proper feel of what they’re about and start to relax on the rides.
…I’ll keep you updated when we get more success. My goal is to recruit at least two new women full members before the end of the year!
Thames Velo, July 2015 (update on the comment above)