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Shanaze Reade urges women to get on their bikes

HIGH FLYER: Reade flies through the air with the greatest of ease

THREE-TIME BMX world champion Shanaze Reade has urged women countrywide to get in gear and join the push to get one million females riding a bike.

The campaign to boost the number of women who cycle was launched six months ago by British Cycling, as the governing body actively looks to address the gender imbalance in the sport.

While British Cycling was proud to announce that over 100,000 women had already taken part in the initiative in six months of a seven year campaign, chief executive Ian Drake, said: “We know that British Cycling has a long journey ahead to change the culture of our sport but we are heading in the right direction.”

Reade, one of the most recognisable two-wheel champions in the UK, said that it was important that women feel included in a sport that has historically been seen as a male domain.

“For too long cycling has been seen as a sport for men. It’s fantastic to hear that over a 100,000 women have dusted off their bikes and got involved in British Cycling programmes across all disciplines so far this year,” said Reade.

She added: “The more women that cycle, the more their friends, sisters and mums will be inspired to give it a try – we’re starting to close that gender gap and I look forward to seeing even more women enjoy all that cycling has to offer.”

Assessing the success achieved so far, Drake said the introduction of the women’s tour in 2014 would give the campaign further impetus.

“In the six months since we launched our strategy we’ve made some great progress and our plan to get one million more women cycling over the next seven years is firmly on track.

“We’ve got some fantastic headline figures that we’re announcing today. They show that there are thousands of women who want to ride recreationally – a big win for our partnership with Sky, especially the fact that over a third of all Sky Ride event participants this year were women.

“There is also a real appetite for women to get into racing or to try personal challenge rides. 24,000 women have taken part in British Cycling sportives so far this year and our female member base has increased by 19 per cent since we launched our
strategy.”

A delighted Drake concluded: “The introduction of the women’s tour from next year can only build momentum further.”

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