Forget wilting wallflowers, we have identified an increasing number of women we have dubbed Lilys – Ladies in Lycra – who are embracing the joy of cycling in the county.
More and more women are seeing the benefits of getting on their bike to get fit and to enjoy its social benefits in the great outdoors.
And with events like the Staffordshire Cycling Festival held on 1 and 2 August, we are welcoming some of Britain’s top female cyclists competing for honours in the inaugural Tour of Staffordshire.
The increased participation of people in cycling at all levels has been something of a phenomenon in recent years. While men, often dubbed Mamils – Middle Aged Men in Lycra, are in the majority, there is no denying the growing numbers of women who are taking to two wheels.
The latest British Cycling figures reveal that over five million women in the UK ride a bike and contribute around £50 million to the cycling economy. One million more women would like to take up cycling, but cite a fear of the roads and desire to find someone to ride with amongst the main deterrents to their participation.
British Cycling launched its Breeze initiative in 2011 to encourage women to take part in its cycling programme. More than 50,000 women across the UK have engaged with the programme and British Cycling is aiming to sign up one million women by 2020.
Paul Rowlands founder and organiser of Staffordshire Cycling Festival said: “With over 700 cyclists confirmed to participate in the Staffordshire Cycling Festival, more than twice that of 2013, the festival promises to be a weekend not to be missed.
“This year we have seen 50 % increase in the number of ladies entering the race including some of the UK’s elite female teams including Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International, Team Echelon and Matrix Fitness Vulpine, as well as over 120 women entering the sportive rides.
“With British Cycling’s Breeze initiative, over 1000 women have trained to become cycling champions since beginning the program in 2011, and they have organised over 10,000 free rides for women in over 216 communities across the UK to get more confident and able on their bikes.
“We are very much looking forward to seeing all the cyclists in action this weekend and first class racing.”
For more information please contact the Enjoy Staffordshire press office on 01743 234 224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.