A new survey shows that women are twice as likely to be put off cycling to work over concerns about their fitness levels than men.
The poll of 2000 adults, commissioned by Aviva Health Insurance, showed that 25 per cent of women were put off commuting by bike over fitness concerns, whilst 13 per cent of men had the same worries.
The data comes soon after news that a female cyclist was insulted, and called a ‘fat bitch’ whilst out riding, by two other male cyclists.
The story received a vast amount of feedback on Facebook, from women who had had similar experiences.
One reader, Gill, told us: “I was called a f*cking fat cow, when out cycling on my own by a guy who said he could not get by me on his bike.”
Thankfully, these sorts of occurrences are shocking to the vast majority of cyclists. As reader Ali says: “It’s disgraceful behavior. Cyclists excluding other cyclists is not on.”
We firmly believe anyone on a bike is part of the cycling community, though making unkind comments to other riders is more likely to get someone excluded than not being fit enough.
Alongside a gender gap in fitness concerns, safety was also highlighted – with 41 per cent of women citing concerns over safety as a key deterrent, compared to only 28 per cent of men.
There are plenty of ways to ensure you stay safe if this is a concern – check out these cycling safety tips to banish fears about riding on the road for more info.
In addition, 9 per cent of women said they needed the car later in the day, and 16 per cent highlight a lack of showers at work.
The percentage of men and women concerned by the weather and their distance from work was fairly even.
The good news is that 1 in 10 women surveyed said they did feel inspired to cycle following events such as the Olympics and the Aviva Women’s Tour.
The data has been released in the build up to the Aviva Tour of Britain – which takes place from 6 to 13 September.
Lindsay Forster, UK & Ireland Customer Marketing Director at Aviva said: “It’s great that British Cycling’s initiative to encourage one million more women to cycle regularly by 2020 is going so well and I hope the Aviva Women’s Tour earlier this year gave added support.
“Cycling has numerous benefits including improving people’s health and wellbeing, keeping commuting costs down alongside being better for the environment. I hope more women will be encouraged to give cycling a try.”
Aviva is the proud sponsor of the Aviva Women’s Tour, The Aviva Tour of Britain (6-13 September 2015) and the Aviva Tour Ride (4th October 2015).