Bike Talk: Why We Need To Support Women's Pro-Cycling + Resources

03 May, 2017

It all started in university when my love for the pro-cycling races began. Long nights in the books along with spring and summer breaks where filled with cycling entertainment as a welcomed distraction from information overload. Eventually, my obsession with French literature and the most exciting race of the year lead me to Paris to watch the final stage of the Tour de France in 2011. I had never experienced anything like it, the celebration, decor, and crowds enthusiasm. This was a big deal. Gradually, my love for the race grew into love for the riders and when La Course, a TDF final stage women's race, was announced in 2014 I had focused much of my attention on who was who in women's pro-cycling. Since, I have never looked back.

Without that announcement, I would have never known there was women's peloton cycling. There is no denying that women's cycling is underrepresented in the grand scheme of professional cycling. While women's representation in professional cycling is beginning to gradually change and become more pronounced by the rising support of women's cycling in the industry, there is also the rise of women joining in competitive cycling. While more women are out on the road and trails riding their bikes, not many follow the pros and watch their races. Generally there is a correlation between professional sports and growth of amateur participation in a sport, yet, paving the way for media coverage, pay, and industry support of women's cycling still has a long way to go.
I'm sure there are many opinions of why professional women's cycling doesn't get the support they need but I guarantee that with the rapid increase in women's cycling participation we will see the media all over it when cycling fans demand it. Why point at the media? The media plays a large part of not covering the women's races, assuming the interest, views, and crowds will not show up. Just as the Spring classics have come to a close, we have seen races such Tour de Yorkshire have large crowd turnouts and millions watching on live tv. This is massive! However, there still remains the disparity of live coverage between the women's and men's peloton coverage.

I don't want to go down the rabbit hole of why, this is another post for later, but I do want to raise attention and provide resources on how you can get the latest news and info on women's pro-cycling. While there are sites like Podium Cafe and Cycling Tips that report on the biggest races, there are smaller races that don't get all the coverage you need. That's where I come in to guide you to the resources to find out what's going on as Tour season begins. Giro d'Italia anyone?

Below are websites to guide you through where to get news and reports on the current happenings of the women's peloton races. These outlets also update their twitter feed with current news and racing events so please follow them too!

Pro Women's Cycling
Cycling Podcast Feminin
Ella Cycling Tips Race
Women's UCI Cycling Show Podcast
Podium Cafe - Women's Cycling
Total Women's Cycling- Events
Cycling News - Women
Women Cycling Fever

How to watch women's peloton races? Some media outlets require subscriptions or a VPN. Some of these links don't require such. If you're aware of other means of live streaming women's races, please share!
ITV 4 - vpn required
Cycling TV - subscription required
Cycling Fans
So, how can you as a fan help support women's pro-cycling? There are many ways to help support women's cycling which Sarah Connolly of Pro Women's Cycling advises in a lengthier and more resourceful post on how to "Take 5 min to help Women's Cycling in 2017 ... to engage with riders and races, their sponsors and team media and thank them for what they do, and to share media that covers women’s cycling." Here are 10 ways we can help:

1. Click through to sponsors
2. Thank the sponsors for supporting the sport
3. Always include the women’s cycling account, and use the official hashtags
4. Consider buying products from companies that support women’s cycling – and then tell the company that you did
5. Include links in your social media
6. Click on women’s cycling media – and share that too!
7. Watch and share official videos
8. Thank media companies for showing women’s races
9. Just sharing or liking other people’s social media helps
10. Take 5 minutes and plan to go to a race in real life or volunteer!

Please do share if you have any other resources or information on how to promote women's cycling. We are in a great time of progress for women's cycling and can do a little more to help make a difference in the smallest ways. 

I hope this will inspire you to take a few minutes to learn more about the women in cycling. These are great resources that include stories of pain and victory by the most elite cycling athletes and teams in the sport. 

You can always follow me on Twitter @citygirlrides to get a bit of commentary and some resources of races that I will be watching. Sarah Connolly of @pwcycling is great on keeping up on these races and a great resource to look to if you want to learn more about professional women's cycling. She's also infectious with her passion and enthusiasm so just be ready to dive deep.

image courtesy @wmscycling

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