Research Report: Exploring the Transition from Recreational to Challenge Rides - Women In Sport

Research Report: Exploring the Transition from Recreational to Challenge Rides

Published 2016

“My biggest concern when I was thinking about entering [a challenge ride for the first time] was that I would let
everyone down.” Recently transitioned rider

Executive Summary

There are a number of cycling challenge rides across the country each year and we know that women who participate in these cycle more regularly each week.

Women in Sport embarked on a project to investigate how to transition those women who are cycling recreationally to take part in challenge rides.

Report Content:

  • What did we want to know?
  • Findings
  • Main barriers.
  • Overcoming barriers.
  • Recommendations.

Key Findings

We found women had 3 main barriers from transitioning from recreational cycling to challenge events:

  • Fear of not fitting in.
  • Fear of what might happen on the day.
  • Lack of confidence.


  • The most persuasive messages identified through the research were those which sought to reassure women that challenge rides were welcoming, for a mix of abilities and planned for safety.
  • Ensuring she has behind the scenes support.
  • Together she is stronger. The best way of reaching recreational riders was felt to be through existing challenge riders.

Key partners



Related Articles

Research Report: The Ideal Sports Club For Women

Published 2011 Released under our former name, Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, this research was conducted by Verve to identify factors that create the ideal sports club environment for women.    

Research Report: Measuring Impact: ‘this Girl Can Run’ For England Athletics

Published 2016 “Combining Women in Sport’s insight pieces with our own has helped us to deliver a highly effective and cost efficient digital campaign” Marketing & Campaign Manager, England Athletics Running Participation Team Executive Summary A digital campaign was created to activate Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign around running, to include content that would inspire, inform […]

Research Report: Trophy Women? Checklist For Change- Tools To Diversify Your Board

Published 2015 Our proposed Checklist for Change lays out the core elements to which sports organisations should aspire, to build upon successes so far, and promote the benefits of having more women on boards and at executive level. Here, we set out six core goals for National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and other publicly funded sports […]

More Info