The bicycle has long been a symbol of the women’s movement, however new data from Strava finds that there’s still a big gap to fill when it comes to spending time in the saddle. The data, which includes cycling activity uploads from commuting to leisure to racing, comes ahead of the start of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift on Sunday 23rd July, the second edition of the competition following its return from a 30-year hiatus in 2022.
Analysis of hundreds of millions of cycling activities by Strava - the leading subscription platform at the center of connected fitness - has found that globally, women spend less than half as much time cycling as men over the past year.
Daylight is a key factor for leisure and commute cycling around the world. Globally, March to September is the most popular period in the year for women to cycle, with a considerable dip in the winter. Women recorded nearly three times as many bike activities in July 2022 than they did in December. Globally, women are 23% less likely than men to record any type of activity pre-sunrise and 8% less likely to do so post-sunset.
On a weekly basis, women cyclists in the US have 22% less active time than men during an average week, with the difference heightened during weekends when women spend 30% less time on their bikes.
Over the course of a year, these weekly differences add up to American women spending 45% less time cycling than men, in line with the gender disparity witnessed globally:
Spain 64% less
France 54% less
UK 54% less
Germany 42% less
Japan: 66% less
Brazil: 37% less
Many factors impact women’s ability to go on bike rides according to a survey by Strava of 3,000 women and men cyclists examining motivations and preferences for group rides. Key takeaways included:
Women are significantly (73%) more likely to feel comfortable riding with other cyclists of their gender (43% of US women).
Women are nearly twice as likely to find themselves in riding groups that are predominantly men versus predominantly women.
Only 12% of women globally reported riding in rides that are all women, while 35% of women surveyed said they rode in rides that are gender mixed. Only 15% of women's bike rides in the last year (globally) were majority women.
Globally, 70% of all respondents said they would like to ride with a mixed gender group.
As an official partner of the Tour de France and Tour de Femmes avec Zwift, Strava is focused on getting more women on bikes, both at the starting line of the Tour and in their everyday lives. Through the Strive for More initiative, Strava committed more than $1 million to supporting women in movement and sport. The initiative has provided funding to global organizations such as The Cyclists’ Alliance, which provides holistic support to female cyclists during and after their careers. Strava’s donation will get more to the starting line through TCA’s Mentor Programme, providing grants to individuals to further promote and support women in movement and sport.