In the 2018 BCCC, 76% of our riders were male, while just 24% were female. This imbalance isn’t an issue limited to the BCCC alone, it’s one experienced across the cycling event industry on a broader scale. Despite this, our current rider entry data for 2019 shows we are starting to turn the tables. According to the latest entry data, women currently represent 50% of entrants in the 40km and 53km rides for the 2019 BCCC.
These stats reaffirm that the BCCC is the perfect event to dip your toes into the water. Whether you are an experienced cyclist, or just getting on your bike, our four routes are attractive to riders of all abilities. At the more challenging end we have 121km and 85km routes, which both include Mt Misery. Then the 53km and 40km rides cater to either intermediate or recreational riders.
The relaxed, friendly nature of our community run event is also a critical factor in helping women riders build the confidence they need to get on the bike over these distances.
We spoke to a few of our 2019 female riders to find out why they ride and what about the BCCC makes them feel confident to get involved.
70 year old Lesley Beard: 53km ride
“I’ve been bike riding for over 40 years. I ride because I love it. I don’t do it to race or win. It is a lovely way to see and smell the country. I have done most of the Great Vic rides and most Cycle Queensland and Bike SA rides. I usually do one ride overseas every year or so. I have also done 2 Murray to Moyne charity rides and the first round the bay in a day. This is my first BCCC, and I entered after being encouraged by a few riders who I try to ride locally with.
I am now retired with reduced lung function and ride an ebike if I’m doing a hilly ride. Although I still use my mountain bike on rail trails and flat rides, I’ll be riding my e-bike at the 2019 BCCC because my riding group are stringer riders and I want to keep up!
I would encourage anyone to keep riding or to take it up if they want to. There is a bike and a ride to suit most people.”
Dani Erbs: 53km (in her 40’s)
“I started riding as a kid doing the paper round and chasing my cousins around the local streets in intensely serious bmx races! A lot of elbow and knee skin was left on the gravel corners of my home town. There was a gap of 20 years where I didn’t ride as life took different turns, until rediscovering my love for it about 5 years ago.
Riding makes me feel free. It slows life down and allows me to get out there and enjoy all of the amazing things around me. It’s my happy space! I’ve recently joined a group called Wheel Women, who have helped me rediscover my love for riding through getting out there in an encouraging environment. With this, I have rediscovered my confidence to get back on my bike and to, again, make it a bit part of my life.
I’m originally from Yarragon and would spend the summer with my family enjoying the beaches around Cape Patterson. I remember being about 10 years old and thinking that one day I’d like to pack gear on my bike and ride from Cape Patterson to Inverloch. Fast forward 30-odd years, I came across the BCCC event via social media and, apart from getting to ride along the most stunning coastline, suck in the fresh air that really is something else, ride the gentle rolling hills and be a part of the relaxed atmosphere, I have the chance to fulfil a childhood dream!
The BCCC, with different events on the day, there’s something for everyone- a social roll, a bigger hillier challenge, it’s all there. An event like the BCCC allows you to take YOUR next challenge in a fully supported environment. With encouragement from other riders, volunteers and the occasional smiling kid with a sign on the side of the road, you’ll be amazed at what you can actually achieve. And you won’t forget that feeling when you cross the line at the end…………. J
Belinda Allen: 40km (in her 40’s)
“I have been riding for 15 years. My husband, myself and friends did the Great Vic bike ride in 2004. I love bike riding and I ride because its fitness and a wonderful slow way of enjoying nature and scenery.
This is my second year of bike riding in the BCCC. I am back because last year I enjoyed the challenge, scenery and spending time cycling with my family. It is a lovely satisfying feeling when you have completed the challenge. The terrific thing about the BCCC is that you can choose out of the routes you want to do depending on your fitness level and you can take your time and just enjoy the ride. I would recommend it to anyone, such a great experience.”
Kara is a Strength & Conditioning & Triathlon coach who specialises in Strength and Mobility training for sport-specific and general populations. She owns Bass Coast Fitness.
How long have you been riding?
I started cycling about 8 years ago in 2010. I was in year 12 and met some of the local triathlon club members who took me under their wing and introduced me to the weekly group rides which I instantly enjoyed. As I got more fit on the bike I loved it more and more until it became my stronger discipline in triathlon racing (it used to be running).
Why do you ride?
I ride because I enjoy the feeling I get from it! I feel empowered to be my best self. Both during the ride and after completing the ride. A big sense of freedom, especially when you get to coast down the hills and soak up the scenery and oxygen – it’s amazing.
Why did you enter the BCCC?
I entered the Bass Coast Cycle Challenge because I love cycling out in the hills and think the route is incredible. I also love a challenge and events like the BCCC help me to really test my current riding capabilities and push past my current limitations just that little bit more. So in that sense it’s a great ride to train both your mindset and improve on current fitness. I find that with every event you participate in, it’s a chance to truly improve so many aspects of yourself as a person. It’s empowering!
What words of encouragement would you give to other women who have been thinking about doing a ride like the BCCC but haven’t yet taken the leap?
Your body can do so much more than what your mind thinks it can!
Just enter the event to enjoy the process of it – don’t overthink it, don’t put any pressure on yourself to perform and don’t hold any expectations of yourself. On the day you can then just choose as to how fast or slow you want to ride and do so as you please. Just enter to have fun and learn more about yourself – your strengths, your weaknesses, what felt good, what didn’t – rather than judging yourself or being critical, use these findings to empower yourself to keep improving on your last performance. I guarantee you that the finish line feeling is worth it!
Thank you to these riders for contributing their stories. Hope they inspire you to enter now!