Woman hosing down mountain bikes to clean them

Research Report: Exploring the Transition from Recreational to Challenge Rides


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.


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

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.

Download the report