Experiences That Affect Participation of Women and Gender Diverse Athletes in Competitive Cycling


  • Erin E. Ayala Saint Mary's University of Minnesota and Premier Sport Psychology, PLLC https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6640-2131
  • Kelsey J. Waniger Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
  • Kathryn P. A. Faulkner Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
  • Alison Riley-Schmida Saint Mary's University of Minnesota




Women, Gender, Cycling, Participation, Constraints


In general, cycling is a sport and recreational activity with far fewer women than men, particularly in racing. The purpose of this mixed methods investigation was to identify experiences that affect participation for women and gender diverse (WGD) athletes in competitive cycling. Findings suggest WGD cyclists are likely to continue competing when they prioritize their individual engagement in the sport. Findings also highlight the importance of creating an encouraging and supportive atmosphere with equitable field decisions and equal prize pools. However, the overarching culture of the sport may hinder continued involvement of WGD cyclists when they face constraints such as unsupportive environments, inequitable field decisions, and unequal prize pools. Race promoters are encouraged to provide equal prizes, multiple race options for women, women-only fields, and specific events for WGD cyclists who want to improve their skills or increase their exposure to the sport. Such decisions are likely to decrease attrition, increase participation, and foster a sense of feeling valued for WGD athletes in competitive cycling.

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