Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

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

Erin E. Ayala, Kelsey J. Waniger, Kathryn P. A. Faulkner, Alison Riley-Schmida


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.

Subscribe to JOREL


Women; Gender; Cycling; Participation; Constraints

Full Text:



Australian Human Rights Commission. (2006). What’s the score? A survey of cultural diversity and racism in Australian sport. Retrieved from

Beecham, R., & Wood, J. (2014). Exploring gendered cycling behaviours within a large-scale behavioural data-set. Transportation Planning and Technology, 37(1), 83–97.

British Cycling. (n.d.). British Cycling 2017: A year in review. Retrieved from December 2, 2019, from

Ceurvorst, R. L., Fuller, R., Childers, D., Dubois, M., & Steiger, S. (2018). University outdoor recreation program participation: Comparing benefits, constraints, and willingness to pay between males and females. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 10(3), 263–266.

Chalabaev, A., Sarrazin, P., Fontayne, P., Boiché, J., & Clément-Guillotin, C. (2013). The influence of sex stereotypes and gender roles on participation and performance in sport and exercise: Review and future directions. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 14(2), 136–144.

Chen, V. (2018). Ethical issues concerning transgender athletes. Penn Bioethics Journal, 14(1), 15–18.

Cooky, C., & LaVoi, N. (2010). Playing but losing: Women’s sports after Title IX. Contexts, 11(1), 42–46.

Crawford, D. W., Jackson, E. L., & Godbey, G. (1991). A hierarchical model of leisure constraints. Leisure Sciences, 13(4), 309–320.

Emond, C. R., & Tang, W., & Handy, S. L. (2009). Explaining gender differences in bicycling behavior. Committee on Women’s Issues in Transportation, 2125(1), 16–25.

Garrard, J., Handy, S., & Dill, J. (2012). Women and cycling. In J. Pucher & R. Buehler (Eds.), City cycling (pp. 211–234). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Garrard, J., Rose, G., & Lo, S. K. (2008). Promoting transportation cycling for women: The role of bicycle infrastructure. Preventive Medicine, 46(1), 55–59.

Gloor, R. U., Knechtle, B., Knechtle, P., Rust, C. A., Haupt, S., Rosemann, T., & Lepers, R. (2013). Sex-related trends in participation and performance in the ‘Swiss Bike Masters’ from 1994–2012. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 116(2), 640–654.

Gray, T. (2016). The “F” word: Feminism in outdoor education. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education, 19(2), 25–41.

Guthrie, S. R., & Castelnuovo, S. (2001). Disability management among women with physical impairments: The contribution of physical activity. Sociology of Sport Journal, 18(1), 5–20.

Hall, R. L. (2001). Shaking the foundation: Women of color in sport. The Sport Psychologist, 15(4), 386–400.

Heesch, K. C., Sahlqvist, S., & Garrard, J. (2012). Gender differences in recreational and transport cycling: A cross-sectional mixed-methods comparison of cycling patterns, motivators, and constraints. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9, 1–12.

International Paralympic Committee. (2001). Women and sport progress report. Bonn, Germany: Author.

International Working Group on Women and Sport. (2002). The Montreal Tool Kit: A legacy of 2002 World Conference. Canada: Author.

Jackson, E. L. (2005). Leisure constraints research: Overview of a developing theme in leisure studies. In E. L. Jackson (Ed.), Constraints to leisure (pp. 3–19). State College, PA: Venture.

Jackson, E. L., Crawford, D. W., & Godbey, G. (1993). Negotiation of leisure constraints. Leisure Sciences, 15(1), 1–11.

Jackson, E. L., & Henderson, K. A. (1995). Gender‐based analysis of leisure constraints. Leisure Sciences, 17(1), 31–51.

Krizek, K. J., Johnson, P. J., & Tilahun, N. (2006). Gender differences in bicycling behavior and facility preferences. In Research on women’s issues in transportation: Report of a conference. Volume 2: Technical papers (pp. 31–40). Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board.

Larson, D. (2013). 2013 membership survey and analysis: Prepared for USA Cycling, Inc. Retrieved from ey-Report.pdf

Lubitow, A. (2017). Barriers to biking for women and minorities (Project Brief NITC-SS-994). Portland, OR: Transportation Research and Education Center.

McDowell, J., Deterding, R., Elmore, T., Morford, E., & Morris, E. (2016). Title IX and campus recreation: Guidelines to increase gender equity in club and intramural sport programs. Recreational Sports Journal, 40(2), 133–151.

Mueller, J. T., Landon, A. C., & Graefe, A. R. (2019). Modeling the role of social identity in constraint negotiation for ultra-endurance gravel cycling. Journal of Leisure Research, 50(2), 81–106.

Newhouse, G. (2015). Outdoor recreation for “every body”? An examination of constraints to outdoor recreation for individuals who are significantly overweight. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 7(2), 176–179.

Rowe, K., Shilbury, D., Ferkins, L., & Hinckson, E. (2015). Challenges for sport development: Women’s entry level cycling participation. Sport Management Review, 19(4), 417–430.

Shaw, S. M. (1994). Gender, leisure, and constraint: Towards a framework for the analysis of women’s leisure. Journal of Applied Recreation Research, 16(1), 349–367.

Shores, K. A., Scott, D., & Floyd, M. F. (2007). Constraints to outdoor recreation: A multiple hierarchy stratification perspective. Leisure Sciences, 29(3), 227–246.

United Nations. (2007). Women 2000 and beyond: Women, gender equality, and sport. Retrieved from andsport.pdf?la=en&vs=958

Walker, G. J., & Virden, R. J. (2005). Constraints on outdoor recreation. In E. L. Jackson (Ed.), Constraints to leisure (pp. 201–219). State College, PA: Venture.

Walseth, K., & Fasting, K. (2003). Islam’s view on physical activity and sport: Egyptian women interpreting Islam. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 38(1), 45–60.

Warren, K., Mitten, D., D’Amore, C., & Lotz, E. (2019). The gendered hidden curriculum of adventure education. Journal of Experiential Education, 42(2), 140–154.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Sagamore Publishing LLC