Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines


Over 256 female riders are taking part in this year’s Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines, compared to just 60 last year, a rise of 327%. 


 women riding Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines


With a reputation of being the UK’s toughest sportive, Etape Pennines, which takes place in County Durham on 20th July, is enjoying a significant boost in interest from women who want to take on the “brutal but beautiful” sportive. 


Women comprised of only 7% of riders last year and with just over two months to go, more women are expected to sign up to the UK’s top closed road sportive. The route starts and finishes at Barnard Castle, County Durham and offers 60 miles of challenging but safe riding with excellent support, 2000 metres of uphill climbing and several exhilarating downhill sections through beautiful Pennines scenery. 


Selena Colmer, Etape Series Event Director said: “There has been a well-recognised growth in women’s cycling since the 2012 Olympics, with more of us inspired to get on our bikes. Importantly though, these new figures show that women are increasing in confidence and trying more challenging routes, pitching themselves against the men and enjoying it. 


“With such a huge increase in Etape Pennines female riders, as well as the first ever Women’s Tour of Britain, 2014 is certainly a great year for women’s cycling.” 


women on the start line of the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines


Top reasons last year’s female participants gave for entering the event include ‘testing myself over a challenging course’ ‘the opportunity to cycle on closed roads’, ‘beautiful scenery’, ‘to be part of a big event’, ‘a fitness goal’, ‘raise money for charity’ and ‘compete against friends’. 


Interestingly, the survey also showed that women riders own more bikes than men, with 75% owning three bikes or more, compared to just 57% men. Women also spent £70 more on their bike and kit each year than men, but only 28% were members of a cycling club compared to 72% men. 


Many of the riders will be raising vital funds for the events Official Charity Partner, Marie Curie Cancer Care, which will enable Marie Curie Nurses to provide more free care and support to terminally ill people and their families in communities across the UK.


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