Published: 06th Oct 2023 Images: Scottish Cycling

Women & Girls Ride The Worlds!

Continuing our celebration of Scottish Women & Girls in Sport Week, we look at the impact of Ride the Worlds – our official activation of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships

If you haven’t heard about the Ride The Worlds programme already, it has been a series of events across varying disciplines, aimed at encouraging new riders into the sport.

As well as giving young cyclists the opportunity of a lifetime, by qualifying to race at some of the UCI Cycling World Championship venues directly before their idols, during the August championships.

There are a variety of components that formed the programme – a Zwift series, Race The Worlds, Experience The Worlds, as well as site activation at various 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships venues. The programme aimed to make racing easy, accessible, and supportive, focusing on creating opportunities for those new to cycle sport and racing, and harnessing the power of the bike.

Scottish Cycling are working to improve the gender imbalance in cycle sport and this was a key focus throughout the Ride The Worlds.

The Race The Worlds series took place this summer and was a youth race series involving four disciplines – Pump Track, Mini DH, Dirt Crit and Road Crit.

Five regional qualifier races were delivered across Scotland, with the top riders from each event invited to attend the discipline Final which took place during 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.

It was awesome to see number of girls competing in the Race The World series. Road Crit proved to be the most popular discipline, but it was awesome to see girls completing across all four disciplines, in particular, Pump Track which is a new discipline in Scotland. Several participants also completed across multiple disciplines, which was really exciting and great to see such strong female riders entering the race scene in Scotland

The Experience the Worlds series provided opportunities for all riders new to racing and cycle sport, but keen to give it a go and this involved riders of all ages.

There has been nearly 50 events across Scotland throughout 2023, including:

  • A women’s only event held at West Lothian Cycle Circuit
  • The first Scottish Schools National MTB Championships which saw a strong cohort of girls attend and race, many for the first time
  • A variety of disciplines covered by the series – pump track, XC, gravel, road, cycle speedway, BMX, Mini DH, Crit, Time trial.
  • Embracing the environmental impact of cycling through an educational day delivered by Trash Free Trails at Comrie Croft

Participation numbers across the whole Ride The Worlds project have shown a sharp increase in girls racing.  In fact, 32% of Ride The Worlds participants were female, a big upturn from the average 20% of event entrants across all domestic events in 2022.

With Women and Girls consisting of 51% of the Scottish population we know there’s still distance to cover and progress to make, and we hope with more projects like Ride The Worlds in the future, it’s possible to hit a true equal split.