Author Topic: Female Friendly Audax.  (Read 5241 times)

Female Friendly Audax.
« on: May 14, 2019, 10:44:17 pm »
I'd be quite interested to know female participation rates in Audax, and the rates of validation.

The most accessible statistics are from PBP with a Female DNF rate of 28.5% in 2015, and a Male DNF rate of 18.4%. I did wonder if those DNF rates were representative of DNF rates in the qualifiers.

In notional cohorts of 100 women and 100 men starting in the 200 qualifiers. How many men and how many women would be left if those relative DNF rates applied throughout the qualifying SR series?

I've actually no idea of what the gendered representation and DNF rates are. I'm assuming that relative representation and validation rates will vary with the 'difficulty' of the rides.

The PBP course is a 'given'. But weather conditions aren't, nor are the conditions in the home countries of the participants. It's interesting to think what 'equal' representation would consist of.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2019, 11:51:05 pm »
Maybe I'm not representative. I'd been in Audax more than two years and was SR X 2 before I had my first DNF.

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2019, 08:30:40 am »
The female DNF rate for a lot of longer qualifiers will be either 0% or 100%, or in some cases a divide-by-zero error.

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2019, 09:11:31 am »
The participation rates are dismal. In the Netherlands for the current season, we have 1014 homologations of which 46 are female. Last season: 79 females out of 1231 homologations (data from:https://randonneurs.nl/palmares/homologaties-2019/ and https://www.randonneurs.nl/palmares/homologaties-2/. The actual number is a bit higher since not all women bother to change the field in the registration form from "male" (which is the default option) to "female". These are the finishers, of course, but I don't have the impression that the DNF-rate is higher for women. In fact, at my own events so far men are more likely to DNF than women.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2019, 10:23:58 am »
Have to say coming back from a Belgian 400 I noted that there wasn't a single woman riding. Talking with women in my club who swerve long Audaxes for safety/confidence reasons (poor access to toilets and fear of being alone late at night in the middle of nowhere among them) I could see why.
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Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2019, 10:58:53 am »
The participation rates are dismal. In the Netherlands for the current season, we have 1014 homologations of which 46 are female. Last season: 79 females out of 1231 homologations (data from:https://randonneurs.nl/palmares/homologaties-2019/ and https://www.randonneurs.nl/palmares/homologaties-2/. The actual number is a bit higher since not all women bother to change the field in the registration form from "male" (which is the default option) to "female". These are the finishers, of course, but I don't have the impression that the DNF-rate is higher for women. In fact, at my own events so far men are more likely to DNF than women.

I notice that times are published for Audax in NL. So that gives additional  data that we don't have in the UK. The only instance we have of available times are the 24 hour Time Trials. They have a strong tradition of encouraging female participation, and they have no cut-off time.

I've generally had the impression that the USA has had the highest rate of female participation at PBP. That's another instance where times are published. US women have 'won' the PBP a number of times, so they may be recruiting from a different demographic, possibly triathletes.

UK audaxes have evolved away from main road routes, as has PBP, for reasons of safety. I think that makes them more difficult, as there are fewer long periods of group riding. There's also been a focus on climbing as a measure of difficulty. I wonder if that shift to 'harder' rides is partly driven by the lack of published times.

I can't easily see how we could shift the focus of audax to flatter roads with more opportunities for drafting, as the roads have generally got busier. There are some suitable roads, but they tend to be in remote areas. The alternative might be longer time limits, but that goes against the perception of technical progress in cycle construction and in navigation technology.

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2019, 11:26:21 am »
Please bear with me, I'm an incomer.

I did my first Audax a few weeks ago. Underground, Overground in Yorkshire. An almost flat 50 miles (Thanks Dean).
Run at the same time as 3 far more difficult routes. Friendly welcome and advice, tearoom and toilet stops.
Parts I rode in company, parts by myself.  It made a nice change to be with other riders, not often possible where I live.
That's the way to get women started!


I'm in awe of the folks doing the tougher routes.
I know the ethos of Audax is long distance, but you have to start somewhere.  I have a much hillier 100km audax lined up for next week, first of a series of three, and to be honest I don't see myself riding anything longer (I am in my seventies).
This one does go past my house...

Running a shorter route alongside a "proper" audax should attract more beginners of all sorts, without too much extra work?
Some of them will go on to longer routes.  Some, like me will not, but I could well become a helper at another event.

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2019, 11:27:05 am »
The most accessible statistics are from PBP with a Female DNF rate of 28.5% in 2015, and a Male DNF rate of 18.4%. I did wonder if those DNF rates were representative of DNF rates in the qualifiers.

On LEL 2013, if I remember correctly,  6% of the riders at the start were female, but 7% of finishers were female, which suggests a lower DNF rate for women!

A

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2019, 11:39:51 am »
The most accessible statistics are from PBP with a Female DNF rate of 28.5% in 2015, and a Male DNF rate of 18.4%. I did wonder if those DNF rates were representative of DNF rates in the qualifiers.

On LEL 2013, if I remember correctly,  6% of the riders at the start were female, but 7% of finishers were female, which suggests a lower DNF rate for women!

A

I'd count LEL as a ride which incorporates long sections of road suitable for drafting.

LEL 2017 had an element of positive discrimination for female participation. The feedback I got was that LEL 2017 was 'harder', due to the inclusion of the Lincolnshire Wolds. So I'd be interested in the LEL 2017 stats.

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2019, 01:10:43 pm »
I'd be quite interested to know female participation rates in Audax, and the rates of validation.

I suspect it would be difficult to come by this as organisers aren't required to record the gender of riders/finishers.  (Some may, of course.)
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

Bianchi Boy

  • Cycling is my doctor
  • Is it possible for a ride to be too long?
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Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2019, 01:21:58 pm »
Can someone please explain how we can change a 400km event through the isolated uninhabited North of Scotland to make it "female friendly". It is like saying we will make marathon running more appropriate for women FFS what are we talking about?

BB

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Set a fire for a man and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he is warm for the rest of his life.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2019, 01:35:30 pm »
Can someone please explain how we can change a 400km event through the isolated uninhabited North of Scotland to make it "female friendly". It is like saying we will make marathon running more appropriate for women FFS what are we talking about?

Who described that event as female unfriendly?

I'm looking at the description of the event, and the GPX route now. The main reason I'd have for not doing it is that it's a bloody long way away. The second reason would be that it's a very early start. I don't think either of those is effected by my gender.

The participation rates are dismal. In the Netherlands for the current season, we have 1014 homologations of which 46 are female. Last season: 79 females out of 1231 homologations (data from:https://randonneurs.nl/palmares/homologaties-2019/ and https://www.randonneurs.nl/palmares/homologaties-2/. The actual number is a bit higher since not all women bother to change the field in the registration form from "male" (which is the default option) to "female". These are the finishers, of course, but I don't have the impression that the DNF-rate is higher for women. In fact, at my own events so far men are more likely to DNF than women.

My bold.

The form on the randonneurs NL site is not exactly well designed. I'd entered 3 events before I noticed that there was a symbol I could click on and change from a male symbol to a female symbol. It's a pretty poor UI choice. I don't know if my gender has been corrected on the rides that I did do, before I realised that was on the form. I really should feedback this to who ever it is that sorts the website, but seeing as I've sent far too many naggy emails to the board recently, I'd like to give it a while before opening yet another can or worms...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2019, 01:39:37 pm »
Can someone please explain how we can change a 400km event through the isolated uninhabited North of Scotland to make it "female friendly". It is like saying we will make marathon running more appropriate for women FFS what are we talking about?

I think in those contexts we're mostly talking about society's attitude to women being on their own or participating in physical activity, rather than the events themselves.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

S2L

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2019, 01:51:39 pm »
Can someone please explain how we can change a 400km event through the isolated uninhabited North of Scotland to make it "female friendly". It is like saying we will make marathon running more appropriate for women FFS what are we talking about?

BB

Sent from my H8216 using Tapatalk

The way I see it is that anything above 200 km is very niche, requires an out of the ordinary mindset and appeals to a very slim section of the pedalling population. I am confident less than 1% of those who define themselves "cyclists" have a desire for such things.

The backbone of Audax in the UK are BP and BR 200, they are are bigger in number and in participation. Neither generally involve night riding, with a few seasonal exceptions... if you can't rack up a gender balance that reflects that of your local cycling club on a BP, then you are doing something wrong, whereas if you can, than that's as much as you can do.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2019, 01:54:53 pm »
Can someone please explain how we can change a 400km event through the isolated uninhabited North of Scotland to make it "female friendly". It is like saying we will make marathon running more appropriate for women FFS what are we talking about?

BB

Sent from my H8216 using Tapatalk

The way I see it is that anything above 200 km is very niche, requires an out of the ordinary mindset and appeals to a very slim section of the pedalling population. I am confident less than 1% of those who define themselves "cyclists" have a desire for such things.

The backbone of Audax in the UK are BP and BR 200, they are are bigger in number and in participation. Neither generally involve night riding, with a few seasonal exceptions... if you can't rack up a gender balance that reflects that of your local cycling club on a BP, then you are doing something wrong, whereas if you can, than that's as much as you can do.

Well said. Wish I could put it as well as you did.

Thank you

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2019, 01:56:52 pm »
The gender balance of Fridays rides (which isn't 50:50, but it's a lot higher than I've seen outside specifically women-only cycling events) would suggest that night riding per se isn't the barrier people tend to think it is.  I reckon the main differences between a FNRttC and a typical BP are the riding as a group (with what that implies for navigation, mechanicals, perceptions of personal safety, etc), and the time of day potentially being more compatible with family commitments.

I also note that the FNRttC is a gateway drug to audax, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to encourage Long Distance Cycling by doing things that aren't Long Distance Cycling.  See Flite's comment above. (Welcome, BTW.  I was the one at the back on the Brompton.)
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

S2L

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2019, 02:15:45 pm »
The gender balance of Fridays rides (which isn't 50:50, but it's a lot higher than I've seen outside specifically women-only cycling events) would suggest that night riding per se isn't the barrier people tend to think it is.  I reckon the main differences between a FNRttC and a typical BP are the riding as a group (with what that implies for navigation, mechanicals, perceptions of personal safety, etc), and the time of day potentially being more compatible with family commitments.

I also note that the FNRttC is a gateway drug to audax, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to encourage Long Distance Cycling by doing things that aren't Long Distance Cycling.  See Flite's comment above. (Welcome, BTW.  I was the one at the back on the Brompton.)

I have done a few BP lately, as I got increasingly concerned about the travelling and long absences from home that 300+ brevets involve. I also got a bit tired of hanging out with bizarre characters, at the edge between sanity and insanity. DIY rides seem to achieve the same net result with none of the above mentioned drawbacks.

More to the point, At BPs I have seen a healthy number of female riders (healthy by cycling standards, so maybe 10-20%)

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2019, 02:29:42 pm »
More to the point, At BPs I have seen a healthy number of female riders (healthy by cycling standards, so maybe 10-20%)

That matches my experience.  The Fridays tend to do somewhat better.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2019, 03:26:49 pm »
I can only speak from my own experience YMMV

There has already been a "female friendly" version of Hellfire Corner - albeit travelling in the opposite direction - Steve Carroll's National 400 in 2015

Regular village hall controls meant there were no "toilet issues" - and I even found a public toilet open at 5am in Rogarth (I don't know if the council still leave them unlocked overnight, presumably there is less of a problem with people using them as shooting galleries than in the cities)

I was also attracted to the idea of a large field, increasing the likelihood of having company overnight - I don't mind riding on my own during the day, but prefer company when it's dark.

I know the national 400s take a huge amount of effort so there is no criticism at the lack just now.
Audax Ecosse - always going too far

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2019, 03:35:42 pm »
I also got a bit tired of hanging out with bizarre characters, at the edge between sanity and insanity.

When I was most comfortable doing audaxes, I was what's known in Time Trialling as a middlemarker.

Quote
Scratch - Any rider that has a 25 mile time trial time of less than 1 hour in the last three seasons. This will have been entered on the entry form so the organiser will know who they are in advance.
 
Middlemarker - The middle of the pack !  These guys and girls have an existing 25 mile time of between 1:00:00 and 1:04:00 or you have estimate a time between these 'markers'.
 
Longmarker - anyone with a time, either actual or estimated, which is outside of 1:04:00.
 

A woman doing the same speeds might well be on the ladies podium. If she was on the podium in an open club event, she might be in the national team.

The best way for women to get fit enough for long audaxes is to ride with a club who ride fast, but are considerate. VC 167 are good for that at present. Anne Smith and Angela Walker are VC167 riders who did the North Scottish 400 last weekend.
http://www.aukweb.net/results/detail/this/listevent/?Ride=19-455

I've seen very capable women from other clubs, Kingston seem very good in the London area.

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2019, 04:12:08 pm »
Let's say I'm organising a brand new event.

What do I do to make it a "female-friendly event"?

Feel free to suggest things based on distance (e.g. "if it's only a 50/100/200 do this but if it's 300+ do this...")
You're only as successful as your last 1200...

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small just Far Away at the back
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2019, 04:12:46 pm »
I can only speak from my own experience YMMV

There has already been a "female friendly" version of Hellfire Corner - albeit travelling in the opposite direction - Steve Carroll's National 400 in 2015

Regular village hall controls meant there were no "toilet issues" - and I even found a public toilet open at 5am in Rogarth (I don't know if the council still leave them unlocked overnight, presumably there is less of a problem with people using them as shooting galleries than in the cities)

I was also attracted to the idea of a large field, increasing the likelihood of having company overnight - I don't mind riding on my own during the day, but prefer company when it's dark.

I know the national 400s take a huge amount of effort so there is no criticism at the lack just now.

Not sure what the scope of the toilet issues are, the highlands is probably the most provisioned area of scotland with public toilets, particularly along the north coast.
https://www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/file/19144/map_of_toilets_in_highland


But then obviously I'm a bloke so...

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2019, 04:22:18 pm »
Achmelvich is my personal favourite. I'm looking for a project, I could visit them all.

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2019, 04:28:28 pm »


Not sure what the scope of the toilet issues are, the highlands is probably the most provisioned area of scotland with public toilets, particularly along the north coast.
https://www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/file/19144/map_of_toilets_in_highland


But then obviously I'm a bloke so...

Excellent! I think I'll print this out for the north coast 600!

Wobbly - perhaps the first thing for your event would be to attach a map of toilet facilities!
Audax Ecosse - always going too far

S2L

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2019, 04:31:10 pm »
Let's say I'm organising a brand new event.

What do I do to make it a "female-friendly event"?

Feel free to suggest things based on distance (e.g. "if it's only a 50/100/200 do this but if it's 300+ do this...")

Most events in the calendar are not "newcomer friendly", let alone female friendly.
Things like "The control has changed from last year" or an avalanche of acronyms "WI run control " "VH control", POP at Crapham,  EOL with a £2 surcharge, to avoid the hassle of having to populate fields with words are not cool and not informative.

Don't rely on a single capital letter to explain the toilet or food arrangements at HQ (oh dear I just did it) or along the way.

Move on from the status quo that anything beyond the greasiest spoon in the county is posh: younger cyclists and women in particular are actually health conscious.

And make it bulletproof clear that there is indeed a GPX file and it's easy to use without a plethora of disclaimers

Create a webpage describing the event with photos of the amazing places riders will visit and what to expect and why your event is particularly welcoming for newcomers and the ideal event to step up to xxx distance.

Or just ask Liam how he does it