A council has withdrawn a leaflet advertising a sportive ride after being accused of sexism for a message that suggested that while men go ride their bikes, women can go shopping instead.
Stockton Borough Council’s flyer featured a picture of a smiling male cyclist* together with the text, “Sarah’s shopping in Stockton with the girls. I’m signed up for Stockton’s Sportive. That’s Saturday sorted.”
The leaflet aimed to encourage participation in the Stockton Velo29-Altura Endeavour Sportive on July 12, which forms part of the Stockton Cycling Festival from 11-13 July.
Cyclists Carole Jones and Yvonne Ramage made a complaint about the leaflet, which reportedly featured only young, male cyclists [presumably there's more to it than the cover shown above - ed]. Besides being sexist, they said it should be more inclusive of older and disabled people, reports the Northern Echo.
Jones, whom the paper says helps run the Cycle Sisters women’s cycling club, said: “Me and my friend, Yvonne, were at the cycle hub centre in Stockton when the leaflets came in.
"At first we just laughed, thinking it was a joke but then we started to take it more seriously. The message of the leaflet is, ‘come cycling if you are a young, affluent male.'
"It’s clear that Mrs Pankhurst’s work is not yet done,” she added, referring to the leader of the Suffragette movement.
Conservative councillor for Yarm, Andrew Sherris, gave his support to the women, saying: “This really is a very poor piece of publicity... and should be withdrawn.”
Stockton Council has done just that, and Ken Dixon, its cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, said: “It was certainly not our intention to imply that women and girls cannot participate in every part of the festival and having listened to the concerns raised, we have decided to withdraw this particular leaflet and produce a redesigned version.”
According to the Northern Echo, £514 had been spent on the leaflets, but they had not been distributed beyond the Stockton cycle hub.
Sustrans regional director Bryn Dowson commented: “We’re pleased that this leaflet will be replaced by one with a more inclusive message.”
• Former Team Raleigh rider Graham Briggs, now with Rapha Condor JLT
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.