Davina McCall launches new, women-only charity ride for Action Medical Research

Big Brother host bitten by cycling bug on last year's Sport Relief JOGLE ride

by Simon_MacMichael   January 18, 2011  

Davina McCall Davina's DIVA100.jpg

You might remember a little under a year ago, Big Brother host Davina McCall riding from John O’Groats to Land’s End as part of David Walliams team of celebrities that raised more than £1 million for Sport Relief. Well, it seems like the cycling bug has bitten her, with the announcement today that she will be leading a women-only charity ride, called Davina’s DIVA100, in Sussex this May.

Two routes are on offer for the ride that starts and finishes in Midhurst, West Sussex, comprising a 100km challenge ride or a shorter 50km ride, and both are backed by bicycle manufacturer Specialized, with the event aiming not only to encourage more women to get into the saddle but also raise money for Action Medical Research.

McCall, currently presenting Got To Dance on Sky 1 and ITV 1’s The Biggest Loser, says: “I’ve become a cycling bore since then [the Sport Relief ride], but I love it with a passion. It’s an affordable, sociable way to keep fit and doesn’t have to be competitive. Although when Matthew and I go out together it always is!

“I’ve been involved with Action Medical Research since I was a child, but this is my first cycling event for the charity. I hope lots of ladies saddle up and join me for this new fundraiser. It’s going to be a fun day out and a great way to help such a special charity raise much-needed funds. Come on the girls!”

Funds raised through Davina’s DIVA100 will be used for research into conditions affecting babies and children such as meningitis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and premature birth, besides other rare conditions that can severely affect children.

Event manager Sarah Stevenson from Action Medical Research says: “We already put on a range of popular cycling events each year, but the majority of participants are male. We decided to introduce a more female-friendly event to encourage new cyclists to join us. The DIVA100 will be a great day out with the girls and we’re thrilled that Davina will be leading it.”

Specialized is providing full support to the event including producing a free training guide, plus full back-up on the day.

Anne Immelman, Specialized Marketing Manager says: “We are delighted to be associated with Davina’s DIVA100 and Action Medical Research. Our goal is to communicate our passion for cycling to women who may be looking for the next challenge or a good excuse to get back on a bike.

"Davina’s passion for the sport makes her the ideal ambassador for the sport and we are very excited at the prospect of riding alongside her and hundreds of female cyclists.”

Entry to the event costs £28 and participants also need to raise a minimum of £50 in sponsorship. Organisers say that places are limited and early registration is advised.

Details of how to register and the free training guide can be found at www.action.org.uk/davinas_diva100

 

30 user comments

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That's a great idea - I hope they get a good response as it might go some way to showing the potential for growth in women's participation in cycling.

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [311 posts]
18th January 2011 - 17:38

3 Likes

Why isn't this considered discrimination?

Ticktock

posted by Michael5 [121 posts]
18th January 2011 - 18:44

5 Likes

Excluding men from a sporting charity event will more than half the money raised. Angry

Custom built Ribble Sportive - 14.8lbs

posted by catbells [3 posts]
18th January 2011 - 19:10

4 Likes

Well, Action Medical Research run a very full calendar of charity rides and challenge rides the participants for which will be overwhelmingly male - maybe they thought that this might be putting off some potential women riders, especially those who don't ride a bike regularly. British Cycling will also be running some female only charity rides this year… breast cancer charities have been doing female only events for years without any feeling the need to call in the lawyers.

As I said at the top very many sportives are practically male only events as it is.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4167 posts]
18th January 2011 - 19:23

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Michael5 wrote:
Why isn't this considered discrimination?
Brave of you to mention it in these terms Michael, but I guess in cycling the precedent is already set by the pro levels of the sport in that events are split by gender and there's no appetite (or sense) to see this organised in any other way. Women continue to have their own events in many sports, even those where they can participate comfortably (if not truly competitively) side-by-side with men. Golf for example, or shooting.

@catbells - how will excluding men cut in half the money being raised? If a charity ride has limited places and they are all filled exclusively by women, do you really think the income will be half what it would have been otherwise? Now THAT'S discrimination.

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
18th January 2011 - 19:23

3 Likes

I well remember watching (on television) Davina McCall doing her section of the Walliams Sport Relief event and I was very impressed with the courage she showed, I am even more impressed to hear that she has "taken up cycling" on a regular basis. I hope the event is a great success, well done Hinnie.

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [235 posts]
18th January 2011 - 20:00

4 Likes

where one group has been historically disadvantaged, (and many would say still are) then there is a need to provide positive and exclusive activities to address the already unbalanced status quo - hence this is a great activity being spear headed by a great person.

for me - The ride is about adventure, camaraderie and the sense of accomplishment that comes after a long day in the saddle.

Mountain-Nic's picture

posted by Mountain-Nic [119 posts]
18th January 2011 - 21:24

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The 'here' link at the end of the article appears not to go to the right page. Could this be it - http://www.action.org.uk/davinas_diva100

Good on the women, I say. It's a super way to encourage more women to take up the sport and hearing that British Cycling are doing similar is an excellent sign.

Next stop, a women's World Tour and parity with the men.

posted by 5339 [21 posts]
19th January 2011 - 9:34

4 Likes

Thanks 5339 that's the right link - we've added it to the story too

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4167 posts]
19th January 2011 - 11:25

4 Likes

Things like this only perpetuate discrimination

posted by pb4 [5 posts]
19th January 2011 - 11:30

5 Likes

tony_farrelly wrote:

As I said at the top very many sportives are practically male only events as it is.

The fact that many sportives are practically male only events is completely beside the point. Women can take part in these sportives if they wish. men should be allowaed to take part in this event also

posted by pb4 [5 posts]
19th January 2011 - 11:38

4 Likes

No it's not, more women are likely to take part because it's only open to women.

posted by adscrim [117 posts]
19th January 2011 - 11:46

3 Likes

Quote:
The fact that many sportives are practically male only events is completely beside the point. Women can take part in these sportives if they wish. men should be allowaed to take part in this event also

it's probably because of bores like you that the laydeez stay away from the sportives in the first place. lighten up.

posted by piedwagtail [11 posts]
19th January 2011 - 11:46

3 Likes

It is not because of me as I have never entered or been involved in a cycling event in my life.
As you have been the first to be abusive about this why don't you lighten up

posted by pb4 [5 posts]
19th January 2011 - 11:55

4 Likes

Events like this make cycling more accessible to a lot of women who might otherwise miss out on what we know if a fantastically enjoyable and healthy past time and form of transport - that can only be a good thing.

Women don't take part in cycling events or indeed cycle in anything like the numbers men do, and lots of women would probably like to give it a go this is helping them do that. At the moment there is a massive gender gap between men and women in cycling - that surely amounts to de facto discrimination even if it's unintended.

As for discrimination? If this event was in any way breaking the law Action Medical Research wouldn't be doing it and nor would Sport England have given British Cycling a million quid to get more women on bikes - in large part by organising women only rides.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4167 posts]
19th January 2011 - 12:07

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tony_farrelly wrote:

As for discrimination? If this event was in any way breaking the law Action Medical Research wouldn't be doing it and nor would Sport England have given British Cycling a million quid to get more women on bikes - in large part by organising women only rides.

The fact that it is within the law only means that the law is discriminatory in these instances

posted by pb4 [5 posts]
19th January 2011 - 12:13

5 Likes

Completely support women only events. I support my wife on charity runs she does by helping her clear time for training from a busy schedule. Good for her. I am proud that she exercises, I like to think I might have influenced her a little to the good of exercise.

She started with a couple of women-only breast cancer runs and got enough confidence then to do other events. She has been responsible for four or five other school mums running now too. Without the friendly atmosphere of the women only events she might not have got the early encouragement needed. So, all hail charity events and women only is fine by me.

I have also been involved in positive discrimination events in the form of Dad's mornings at nursery and they have been very good too. Generally encouraging the breakdown of 'traditional' roles and so on is something I favour. This includes working only the hours you get paid for:-)

Technically there might not be anything any of the organisers could do legally to enforce a women only event - so I guess all you outraged men above are free to apply and then take it to the courts should you wish. I would be interested to know how you get on, should to you put your money where your mouth is... Would be interested to know if there is any legal basis for this or whether it's just convention and respect for other people's effort and good will that makes an event 'women only'.

A

alotronic's picture

posted by alotronic [314 posts]
19th January 2011 - 12:53

3 Likes

Good on ya Divina!!! To those who have spat the dummy out with cries of disrimination b******s!!! How many sportives take place with a healthy ratio of men and women?? How many women do you meet on training runs??? How many clubs out there are male dominated?? I have no issue in a female only sportive! May they raise plenty of cash and may they turn away many due to the popularity of this particular sportive!! Hopefully this will be a huge step forward in introducing more women to this great sport!

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1073 posts]
19th January 2011 - 13:01

4 Likes

"discrimination (noun) - treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit"

So, there we have it, pb4 is right, Davina's ride is discriminatory. And I'm all for it! It'll guarantee more women get on their bikes than would be this case if this were an 'open' event, and perhaps they'll be tempted to join open rides following that. You've failed to explain where the harm is in that.

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
19th January 2011 - 13:07

2 Likes

One thing that bugs me is why those running events for cancer awareness are for women only. My mother has had breast cancer 3 times and it certainly affected the males in the household, men can also get breast cancer so...why make that women only? I am all for more women taking part in cycling but if there was a 'men only' race started there would be uproar about sexism and discrimination.

TwiggyHo's picture

posted by TwiggyHo [60 posts]
19th January 2011 - 13:49

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TwiggyHo wrote:
One thing that bugs me is why those running events for cancer awareness are for women only. My mother has had breast cancer 3 times and it certainly affected the males in the household, men can also get breast cancer so...why make that women only? I am all for more women taking part in cycling but if there was a 'men only' race started there would be uproar about sexism and discrimination.

Forced to agree with this. I'd like to do my bit for breast cancer charities too.

But, more women are likely to go for it if it's women only. So that's all good.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [496 posts]
19th January 2011 - 14:29

3 Likes

Oh FFS!!

TV presenter in doing something worthwhile shocker and all the men can do is carp. Angry

I wondered who would be stupid enough to cry foul over discrimination and so far the count is 4. Sad

If you're that bothered about not being invited to Davina's charity do and being able to raise money then sign up for one of the other organised cancer rides or do a sportive and get your mates and family to sponsor you or organise one of your own.

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [630 posts]
19th January 2011 - 15:44

2 Likes

Who said only men thought this was a little, well, off?

relaxing

PzychotropicMac's picture

posted by PzychotropicMac [82 posts]
19th January 2011 - 16:01

1 Like

Female here - plenty of women ride with the club I do, plenty ride in sportives and tri's that I do. I think its nice that Davina is doing this but nobody stops women entering other events so why stop men entering this?

TwiggyHo's picture

posted by TwiggyHo [60 posts]
19th January 2011 - 16:04

1 Like

More totty in the sport and tighter buns to admire - Hooray - that's not sexist is it

richdirector's picture

posted by richdirector [55 posts]
19th January 2011 - 16:05

1 Like

It's a similar concept to the Moonwalk, which is a massive women-only event. (As opposed to a massive-women only event. Or a group of females dedicated to letter-writing which would be a missive-women only event, but I digress...)

Don't see them being shut down or even criticised for discrimination. And it's good that there is a cycling version, which might encourage more women to take part in other events.

If you don't like it then organise your own event. There are plenty of charity rides. Or sponsor someone taking part if you want to help.

Honestly, if your reaction to this is concern that males are being excluded from a cycling event, well I think you're beyond help.

And if you've never taken part in any cycling event* then 1. You're hardly qualified to comment and
2. How did you get here ?

*Unless you're an audaxer in which case we understand, you've done dozens of rides and P-B-P twice but never actually spoken to anybody.

Which reminds me of the joke about how you can tell an extroverted audaxer...

He looks at YOUR shoes while he's talking.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [582 posts]
19th January 2011 - 16:21

0 Likes

TwiggyHo wrote:
Female here - plenty of women ride with the club I do, plenty ride in sportives and tri's that I do. I think its nice that Davina is doing this but nobody stops women entering other events so why stop men entering this?

"Plenty" isn't a very exact amount. There might be more in triathlons, never done one of those and it sounds like you're in a club that's good at attracting women, but by no means all are?

As for sportives, I'd say most sportive organisers would think they were doing well if 20 per cent of the entry was female most probably get less than 10 per cent, certainly the few events I've got any inside knowledge of (and which would have loved more women to take part) struggled to get more than that. I'm guessing here but possibly one of the things that puts women off entering these events is that they seem them as being overwhelmingly male so that while nobody actively stops them taking part it's not made an easier either.

The male/female split is also skewed in other forms of cycling too - even London's hire bikes are predominantly used by men.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4167 posts]
19th January 2011 - 17:09

1 Like

Raising money for charity and getting women on bikes can both be seen to be a "good thing" which, like mum and apple pie, nobody can really disagree with. Then there is the law which governs us all, including Davina McCall.

Charity cycle rides have always been open to both sexes, up until now. How many women rode them is irrelevent; they were entitled to enter. If I promoted a charity ride aimed at a men's health issue, exclusive to men riders only, I would be hammered by the cycle pundits such as yourself Tony. Which just goes to show that if you are a TV personality with a pretty face the chattering classes will overlook your breaking the law and demonise anyone who comments ctitically on it.

Forget cycling; this does not make for a good society.

posted by Apple Tree [12 posts]
19th January 2011 - 20:06

2 Likes

Apple Tree wrote:

Charity cycle rides have always been open to both sexes, up until now.

Cycle rides maybe but then that's a bit self-fulfilling isn't it - male-dominated sport so who would think to do a female event.

You may be familiar with 'Mo-vember' - it's quite popular in Australia, where men don't shave their moustache in November and raise money for cancer charities. Not many women take part in that.

The Moonwalk raises around 9 million pounds each year. Some men take part but it is aimed at and mostly women. As noted above, no doubt they wouldn't stop you joining the women's ride, although you'd have to deal with the ignominy of being chicked many times over.

There are also a number of Moonlight walks which are women only and raise money for hospice care. No doubt the ladies of Chorley will be shocked to hear that their efforts in raising hundreds of thousands pounds for palliative care have been so detrimental to society. If only the Women's Institute knew the damage they have caused, they'd choke on their quince jelly.

I hope they stop immediately and cancel all further fundraising attempts until a committee of equal opportunity experts has certified that they have not offended anyone, anywhere by their anti-social behaviour.

And in future I suggest no celebrities be permitted to attend events unless heavily disguised. I intend to petition the government to establish a National Dull People Register whereby only approved people with no interest to anyone will be able to become charity patrons.

Damn Davina and her evil plans - we'll stop her.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [582 posts]
20th January 2011 - 4:06

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According to a Sustrans spokesman (ahem..person) on the radio last week women are the key to increasing cycle journey's in the UK as they are more effective as a pressure group and tend to encourage wider family participation - rather than sneak out on the Sunday morning in small groups and pretend they're pros.

I suspect that apart from the intimidation from motor vehicles on the roads we all suffer from, women are put off commuting by bike as it's not just a question of arriving at work, dabbing on extra Sure Extra dry, smoothing down your hair and going straight into a meeting. Completely understandable.

Club rides seem to be a hassle for women for two reasons: You can't really take a leak at the side of the road as men do, and you have to put up with tired male repartee and them staring at your arse until you can get another woman to join. At which point you both have to put up with the repartee and staring...

I have to cycle alongside blokes every weekend listening to their tired BS about fictitious races they've been in where they averaged 30 mph, their opinion on football, and why their bike is better than yours- and I am a bloke! Out of a membership of over 80 we have just two women in our club. One is an ex pro married to an ex pro and can beat 99% of the club with little effort - so she's considered behind her back to be a man pretending to be a woman. Ho ho... The other probably wears earplugs and hangs back to avoid puncturing any egos.

If Davina builds up women only sportives, acts as an example to my young daughter and inspires her to take up cycling for fitness I will be delighted.

I would be equally delighted in 5-10 years time to be out on a club run and passed at speed by an all woman group who kick our collective arse.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1099 posts]
14th March 2011 - 18:05

3 Likes