So it’s perhaps no wonder then that many women don’t regularly participate in sports such as cycling. In fact there are over 700,000 more inactive women than men in England alone, and nearly 60% of girls aren’t meeting recommended exercise guidelines, according to womeninsport.org.
As a cycling brand founded by a male and a female, offering equal men’s and women’s ranges that are each the result of dedicated time and attention is a fundamental part of our identity. But we also think it’s just as fundamental to outwardly showcase cycling as a space for all through our images and storytelling.
We also believe having strong role models is one crucial part of encouraging participation. You have to see it to want to be it.
Which is why it’s a no-brainer for us to support amazing women like the InternationElles.
In the run-up to their epic challenge (more about that below), we launch the Tough as Elle campaign.
A mantra of empowerment. A declaration that we stand in solidarity with tough women.
A campaign to raise awareness of the awesome work the InternationElles are doing to highlight the inequalities still present in our sport and encourage more women to regularly ride bikes or simply be more active.
Let’s empower women to know they’re tough, strong and capable.
Tough as Her. Tough as Them. Tough as Elle.
To launch the campaign, we’ve created a collection of Off Bike products bearing the Tough As Elle slogan for all those who want to get behind the message and stand in solidarity with strong women. The collection is available now on our store.
Please note that all items are made to order and take about 10 days to print.
TOUGH AS ELLE: FROM THE TOUR DE FRANCE TO GUINNESS WORLD RECORD CHASING
Three years ago we joined forces with a newly forming team of women from around the world who were making it their mission to head to France and ride the entire Tour a day ahead of the male pros. Their aim: to demand more equal opportunities for women on bikes - including a women’s stage race equivalent to the Tour de France.
The InternationElles finishing their Tour on Paris's Champs-Élysées in 2019
In 2020, the pandemic forced them to take their campaign online and they virtually cycled the distance of the Tour de France as a team relay, followed by a group Everesting challenge.
Now, three years and three evolutions of their team kit later, we’re finally hearing details of the new Tour de France Femmes - an eight-stage women’s tour set to take place in July 2022. Organisers the ASO have guaranteed live coverage on TV and online. It’s a huge moment for women’s cycling and thanks in no small part to the work of the InternationElles and their French counterparts Donnons Des Elles Au Vélo.
Above the team during their 2020 Everesting challenge, and below the 2019 team with members of Donnons Des Elles Au Vélo and a young fan. (Top photo by George Galbraith)
So what’s next? This news is a fantastic step in the right direction, but the gap between men’s and women’s cycling is currently still gaping - from grassroots participation to prize pots for pros. And so the InternationElles will carry on their mission to highlight the inequalities still present in the sport while hopefully inspiring more women and girls to ride bikes.
This year, four of the UK team members will be taking on a cycling World Record Attempt - aiming to become the fastest four-cyclist relay from Lands End to John O’Groats. The goal is 48 hours for the 1,349km.
They'll then be headed back down the UK on an eight-day long tour, riding a different stage each day. If you'd like to join them for a stage of the tour, you can find more info about the routes over on their website, and follow the adventure live on Instagram page.
L-R: Jess, Louise, Jules and Rhian, who are this year aiming to break a Guinness World Record for the fastest four-cyclist relay from Land's End to John O'Groats