Sense Prevails At HSBC National Cycling Centre

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So you’d think that with all the shenanigans, reports, allegations and general PR disasters that have been hitting the news, staff at British Cycling and the HSBC National Cycling Centre might just be on the extra beady eyed lookout, double-check everything, super sensitive filter setting? Right? Well…

Somewhere in the depths of the offices, it might have gone like this:

-We’re going to launch a mountain bike skills course for women. Now what might we call it? Hmm…how about #MTBChicks?

-Yes, it’s Easter (although the course runs until the end of June), that might sound good. Chicks. Let’s play some word association before we put that idea through the thought actuator:





-Maybe that’s not such a good idea. Maybe we’ll think of something else? Thought bombs anyone?

Apparently though, this didn’t happen. And so #MTBChicks was born. Soon the obvious suggestion was made that it was unlikely that an equivalent men’s #MTBCocks would be running.

Valiantly, staff attempted to explain that it wasn’t intended to be a patronising or sexist course title:

“I’m Sian, the lead MTB and BMX coach at the NCC – hello! Thanks for reaching out. In no way, shape or form do we want our #MTBChicks campaign to be seen as sexist! Quite the contrary. Here at the HSBC NCC, we want to nurture our growing community of female cyclists and our tongue-in-cheek campaign name reflects how we (as a group of female cyclists) refer to ourselves. There’s a strong MTB Chicks community on the www too, and we are proud to be a part of it!”

“Apologies for the offence we may have caused. We are big advocates of cycling here at our centre, despite gender or sex. Thank you for raising your concern and we will always continue to promote and work towards closing the gap between women and men in cycling.”

But come this morning, another meeting appeared to have been held, as the course was rebranded:

“we listened, the campaign is now #MTBWomen. We really appreciate your feedback, on behalf of the team, thank you.”

So, if you’d like to go on a course to learn a whole bunch of useful skills (and speaking to people who have been on similar courses at the National Cycling Centre in the past, it sounds like it should be well worth doing), hop on over here and get yourself booked on. It starts with a taster session this weekend, and in later weeks you can learn bike maintenance and map reading skills as well as MTB skills. At just £3 a session, this is a bargain, and well worth taking advantage of if you live within striking distance of Manchester.

Hannah Dobson

Hannah came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. Having worked in policy and project management roles at the Scottish Parliament and in local government, Hannah had organisational skills that SIngletrack needed. She also likes bikes, and likes to write.

Hannah likes all bikes, but especially unusual ones. If it’s a bit odd, or a bit niche, or made of metal, she’s probably going to get excited. If it gets her down some steep stuff, all the better. She’ll give most things a go once, she tries not to say no to anything on a bike, unless she really thinks it’s going to hurt. She’s pretty good with steri-strips.

More than bikes, Hannah likes what bikes do. She thinks that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments.

Hannah tries to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

Comments (4)

    I’m signed up for the mixed sex course #MTBChicksWithDicks

    MTBCocks does have a certain ring to it… 🙂

    i am of the opinion that sense went out the window when they changed the name.

    Have you let the FB group MTBChixandtrails know how offensive their name is?

    Has anyone remarked that naming these things must always feel like walking on eggshells?

    Anyway, why are they on Facebook? Surely MTB Chicks should be tweeting.

    I’ll get my plumage.

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