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.