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Council withdraws 'sexist' leaflet advertising sportive

Flyer for Stockton Sportive suggests men should go riding... while women go shopping

A council has withdrawn a leaflet advertising a sportive ride after being accused of sexism for a message that suggested that while men go ride their bikes, women can go shopping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 and should be withdrawn.”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

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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38 comments

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anarchy | 9 years ago
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men are faster - generally
Women do go shopping more - generally

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Littlehuan | 9 years ago
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The comments on Road.cc's facebook link to this story are gutter-dwelling sexist sludge. But here we have balance and erudition. Keep up the good work, readers. *sets road.cc as homepage from now on*

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mad_scot_rider | 9 years ago
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I'm with KiwiMike - who in their right mind thought

"yeah, that looks good - let's run it!"

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mooleur | 9 years ago
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I'd planned a big clever and fair post on why I'm on the fence with this one and why it's been approached wrongly etc etc etc etc ....and then I saw the comment on the original article "is it because men are faster?"

All I can think of now is beer-gutted, hairy legged, assos clad merchant bankers, swearing expletives at me under their thinning breaths as I glide past them as they fail to catch my wheel.....which is exactly why I hate most Sportives and exactly proves the point of why this poster is ridiculous.

I'm not here to feed the egos of substandard* sportspeople, nor is any other woman.

*not skills based, I mean substandard in that they are not true sportsmen/people if they behave like this, and need to have words with themselves.

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Super Domestique replied to mooleur | 9 years ago
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mooleur wrote:

All I can think of now is beer-gutted, hairy legged, assos clad merchant bankers, swearing expletives at me under their thinning breaths as I glide past them as they fail to catch my wheel.....which is exactly why I hate most Sportives and exactly proves the point of why this poster is ridiculous.

Thank you Mooleur I nearly emptied a mouthful of coffee over my phone when I read this!

Brilliant.

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stenmeister replied to mooleur | 9 years ago
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mooleur wrote:

All I can think of now is beer-gutted, hairy legged, assos clad merchant bankers, swearing expletives at me under their thinning breaths as I glide past them as they fail to catch my wheel.....which is exactly why I hate most Sportives and exactly proves the point of why this poster is ridiculous.

Yesterday I saw a cyclist in the distance and as I caught him on a climb, he looked just like that. His jacket brand gave him away as well.

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KiwiMike | 9 years ago
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More importantly:

Who gave the brief for the leaflet?
And who signed it off?

I would assume that each of the sponsors - Sustrans, BC/Sky and Stockton Council would all have been given proofs to OK.

If they weren't, Velo29 events just ran a cart/horses through Rule 1 of sponsor management - get approval for anything linked to their brand.

It's not enough to simply have it withdrawn. There should be an analysis of how this garbage ever saw the light of day and process changes to make sure it doesn't happen again.

It could easily have cost a lot more than £514.

And I hope Velo29 are not charging anyone for reworking and reprinting.

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hoski | 9 years ago
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Why did I read the comments on the original news article!?

*smashes head against brick wall*

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