Innovation Award for 'Like a Lassie'

27 April 2021

In the strange year that was 2020, Scottish Cycling created a special Award for Innovation. We are delighted that the Like a Lassie project, initiated by the female section of the Edinburgh RC Goodson Race Team, was recognised.

Photo: © Anna Derricourt

There is a well-acknowledge drop-off in teenage cycling participation and this is particularly felt in female sections, where numbers often start lower.

Ride / Race LikeaLassie was set up in March 2020 with the idea of networking all existing U16-A & U14-B female riders in Scotland to share a sense of community and encouragement, and provide advice that was specific to their needs. This was set up by Deeside Thistle and Edinburgh Road Club who had established girls’ sections of approx. 10 riders each but they were particularly keen to include riders who were quite isolated in other clubs. They calculated there were around 40 girls racing across all the disciplines at that time.

The starter event, planned as a social introduction for the riders, but also to ask them about what they needed. This was held in early March, just before lockdown and gathered 32 riders from 11 clubs. It was supported by ERC through the Pippa Handley Fund and held at Queen Margaret College with mentors Katie Archibald, Ishbel Strathdee and Anne Ewing in attendance.

And then Covid stopped play. Plans for further events and support had to be scrapped. But, by using the available tools, we now have a thriving online community and have consistently held a relevant LikeaLassie programme. The weekly Stretch and Socials on Zoom have kept everyone going, with the aim of maintaining healthy minds and bodies. These have been interspersed with Social Zwifts; Ditch Your Parents – Fix Your Own Bike Zoom Workshops; a session on menstrual cycle; and fuelling with swimmer Hannah Miley; ‘The Trouble with Knees’ session with physiotherapist Judith Lane; plus check ins with fantastic mentors such as Katie Archibald and Ishbel Strathdee.

Perhaps the favourite activity was the team challenge where the riders organised themselves into small mixed club teams and worked together remotely to cover a weekly challenge from Strava Art to jersey design to pulling together the perfect back pocket kit. This saw some new friendships and links cemented.

In the short segment of 2020 when clusters allowed, there were some of the largest female attendance at sessions, as girls looked forward to seeing each other, and riding again. In this way, the LikeAlassie project has achieved its aims of encouraging participation and bringing together female youth riders to provide mutual support.

Since 2020, the LikeaLassie community of riders has grown, now regularly bringing together 42 female riders from 12 clubs across Scotland and from all disciplines, and they can’t wait until all can get together once more.

Like a Lassie. Post race

Content from Anna Derricourt