A growing number of women are taking to cycling for recreation and transport. Female-only biking groups are becoming a familiar sight around suburban Auckland. One of them is the Lady Gang.

Lucy Handford joined the group six months ago after moving to New Zealand from the UK.

She loved that it let cyclists go at their own speed, rather than having to keep up with the pace set by men.

"It's probably got me more into cycling," she said.


"You get to know people and get to know Auckland while getting fit. It's the whole package."

Cyclist Jessica Rose, 37, who describes herself as a "lady bike advocate", is passionate about getting more people behind the handlebars.

"Riding a bike is just like walking but even less effort. Because of that you can wear anything. You don't need a special sports uniform."

Cycling Action Network spokesman Patrick Morgan said a city can judge the quality of its cycling by the gender mix of people on bikes. The main reason people don't cycle is a lack of decent bike lanes combined with a fear of traffic.

"If you don't see any women on bikes you've probably got pretty crap cycling infrastructure."

AT cycle and walking manager Kathryn King said New Zealand still has a low number compared to Dutch and Danish cities where up to 70 per cent of cyclists are women.

"It's quite amazing. You see parents with kids on their bikes and huge amounts of bike parking outside shops."

She said AT is considering targeting certain demographics in Auckland suburbs close to good cycling infrastructure. One of the first areas they will look at is the north-western cycle way, which has 160,000 people who live nearby it, King said.

Rose understands why some women still haven't taken up cycling. She thought lady riders had increased by a "bajillion per cent" in the past four years, and hopes that will grow.

On your bike


Auckland Transport says there are nearly 100,000 female cyclists in the City of Sails, compared with more than 140,000 men.

Women bike regularly.