Advertising to Female Cyclists

The May 15 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News had an article by Megan Tompkins about advertising to female cyclists and how the industry can do a better job of appealing to them.

The gist of the article was that the industry markets to men. Advertising is peppered with rain, dirt, agony, sweat and misery. Just the kind of stuff that makes men want to buy! And typically the kind of imagery that turns women off.

Elysa Walk from Giant Bicycle noted ,”The visual cues that trigger emotional response in men and women are different. We market to men.”

I flipped through some magazines and picked out a few ads that speak to this issue.

Apparently the only part of this rider not ripped to shreds is his crotch, thanks to his saddle.

Selle Italia

Who doesn’t like Spartacus? But will this really attract the newbie rider who thought cycling was going to be about enjoying a jaunt with friends?


Even the sunglass companies have jumped on the pain bandwagon…and the gram bandwagon.


Here are some ads from companies who seem to “get it”. If the bicycle industry is indeed leaving $2 billion on the table by failing to appeal to women, as the article states, then these companies see the payoff.

Norco is a Canadian company. Two women, one man. How daring.


This is one page of a two page ad by Felt. Woman and men feature equally — just enjoying a good ride through some beautiful country.


SRAM’s ad shows their recognition of the fairer sex. Every woman can relate to this cyclist.


Will the bicycle industry ever figure this out? Maybe they fear losing their male audience if they produce ads that appeal to women. I think they can have their cake and eat it, too. It’s just a matter of willpower. Something that seems to be in short supply.

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2 comments on “Advertising to Female Cyclists
  1. ladyfleur says:

    The beauty of the ads by Norco and Felt is that they’re not specifically marketing to women. They’re marketing to a style of riding and a motivation for riding that crosses genders. I know plenty of male riders who would identify with “the adventure begins here” and “what drives you” more than “too hard to die” and sufferfaces.

    I don’t know what it will take for the bike industry to broaden its messages more, but frankly the sufferface marketing turns me off so thoroughly that it leaves me wide open for brands that respects my many styles of riding. And believe me, I have $$ to spend and a n+1 approach to bicycles.

  2. Kayte says:

    I may be two years late to this particular blog post – however, what I’m about to say still applies to me.

    I wish there was women sufferfaces. That first ad would speak to me on such a deep level if it was a woman instead of some dude. I love the “too hard to fail” idea. I’m just so sick of being the only woman in the world who apparently resonates with that.

    So yes, more diversification, but I don’t want it only in one direction.

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  1. […] riders to the sport, nor to sell new bikes and equipment to the existing riders. Georgena Terry wrote about it on her blog and I agree […]

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