HER Outdoors Week: Empowering women through cycling and adventure

By We Love Cycling

There’s something inherently liberating about the great outdoors – the wind in your hair, the scent of nature in the air, and the thrill of exploring new terrains. This August, Sport Ireland welcomed HER Outdoors Week, an initiative now in its third year, which aims to encourage women and girls across the country to get outdoors and try something new.

The mission

HER Outdoors Week is a fantastic initiative that didn’t take long to make waves in the Irish sporting community. Its mission is simple yet profound: to encourage women and girls to ‘Find Your Outdoors.’ Through a combination of activities, it empowers females to embrace nature, stay active, and – perhaps most importantly – have an absolute blast while doing it!

Research from the Irish Sports Monitor has also indicated that there continues to be a gender gap in sports participation, with 45% of males participating in sports compared to 38% of females. These statistics prove the need for initiatives like HER Outdoors Week, to encourage more women and girls to engage in sports and outdoor activities across the board.

New horizons

This year, HER Outdoors Week took things up a notch with the introduction of a thrilling pilot programme called ‘Bike & Boat.’ Thanks to new funding, women and girls had the golden opportunity to dip their toes into two exciting worlds: kayaking and mountain biking.

What’s important to remember is that HER Outdoors Week isn’t just about exhilarating sporting action; it’s also about fostering a sense of community and support among women. Across Ireland, various clubs and groups have been championing female participation in sport, catering to enthusiasts of all levels.

These clubs aren’t just about hardcore competition; they’re about camaraderie, shared experiences, and the joy of sport. Cycling Ireland’s Women’s Commission is a voluntary group who are focused on promoting female participation across all cycling disciplines.

Top tips for women who are interested in getting into cycling

If you’re feeling the call of the open road or the urge to conquer a mountain trail, here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Start slow

Begin with short, flat rides and gradually increase your distance and difficulty. Deciding on your own goals is really important as it helps you to maintain momentum, and allows you to adjust to being in the saddle.

2. Choose the right bike carefully

Invest in a bike that suits your needs and fits you well. The right bike can make all the difference, so if you’re unsure, be sure to chat to an expert at your local bike shop who will be happy to help.

3. Consider joining a club

Why not think about joining a local cycling club or group? They’re a fantastic source of guidance and motivation, with the Women on Wheels programme just one fine example. This is a group-led Bike for Life programme aimed at women new to life in the saddle, where cyclists are introduced to various skills and techniques involved in cycling.

4. Use an app or cycling resource

There are so many cycling apps out there on the market, both free and paid for, which can help you along on your cycling journey. We’ve shortlisted the best cycling apps, so you don’t have to. There are also lots of fantastic free resources online, from the articles, tips and tricks found here on We Love Cycling, to the whole host of other cycling magazines and digital hubs you can find online and in store.

5. Wear the correct gear

It’s super important you have a good quality cycling helmet from a safety perspective, but other items such as a cycling jacket and cycling gloves are also advantageous to make your rides as comfortable as possible. Take a look at our must-have autumn cycling wear for women to equip you in the months ahead!


The wonderful world of cycling is open to all, and there’s a supportive community waiting to welcome you. Check out our list of some of the Irish cycling groups situated across all four corners to help you with your own research!