The People who Coffeeneur: Participation Rates of Women and Men

As I looked through the coffeeneuring submissions, I thought it might be fun to share a few more facts about the 2012 coffeeneuring community. So hang onto your helmets and be prepared to be wowed by my data mining skills.

Julie S. coffeeneurs (c) Julie S.
Julie S. coffeeneurs (c) Julie S.

The first topic I thought I’d cover is the participation of women versus men in the challenge.

This is of interest to me because

  1. I am a woman; and
  2. Women currently make up far less of the general cycling population than men.
Miriam and Katrin go coffeeneuring in Minnesota (c) Charlie T.
Miriam and Katrin go coffeeneuring in Minnesota (c) Charlie T.

On its website, Bikes Belong mentions a 2009 study by the Department of Transportation that found women made up about 24 percent of total bicycling trips in the United States. The site notes another statistic from Scientific American stating that men’s cycling trips surpass women’s by at least 2-to-1. I wondered how the coffeeneuring participation rate of men versus women would measure up by comparison. Would it, like these studies, also reflect a much higher rate of male versus female participation?

The answer is “no.” The 2012 Coffeeneuring Challenge data show that both men and women like to coffeeneur.

Women and Men - Coffeeneurs

While more men than women participated in the challenge, the difference between the two groups was not great. Of the 62 total participants, 29 were women and 33 men. Overall, a fairly balanced participation rate existed between the genders.

Patti and George, Coffeeneuring in Delaware (c) Patti B.
Patti and George, Coffeeneuring in Delaware (c) Patti B.

A look at participation outside of the United States shows a total of six coffeeneurs, five women and one man. Of course, the participation rate outside of the United States only amounted to ten percent of total coffeeneurs, but it did surprise me that all except one were women.

International Coffeeneurs - Men and Women

What is it about the Coffeeneuring Challenge that encouraged such a high participation rate among women, when the average number of cycling trips in the made by women compared to men in the U.S. is 24 percent?

I don’t know the demographics of the blog’s readership by gender, but perhaps more women than men read it, meaning more women than men were aware of the challenge.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I identified ten two-person teams that coffeeneured together, and all of these were co-ed. Could it be that there is a social aspect of the challenge that appeals to women? Maybe the appeal of a bike ride with a steaming hot beverage in a local coffee shop as the destination equally appeals to both genders? If you have any thoughts on the matter, I’d love to read them.

S.R. Coffeeneurs in Pittsburgh, PA (c) S.R.
S.R. Coffeeneurs in Pittsburgh, PA (c) S.R.

I’m ecstatic that so many people took on the 2012 Coffeeneuring Challenge, and that both women and men  wanted to be part of it.


  1. My other half thinks that because women are more sociable creatures – more women cyclists blog than male ones, more cyclists that are women read blogs and thus that could be why there was a high female participant rate.
    I know I read more ladies’ blogs on my watch list. So he could be right.


  2. I agree with Georgie about the blogging thing. I also wonder what “trips” meant in that 2009 study. Since only about half of all bike use is for utility as opposed to recreation (according to another study cited at that link), it would interesting to see the demographic breakdown for utility trips.


  3. I’ve recently been told that the internet said (how’s that for a weasel-word attribution?) that women bicyclists are considered an “indicator species for rational behavior”.

    Which is to say, when the environment for cycling in a particular activity is rational and safe, women will do it. When you see women riding a route, or commuting along a city-pair, it means the activity is rational.

    So I wonder if this means that for these people, in these places, riding your bike for a cuppa is a rational behavior and not a random act of quirk courage.


  4. In my case, I was responsible for my husband coffeeneuring. He would never have done it without me dragging him along. I wonder how many of the couples who completed the challenge had one or the other as the driving force behind it?


  5. If my wife and daughter are any guide, women are drawn to sporting activities that are social and pleasurable rather than merely competitive.


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