The Bonebell is an ardent supporter of equal payouts for women in bicycle racing. Guidelines have been published that help race promoters make these decisions on how to best serve payouts based on registration criteria. These criteria, whether perceived as positively or negatively, are merely that – guidelines meant to be acknowledged and dealt with at the discretion of the race promoter and the host cycling club or organization. Chicago has had great results come out of grassroots efforts to support the idea and subsequent action to bring parity to payouts for women’s bicycle racing. Whichever way the discussion goes around cycling circles, there is a unanimous agreement within the community that parity is a just and achievable value that everyone supports. Many clubs and businesses have stepped forward in 2012 to ensure this effort continues, and The Bonebell tolls for all of them and everyone who insists on making this cause a fundamental change to future guidelines.

The following statement is from two empowered Chicago bicycle racers – Liz So and Eleanor Blick – who founded and promoted the Chicago Women’s CX Fund.


Chicago Women’s CX Fund to Equalize Elite Payouts at UCI C2 New Year’s Resolution

Fund Guaranteed Equal Payouts throughout 2012 Chicago Cross Cup

The Chicago Women’s CX Fund will equalize the top 10 elite women’s payouts for the 2013 New Year’s Resolution cyclocross weekend, featuring a pair of UCI C2.0 races at the Hilton Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale, Ill., on Saturday and Sunday, January 5 and 6. Race Director Jason Knauff said the race will also match payouts for places 11 through 15.

In the past, the Chicago Cross Cup series guaranteed equal minimum payouts for both elite men and women. Under a new policy for 2012 based on pre-registration levels, the elite men’s purse increased up to three times that of the women’s elite payout. The Chicago Women’s CX Fund was created to bridge the gap and ensure equal payouts for the 2012 season.

The Fund raised $2400 through cash donations and product auctions, thanks to contributions from individuals, cycling teams, bike shops and other retailers. Eleven of the 12 Chicago Cyclocross Cup races met pre-registration levels to raise the elite men’s purse in 2012, for a total of $3405 in additional men’s payouts throughout the season.

Promoters for eight of the 12 series races voluntarily matched the elite women’s purse independent of donations from the Chicago Women’s CX Fund, leaving the Fund to contribute $795 to equalize payouts throughout the season.

In 2012 the Chicago Cross Cup’s elite women’s field saw an exciting boom in popularity. Pre-registration sold out at several races, and of the 12 fields in the series the elite women’s led in growth by percentage for the second straight year. The Chicago Cross Cup will be asking series promoters to scale the women’s elite payouts equally with the men’s elite purse in 2013, and will adjust the race schedule to accommodate the growing women’s field.

The Chicago Women’s CX Fund is ecstatic to use part of its remaining funds to recognize inspirational cyclocross talent at New Year’s Resolution. As Olympian Lea Davison put it on an autographed T-shirt donated to the Fund, “Equal pay for equal play!” The additional remaining funds will be saved for the 2013 season, to ensure equality at Chicago Cross Cup races where promoters decide to increase the elite payouts beyond standard minimum levels.

Liz So – Photo: Edmund White

Eleanor Blick – Photo: Edmund White

  1. […] Chicago Women’s CX Fund was created to raise money during the 2012 cyclocross season to equalize Women’s 123 payouts with […]