A LEAFLET branded "sexist" by cycling enthusiasts has now been withdrawn by a council.

It showed a photograph of a smiling male cyclist under the phrase  “Sarah’s shopping in Stockton with the girls. I’m signed up for Stockton’s Sportive. That’s Saturday sorted.”

The flyer, designed and distributed by Stockton Borough Council to promote Stockton Cycling Festival, depicted young male cyclists, one a boy.

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Two women cycle enthusiasts, Carole Jones and Yvonne Ramage, complained to their local councillor that it was sexist and should also be encouraging older and disabled people to take part.

The leaflet was designed to encourage cyclists to join in a cycling day called Sportive and a family cycling festival from Friday, July 11 to Sunday, July 13.

Carole Jones, who helps run a women-only cycle club called Cycle Sisters, said: “Me and my friend, Yvonne, were at the cycle hub centre in Stockton when the leaflets came in.

"At first we just laughed, thinking it was a joke but then we started to take it more seriously. The message of the leaflet is, ‘come cycling if you are a young, affluent male."

"It’s clear that Mrs Pankhurst’s work is not yet done.”

Mrs Jones said the women-only cycle group she helps run is not itself sexist as it aims to encourage women who are uncomfortable cycling with men to become more active.

She and her friend won the support of Conservative councillor for Yarm, Andrew Sherris, who said: “This really is a very poor piece of publicity...and should be withdrawn.”

Stockton council announced it would withdraw the leaflet after being contacted by The Northern Echo.

Ken Dixon, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, said: “It was certainly not our intention to imply that women and girls cannot participate in every part of the festival and having listened to the concerns raised, we have decided to withdraw this particular leaflet and produce a redesigned version.”

The leaflets, which cost £514 to produce, had only been sent to Stockton cycle hub, a cycling centre in the town centre, and had not yet been distributed to a wider audience.

Bryn Dowson, regional director at Sustrans, a national cycling charity that has worked with Stockton council, said: “We’re pleased that this leaflet will be replaced by one with a more inclusive message.”