Amy Foster is an active member of the Dulwich and Herne Hill Safe Routes to School forum, campaigning for safe active travel. She has also supported the Safe Routes to School forum in Dulwich, is a trustee for the London Cycling Campaign and coordinated and presented on the benefits of healthy school streets at the Mayor of London’s Healthy Schools celebration.
Amy Foster said …
“Though I learnt to ride when I was at primary school, I don’t think I cycled at all between the ages of 10 and 20 and probably wouldn’t ever have started again had I not moved into London after university.
“Cycling was infinitely preferable to being crowded into a packed Central Line tube – and far cheaper. But now cycling is about keeping healthy and also about exploring as a family, whether that’s just the local park or somewhere truly magical, like Loch Katrine or the aqueducts of the Vélo Francette.”
Amy progressed from commuter cycling to cycle touring and then onto club cycling which made her the obvious choice when her headteacher needed to find a school cycle champion.
Amy adds, “I’m really fortunate to have been able to work with some amazing parents in our school community and this means we’ve achieved some wonderful things: our annual cycle skills day in a local park for one, and turning our school play street into a daily traffic-free zone – another brilliant achievement.”
She is an active member of the Dulwich and Herne Hill Safe Routes to School forum, campaigning for safe active travel for the nearly 20,000 children who go to school in the area. The forum works with local councillors and community members to reduce road danger through healthy street design and encouraging behaviour change.
As a member of the National Education Union, Amy has contributed to the union’s work on air pollution and road danger, raising awareness of the fact that many parents have justifiable concerns about cycling to school on the UK’s roads but also sharing the benefits cycling to work can have on teachers’ physical and mental wellbeing.
We know that women are still far more likely to be doing the ‘school run’ than men, and making sure as many women feel confident and comfortable cycling on our roads is key if we want to see families enjoying everyday cycling in the UK
Amy said, “It is excellent to see Cycling UK both doing all it can to support women to cycle and encouraging its members to ask for space for cycling in our communities.
“We know that women are still far more likely to be doing the ‘school run’ than men, and making sure as many women feel confident and comfortable cycling on our roads is key if we want to see families enjoying everyday cycling in the UK.”
Amy was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by Vanessa Hammick, who said:
“I nominated Amy Foster for this award because despite being a busy teacher and a mum of two under-fives, every week she dedicates so much time to making cycling and safer streets accessible to everyone.
“Alongside her teaching, she is a healthy-schools champion at her primary school in Dulwich, taking children out on cycle rides they would not normally get to experience. She has trained with British Cycling and worked with Sustrans, supporting its Bike It programme as a school active-travel champion, chaired the Safe Routes to School forum in Dulwich, is a trustee for the London Cycling Campaign and co-chair of their campaigns and membership committee and has co-ordinated and presented on the benefits of healthy school streets at events such as the Mayor of London’s Healthy Schools celebration.
“I have no idea how Amy manages all this with her demanding job and a young family – it is not unusual for Amy to turn up to a meeting with a baby tucked under one arm and an ambitious action plan tucked under the other, and her family always join her on rides.
“The fact that her two-year-old daughter is already a competent cyclist is a testament to the levels of family involvement!
“But what made me nominate Amy is that while she is utterly devoted to cycling (taking her family by train on cycling adventures to Scotland, France, the Netherlands and all around the Southeast) she really devotes a lot of time to people less able to cycle than herself.
“She has led rides specifically designed for disabled cyclists, for mothers, for families, women-friendly rides, and she has created events that address the disadvantages black, Asian and ethnic-minority people can face in cycling.
She has a keen eye for the patterns in society that repeatedly disadvantage the same groups, and her mission to bring cycling to all is deeply connected to her desire for a healthier, fairer society.
“She has a keen eye for the patterns in society that repeatedly disadvantage the same groups, and her mission to bring cycling to all is deeply connected to her desire for a healthier, fairer society.
“In 2016 Amy invited me to join her on a venture she dreamt up called Croydon Cycle Theatre. Every year, we lead ‘theatrical’ bike rides and events around Croydon, helping families, schools and unconfident riders discover the pleasures of cycling locally.
“I’m a theatre maker so I took charge of the costumes and scripts, while Amy acted as ride leader – but now I too have trained as a ride leader and cycle instructor. Watching so many people from our community become cycling enthusiasts shows what an impactful influence Amy has had on us all.”