Women on Wheels roars back for a second year
As last year's Women's Cycle Forum inspired roundtable events to take place in London and Manchester, and helped to shape the first UK national Women and Cycling convention in York, it's no surprise that Women on Wheels - a programme of women-led cycling events in Scotland, is shaping up to be an even bigger bike bonanza in its second year. Meanwhile, 'Bike Curious' family workshops are set to go nationwide across Scotland, giving mums - and dads - the chance to try out any number of family cycling solutions from Copenhagen-style cargo bikes to tagalongs, tandems and trailers.
This year organisers Suzanne Forup and Sally Hinchcliffe have cooked up a programme of five events over two weekends. The Women's Cycle Forum, with the theme 'build a better world' will consider how best to go out and tackle the many barriers that keep women (and men) from cycling in Scotland more often, inspired by the example of game changing campaigns like Playing Out and No More Page Three. The Bike Curious event returns to Sciennes Primary school and this year will offer a 'bike jumble' allowing families who have been inspired to take up cycling a cheaper way of getting their hands on the kit they need. A Learn then Ride workshop will give women a safe space to build their skills and confidence, even if they're getting onto a bike for the first time, while a ride led by the Edinburgh Belles will be perfect for anyone seeking a friendly ride over a longer distance. And combining literary passions with bicycling ones, the Read and Ride bookshop tour, led by Kate Rawles, outdoor philosopher, writer and activist, will involve readings, a chance to browse three great independent bookshops, and - of course - cake.
Re-writing the manual on traditional campaigning
Organiser Suzanne Forup, CTC's Assistant Head of Development and family cycling blogger said "women are re-writing the manual on traditional campaigning with force and flair. Our inspiration for these events has come from change making colleagues around the world, mixing the issues that we are passionate about - liveable cities, equity and community empowerment - with creativity and action".
From the Kidical Mass movement to A Mighty Girl we are seeing families, women and girls taking the lead in changing perceptions as well as calling for change. We hope that everyone who comes along to the Women on Wheels events will take some positive actions home with them."
Suzanne Forup, CTC's Assistant Head of Development
Sally Hinchcliffe, of Pedal on Parliament and Cycling Dumfries said, "the events springing up in the past year have shown how many women there are beavering away in the back rooms of cycling - we want to bring them out into the light and celebrate what can and is being done. There's no mystery why women don't cycle more: they very sensibly look at the conditions on the roads and decide it's not for them. To us, the far more interesting question is how can we change that? Campaigns like Playing Out and No More Page Three have shown us that what once seemed impossible can, with a bit of imagination, suddenly become reality. We want to channel the energy and imagination of the thousands of women out there and achieve the impossible in cycling too. And if we have a bit of fun in the process, then so much the better"
Join in the fun
The Women on Wheels events are part of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, and are supported by CTC Scotland. The events are being funded by Edinburgh City Council and the Women's Fund for Scotland. We're very grateful to our partners at Sciennes Primary School, the City Cycling Edinburgh Forum and Belles on Bikes Edinburgh for their support in running the events.