British TV and film actress Maxine Peake urges more women to cycle
The Women’s Festival of Cycling, delivered by Cycling UK and sponsored by Nottingham-based cycle manufacturer, Raleigh, begins today, and is aimed at encouraging more women to cycle.
Although the number of women cycling increased during lockdown, men are still cycling nearly twice as much as women.
British TV and film actress and writer Maxine Peake is supporting Cycling UK’s Women’s Festival. She said: “Cycling gives you such a sense of freedom and calm. It’s a brilliant way to exercise – it’s fantastic for your mental health to be able to get out into nature.”
You need that encouragement, especially for women. We can feel a bit self-conscious sometimes and a bit judged
A regular group cyclist, Maxine began riding with support from a friend. She said: “You need that encouragement, especially for women. We can feel a bit self-conscious sometimes and a bit judged. Cycling is very male dominated and sometimes women might not feel completely comfortable, or feel it’s too competitive.”
Cycling UK launched its survey in February 2021 to understand women’s cycling habits and wellbeing during the pandemic. More than 3,400 respondents, from all four nations of the UK, responded.
Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK’s chief executive, said: “The word used most by our survey respondents to describe cycling was ‘happiness’, which is what our Women’s Festival of Cycling is all about.
“It’s also really encouraging to see so many women switching their car journeys to the cycle. Cycling is such a simple way for all of us to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce pollution, get more exercise and improve our wellbeing.
What we need to do now is encourage those women who took to cycling during the pandemic to continue, and ask them to help us spread the message about the enormous benefits of cycling both personally and environmentally
“What we need to do now is encourage those women who took to cycling during the pandemic to continue, and ask them to help us spread the message about the enormous benefits of cycling both personally and environmentally.”
The Women’s Festival of Cycling was created to celebrate female cyclists and to encourage more women, who are currently under-represented, to experience the healthy lifestyle and fantastic fun that cycling offers.
The festival is taking place between 17 July and 1 August and features a range of virtual events, social media challenges, local group rides and a celebration of 100 Women in Cycling.
The 100 Women in Cycling roll call is a chance to recognise and appreciate women who work to inspire, teach and encourage others to cycle. Many of the women featured on the list this year have gone above and beyond to continue supporting women to cycle during lockdown – such as Syeda Akther, who only started cycling regularly in February 2020 and has gone on to become a ride leader supporting Muslim women.
There are also women have used their influence to act as an inspiration to others: women such as Maxine Peake, BBC Radio 4 journalist Melanie Abbott, and even three-year-old Daisy Adams who has dazzled her many fans on social media displaying her bike skills and tricks.
Notes to editors
- Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often. cyclinguk.org
- For information on the Women’s Festival of Cycling see cyclinguk.org/womensfestival
- For our full list of our 100 Women in Cycling 2021 see cyclinguk.org/womensfestival/100women/2021
- Cycling UK surveyed 3,468 members and supporters in February 2021. The survey results showed:
- 88% of women surveyed stated positive feelings towards cycling. ‘Happiness’ was the most liked word to describe their current attitude towards the activity.
- 38% of women surveyed who cycle daily recorded the highest happiness levels.
- 31% of women surveyed made the switch from cars to cycling for everyday journeys.
- Peer support has been shown to have a huge impact on the number of cycling women. 74% of the respondents said they motivated and inspired more people to cycle during the coronavirus pandemic.
Press contact information
For more information, please contact the national Cycling UK press office. Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, currently the main press office number (01483 238 315) is not being monitored. If you would like to speak to a member of the press office during working hours (0900-1700) please call Christina Bengston on 07789 874 832 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Out of hours, call 07786 320 713