Cycling UK led by women for first time in charity’s history

Janet Atherton (centre) celebrating Cycling UK's 140th birthday

Cycling UK led by women for first time in charity’s history

The newly elected chair of trustees, Janet Atherton has been on the board for over four years and took up the role of chair on 1 January 2021. With the recent appointment of Sarah Mitchell as chief executive of Cycling UK in 2020, this marks the first time in Cycling UK’s history that women hold the top two positions in the charity.
  • Cycling UK appoints former Director of Public Health and Senior Public Health Adviser in NHS Test and Trace as chair of trustees.
  • Following last year’s appointment of Sarah Mitchell as chief executive it marks the first time in the charity’s 143-year history that women have held the top two posts.

The newly elected chair of trustees, Janet Atherton has been on the board for over four years and took up the role of chair on 1 January 2021. 

With the recent appointment of Sarah Mitchell as chief executive of Cycling UK in 2020, this marks the first time in Cycling UK’s history that women hold the top two positions in the charity. 

Janet Atherton, Cycling UK’s chair said:

“Cycling UK’s mission is to get millions more people cycling. Cycling should be accessible to everyone regardless of their background, age, ability, beliefs or gender. I want to see Cycling UK continue to build a social movement to get people out on bikes.” 

Cycling UK is striving for equality in the world of cycling. Despite being an activity that can be enjoyed by everyone, women are still hugely underrepresented. 

Figures suggest that in England, men make 2.5 times as many cycle trips as women and cycled 3.6 times as many miles. 

The Women’s Festival of Cycling is taking place for the fifth time in July 2021 during which Cycling UK hopes to invite women to join organised rides and digital events, giving advice and sharing cycling tips to encourage more women to start riding. 

The festival aims to empower more women to feel confident to cycle and will be celebrating achievements through the 100 Women in Cycling

“As an organisation we have worked hard to promote women’s cycling,” said Janet. “We’ve achieved a lot in the past four years, but it feels like we could do so much more and I am excited to play my part in it.”

Sarah Mitchell, who took up the position of chief executive of Cycling UK at the end of 2020 said: 

“Women make up 50% of the population and yet the vast majority of cycle journeys are made by men. We have to redress this imbalance. 

“Cycling UK provides women with the space, support and opportunity to cycle. Whether that’s by organising women-only rides or providing online support and training sessions. 

“The Women’s Festival of Cycling takes place in July but our support of women in cycling continues all year long.”

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 Sam Jones on 07967 193 051 or email publicity@cyclinguk.org. Out of hours, call 07786 320 713.

Notes to editors 
  1. 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. www.cyclinguk.org 
  2. For information on the Women’s Festival of Cycling see www.cyclinguk.org/womensfestival
  3. England statistics from National Travel Survey
  4. Latest figures suggest that in Wales women are less than half as likely to cycle once or twice a week than males. [National Survey for Wales]
  5. Latest figures suggest that in Scotland 4.1% of men and 1.6% women cycled 1-2 days a week as a means of transport; and 5% of men and 2.6% of women cycled 1-2 days a week just for pleasure or to keep fit [Transport and Travel in Scotland 2018].
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Cycling UK continues to support the UK to cycle
This remains true during this difficult period with the ongoing threat of coronavirus Covid-19