Free urban cycling skills webinar for women

Brighton & Hove City Council is hosting a free urban cycling skills webinar on March 10, open to all women who are new to cycling or want to start but don’t know how.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 4:52 pm
Picture: Unsplash

The city council is also highlighting the work that’s being done to build the confidence of a group of secondary school girls through cycling.

A Girls’ Bike Club at Blatchington Mill School, set up in partnership with walking and cycling charity Sustrans, met virtually last summer and, if Covid restrictions allow, will be meeting up again in person after Easter.

Using Google Classroom, trainers have been posting pictures and stories of their cycling adventures. They’ve also introduced pupils to young, inspiring female cyclists from a range of backgrounds to conversations around diversity and inclusivity in cycling and the difference between feeling like “a cyclist” and “riding a bike”.

Sustrans Bike-It officer Lucy Dance said: “Our trainers have done a fantastic job in keeping the girls interested and engaged. The group hasn’t been able to meet in person but once we’re out of lockdown, we want to get everyone together again.”

The club, which was launched in 2018, was set up to help address the cycling gender gap in the city. Surveys showed that men make three times as many journeys by bike compared to women while just 0.4 per cent of secondary school girls cycle to school compared to 4.7 per cent of boys.

Two young female trainers work with girls from Blatchington Mill weekly to help increase their confidence on bikes, teach them skills in bike maintenance and encourage more physical activity.

At the end of the first year of the club, and working with the Sussex Wildlife Trust and South Downs National Park, members went on an overnight ‘Bike-it Wild’ expedition where they were able to explore the South Downs National Park landscape.

Lucy said: “We’re trying to remove some of the barriers that stop women and young girls from having the confidence to get on a bike.”

“We know that having a ‘girls only space’ is really important for them to build up confidence among themselves. Working in a group, they can share their experiences and concerns about cycling together.

“The club has been great at building confidence and both mental and physical health.”

Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee Amy Heley said: “International Women’s Day is a great time to celebrate the fantastic work the Girls’ Bike Club has been doing, especially during the pandemic.”

“We need to remove all the barriers that stop girls from travelling by bike, including concerns about safety and a lack of confidence. The girls at Blatchington Mill have shown what is possible given the right environment and support.

As part of the celebration, we are also hosting a free online webinar on Wednesday 10 March at 12pm, open to all women to encourage those new to cycling or those who are thinking about starting.

Our partners at Love to Ride and a local cycling instructor will be going through the fundamental cycling and safety skills you need before Sustrans chat more about the Girls’ Bike Club, local ‘Breeze’ rides, getting started and improving confidence.

This will be followed by a Q&A and opportunity to suggest what could be done to encourage more women into cycling.

For the webinar click here