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Credit: Kat Thomson, Raleigh UK

Cycling UK launches Women’s Festival of Cycling

Cycling UK has launched its annual Women’s Festival of Cycling aimed at encouraging more women to cycle.

Although the number of women cycling has increased during lockdown, men are still cycling nearly twice as much as women, and fears that cycling can be dangerous are often cited as a factor for why more women are not cycling.

NHS statistics have revealed that you are over 150 times more likely to end up in hospital after falling out of bed than you are being knocked off your bike by a lorry or a bus. The analysis of pre-COVID crisis hospital admission figures also shows that you are more likely to require treatment after being hit by a piece of sports equipment than being injured in a collision with a car while cycling.

TV presenter and mental health campaigner Gail Porter is supporting Cycling UK’s Women’s Festival and said: “I understand the concerns that many women have around cycling, reports of accidents in the media can make women cautious about getting on two wheels. But the benefits far outweigh the risks.

“I’ve been riding as a way of keeping myself active and mentally well and I hope that during the festival women give it a go so they can see all the enormous benefits it brings to their lives.”

Helen Cook, Cycling UK’s head of engagement, added: “There is a mistaken belief among many people – but particularly women – that cycling is not a safe option for short journeys to work or for leisure. That could not be further from the truth and these NHS admission figures do show just how safe going for a ride is in relation to other activities.

“The Women’s Festival of Cycling was created to celebrate female cyclists and to encourage more women and non-binary people who are currently under-represented, to experience the healthy lifestyle and fantastic fun that cycling offers. We hope more women will be inspired throughout July to get out cycling and build up their confidence on two wheels.”

The Festival is taking place between 11th-31st July and features a range of virtual events, including learning how yoga can help your mind and body prepare for a ride and advice on fitting regular cycling into family life. The Women’s Festival of Cycling is also being supported this year by Raleigh.

Family cycling advocate, Michelle Jakeway from Raleigh is one of the 100 Women in Cycling and said: “We’re thrilled to be supporting the Women’s Festival and I’m honoured to have been nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling list. I have enjoyed cycling with my family for many years and love that my position at Raleigh allows me to share my passion much wider. I believe if we want to see meaningful change in the number of women cycling it’s important that women see themselves more widely represented in media, sport and in the cycling industry.”

Statistics released by Sport England show the percentage of women who said they had cycled in the past week had doubled between the beginning of April and the end of May, from 6% to 12%. Over the same eight-week period, the number of men who reported cycling in the past week also increased, though they began at almost the same level women had reached by the end of the period (11%) and rose to nearly one in five men riding during May.

With UK regions beginning to ease out of lockdown and traffic levels which had fallen in the last three months set to rise again, Cycling UK is keen to ensure a continuation in the number of women opting to cycle rather than a return to pre-lockdown levels. Sport England’s latest survey on attitudes conducted on 19th-22nd June showed that more than six out of ten people intended to walk and cycle more for everyday journeys as lockdown rules are loosened.

For more information on the Women’s Festival of Cycling and events taking place during the next three weeks, see www.cyclinguk.org/womensfestival. The charity will be unveiling its 2020 ‘100 Women in Cycling’ list featuring 100 inspiring women who encourage others to ride on 11th July.

Read the July edition of BikeBiz below:

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