With our first official ‘Women’s Ride’ coming up, we’ve been chatting about the things that put women off getting on their bikes. There are many things – and the next issue of London Cyclist magazine will have a feature on this.
It’s pretty obvious that infrastructure – or lack of it – is a huge factor, but it’s more than that. Some women feel threatened by having to share a cycle lane with more confident, faster cyclists, others are concerned about the safety aspect of using quieter routes through parks and along towpaths.
Some are just put off by the clothing!!
The infrastructure and safety aspects are harder to tackle quickly – but the clothing one is not. It is perfectly possibly to ride a bike in your normal clothes! If you’re just doing a short journey, it’s really easy – you’re not likely to get too hot and sweaty and saddle comfort isn’t really an issue. If you’re doing longer rides – commuting or travelling around for work – and are worried about comfort, it’s not much harder. There are some great brands out there who have started to think about simple things like nice light floaty tops that don’t make you all sweaty and shorts or trousers that are cut so that there are no seams where you don’t want them. There are also some very stylish padded knickers out there – one particular brand you would hardly know they were padded to look at them.
One of our members and regular marshals (soon to be ride leader too) rides miles around Tower Hamlets every day in her job as a breast feeding specialist. Wearing a helmet & sometimes gloves is her only concession to the fact that she’s on a bike. In fact when I bumped in to her earlier this week, she looked positively glamorous in her summer dress and heels!
Our ride later this month will very much be embracing the social and relaxed aspect of cycling – wear whatever you will be comfortable and feel yourself in.
Don’t forget, if your bike needs a bit of TLC ahead of the ride, we’ll be at the Forest Gate Festival on the 15th – bring your bike along and learn how to do the basics (fixing a puncture etc). If you’ve got a friend who would like to come on the ride but doesn’t have a bike – they’ll be able to hire one from our lovely friend (and Newham Cyclist member) Nigel at View Tube Bikes.