I began cycling to work in my mid-twenties when going out drinking outweighed my salary and saving money on travel was a key way to maximize my money. Fast forward nine years four jobs down, a trip around the world backpacking, 2 different homes and a baby. I am still cycling. It’s something that I enjoy and find totally practical within my busy, urban life. Yes, sometimes it rains and it does ruin your hair and yes getting stuck behind a bus makes you feel like you’ve rubbed your face in a chimney. BUT, in my view the good outweighs the bad. It gives you the freedom to explore, see new parts of the city that you will never see from the tube. Or save you oodles of time dashing from nursery to work, then work to corner shop to nursery. Preventing you being late and charged £200 (!) for arriving at 6.10pm.
In Hackney, where I now live cycling has become a way of life for many with new bike lanes, enclosed bike sheds on many streets and even bike cafes catering especially for the two wheeled community. It’s trendy. Yet in the UK, only 15% of all people cycle. Out of this, men are nearly three times as likely to cycle than women.
The UK are well behind most of Europe. According to a survey by the European Commission
43% of people in the Netherlands cycle daily, 30% in Denmark and 28% in Finland, whilst in the UK only 4% cycle daily! We are the 4th lowest percentage of all 28 EU countries.
Plus, it starts from a young age. In the UK about 1–3% of children ride their bike to school, but in the Netherlands around 49% of primary school children cycle to and from school. (Source: Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat, Fietsberaad. Cycling in the Netherlands. 2009).
I think safety fears and the unknown are probably to blame. But now has got to be a great time to get riding. With transport pollution at record highs, and obesity a national issue. What. Is. Stopping. You?
Cycle Sistas is just a bit of friendly encouragement to get women in Hackney cycling. I will be sharing features about the practicalities of cycling and where to go, the benefits of it — time, money (££) and convenience. Plus fun experiences I’ve had on my pink bike, trackable via #pinkbikediaries so keep an eye on twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I’ll also find cool kit you might want in order to really style it out on a bike and a few healthy tips and pointers.
Please let me know if you have any heart warming cycling stories and keep in touch @cyclesistas