What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Ru88ell
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Postby Ru88ell » 19 Jan 2009, 1:36pm

Dee Jay wrote:Good stuff, Russell!

Is there 'somewhere' - a club or group - for them to continue the good work afterwards?


Yes. Once the Stratford Challenge is complete most of the ladies stay with us. Our membership last year peaked at over 140 - from scratch in two years.

All you need to do is lead from the front. They need to know what to do, and where to do it. Building infrastructure and hoping that people will cycle on it is a useless strategy.

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Simon L6
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Postby Simon L6 » 19 Jan 2009, 1:41pm

in answer to the OP - clone Russell!

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Si
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Postby Si » 19 Jan 2009, 2:13pm

Simon L6 wrote:in answer to the OP - clone Russell!


what a frightening thought :twisted:

(sorry Russell, keep up the good work... :wink: )

Ru88ell
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Postby Ru88ell » 19 Jan 2009, 2:56pm

Any Sat or Sun am that you want to see the process in action just let me know. You need to get to Stourbridge for 10am.

davebax
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Postby davebax » 21 Jan 2009, 4:31pm

Ru88ell wrote:This is the third year that Stourbug has launched a ladies cycling challenge.
Simon L6 wrote:in answer to the OP - clone Russell!
Well we haven't actually cloned Russell in Bristol, but Cycle Bristol CTC (as Bristol Section now calls itself) has just started something similar to the Stourbridge-Stratford Challenge, the Get Gorge-ous Challenge ride from Bristol to Cheddar (up the gorge) and back. It's not limited to women, but is attracting a lot of them, plus a few men and children. Judging by the early response and the success of Stourbug, this is an approach that really answers the question in the OP.

Ru88ell
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Postby Ru88ell » 21 Jan 2009, 4:34pm

davebax wrote:
Ru88ell wrote:This is the third year that Stourbug has launched a ladies cycling challenge.
Simon L6 wrote:in answer to the OP - clone Russell!
Well we haven't actually cloned Russell in Bristol, but Cycle Bristol CTC (as Bristol Section now calls itself) has just started something similar to the Stourbridge-Stratford Challenge, the Get Gorge-ous Challenge ride from Bristol to Cheddar (up the gorge) and back. It's not limited to women, but is attracting a lot of them, plus a few men and children. Judging by the early response and the success of Stourbug, this is an approach that really answers the question in the OP.


To whom do I send my fee invoice?

There's talk of getting the two 'challenges' together at some point - or meet pu halfway.

If anyone else wants to do the same, get in touch as Bristol did.

Dee Jay
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Postby Dee Jay » 21 Jan 2009, 5:11pm

Ru88ell wrote:
Dee Jay wrote:Good stuff, Russell!

Is there 'somewhere' - a club or group - for them to continue the good work afterwards?


Yes. Once the Stratford Challenge is complete most of the ladies stay with us. Our membership last year peaked at over 140 - from scratch in two years.

All you need to do is lead from the front. They need to know what to do, and where to do it. Building infrastructure and hoping that people will cycle on it is a useless strategy.


I am hoping to get a regular women's ride set up.

Last year after we did 5 Miles to Fabulous we could really have done with somewhere 'to go'. The women who have children were invited to join the Junior Cycling Club, but we identified a real need to have a womens/grown-ups group.

My problem is that I am very under-confident (in the cycling dept), espcially when it comes to fixing stuff (yeah, yeah, yeah! :roll: ) and also when it comes to being 'in charge' (of cyclists). So, I do need someone who knows their cycling onions. I have someone in mind; I am working on her!

..... cycling with her tomorrow, as a matter of fact .... planted the seed last Thursday, when we cycled together. We'll see....

I like the look of the Get Gorge-ous!
Dee

atoz
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Postby atoz » 22 Jan 2009, 6:15pm

thirdcrank wrote:It's hard to see how 3)4)5) are exclusive to women.



They aren't. But what is true is that women are a rather higher percentage of the workforce, and that workforce is often doing one form of office work or another. In my case, I have a customer service role. Most of my colleagues are female. Can't see most of them cycling to work without showers somehow. And they wouldn't cycle any distance in work clothes- this is pure fantasy. In West Yorkshire, in winter? In this respect I think CTC publicity on this subject has shot itself in the foot.

In the 1930s', when my mum was an active cyclist, a lot of work was manual- including hers. You didn't need showers etc because a bit of body odour was not a problem if you were working in such places as textile mills and foundries. People just accepted it. Nowadays they don't. Life has changed, and facilities for cyclists have got to change with it.

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Postby thirdcrank » 23 Jan 2009, 5:58pm

atoz

This thread began because of some research which said that women did not cycle to work because helmets ruined their hair-does or somesuch. That provoked a lot of silly items on radio and telly where that sort of silly stuff tends to be used to generate a bit of interest. The next news, the CTC press office - no doubt having been inundated by reporters looking for a different line on this issue - came on here. If nothing else, some of the bitterness which this exposed showed that this was a minefield.

I do not suggest for a second that the things listed are unimportant, on the contrary, but things in that list are important to everybody. The line I've taken from the start of this thread is that the role of the CTC can only be the promotion of cycling for all, and better facilities obviously play a part. I hope nobody seriously suggests that there is a case for say, showers at work for women but not for men.

Much of the other stuff thrown up by this thread about the different roles of men and women in our society is obviously extremely important, but way beyond the expertise or influence of bodies like the CTC. If the CTC were doing anything which tended to exclude women from cycling, that should obviously be dealt with, but I don't think I have seen any suggestion that that is the case.
===============================

On a separate note, in last week's CTC emailed newsletter it was mentioned that Bery Burton's autobiography 'Personal Best' was being republished. In the rush to go on hol last weekend, I forgot to mention it on here. That book was the source of my pics of BB earlier in the thread (and of her account of winning the Otley 12.) The original publisher was no longer in business so I could not contact them about copyright. The link published by the CTC was to what seemed initially like a motor car enthusiast www but if you search on their books it is in there.

http://www.mercianmanuals.co.uk/

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Postby atomheartfather » 26 Jan 2009, 3:26pm

If the CTC were doing anything which tended to exclude women from cycling, that should obviously be dealt with.

As you say. The roads are too dangerous, say a number of posters here. Yet the CTC/Government say that cyclists prefer to stay on road, and wish to see a reduction in traffic volume, rather than use cycle paths. I wonder.

My experience of so-called cycle-friendly towns and cities around Europe, where there are far more women cyclists than the UK, is that cycle paths are an absolute essential alongside all main urban roads. Traffic calming tends to be reserved for small residential streets. Could this difference in opinion be because UK cyclists are predominantly male, and accept the daily challenge of jousting with the motor car? Sports-style cycling in a city cycling context.

There is no better way to reduce traffic volume than to take space away from the motor car, and hand that over to cyclists and, indeed, pedestrians. Add a few one way streets that can be used two-way by cyclists and, once cycling becomes faster, easier, and more direct than driving, motor traffic volumes will drop.

It is precisely of this policy that UK politicians appear most frightened. As long as the cycling lobby agrees, there is little hope of more women cycling.

"Cyclist opinion", or "UK cyclist opinion"? The two would appear to be extremely different.

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Si
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Postby Si » 26 Jan 2009, 5:03pm

Yet the CTC/Government say that cyclists prefer to stay on road, and wish to see a reduction in traffic volume, rather than use cycle paths.


Whilst I take your larger point I think that you've conflated the issue a little too far.

Most experienced cyclists prefer the roads because they are safer than the shoddy cycle paths that we have. We would mostly welcome cyclepaths of the quality that they have in more enlightened countries, but alas, despite copious efforts we have failed to get anyone to build such things.

It is also true that none-cyclsts or new-cyclists are bound to be encouraged more by a network of paths where they can ride away from the traffic, but again, the problem is that most of these paths are useless. Thus as people become more experienced as cyclists they tend to spend more time on the road, which they realise was perceived as being more dangerous than it really was.

Thus the question is how to get past these perceptions as we'd much rather use the roads than cycle paths because they actually go where we want them too, and with the best will in the world you are never going to get such an extensive network of cycle paths.

Thus the CTC's position is that it prefers safe roads to useless cycle paths

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Postby kwackers » 26 Jan 2009, 6:22pm

There's just too much traffic for any non-cyclist to consider the roads to be safe.

To get people cycling you simply have to have cycle paths and address other perceived safety issues. Traffic calming etc would probably also be seen to be effective. Making it properly illegal to park (or drive) in a cycle lane would also help.

Once they're cycling then all but the most timid will *probably* move over onto the roads.

It's important imo that we realise we need both paths to encourage people to start and safe roads for our (obvious) safety.

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Postby George Riches » 26 Jan 2009, 6:45pm

I'm afraid it's a chicken & egg situation. For the most part we are not going to get a network of decent cycle paths when so few people cycle.

We should realise that a lot of the general public call for cycle paths because, as non-cyclists, they don't realise how bad many of them in the UK are.

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meic
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Postby meic » 27 Jan 2009, 1:30am

It is probably correct that in the UK the pool of potential cyclists has been shaved down to only those hardcore people who are willing to suffer for their cycling.
Even that hardcore would probably be happy to ride on continental cyclepaths but UK cyclepaths are NOT a practical network to be used for transport purposes.

If the general population wanted to get on their bikes and use cycle paths (like they do in cycle friendly cities) then the voice of existing cyclists would be too tiny to be heard.
It is weird to blame existing cyclists for the British transport system, I am pretty sure that they had very little influence on its form. They are just the ones who have carried on despite the system.
Yma o Hyd

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Postby Pete Owens » 27 Jan 2009, 2:23am

kwackers wrote:There's just too much traffic for any non-cyclist to consider the roads to be safe.


Stange, since the roads have never been safer.

This perception only started to take hold once they started to build cycle paths - and indeed those seeking funds to build the paths agressively marketed them on the grounds of safety and in the process hyped up peoples fear of the roads. just like those who would have us wear helmets.

Of course the purpose of cycle paths in the minds of those who build them is and always has been to prevent us from impeding the flow of "proper" traffic.

To get people cycling you simply have to have cycle paths and address other perceived safety issues.


When safety argument becomes untennable, since the paths are much less safe than the roads they are trying to force us off, they then move on the the "perceived" safety argument.

Though it is rather bizarre to tackle even percieved danger by implementing things that increase the hazards.



Traffic calming etc would probably also be seen to be effective.



But they won't do that while they can get away with painting a white line on the pavement.



Making it properly illegal to park (or drive) in a cycle lane would also help.


Or better still removing the cycle lanes altogether and recognise us as legitimate road users.


Once they're cycling then all but the most timid will *probably* move over onto the roads.


If there was a case of someone who didn't cycle on the road because they thought it was too dangerous they are hardly going to be encouraged by an enviornment that is less safe still.

It's important imo that we realise we need both paths to encourage people to start and safe roads for our (obvious) safety.


It is important that we get away from the myth that cycle paths encourage cycling. there are plenty of places that have gone down this route. They are the new towns which were built in the 70s when the segregation dogma reached its height. Milton Keynes, Runcorn, Skelmersdale, much of Warrington and the like. In all these places cycling is less popular than the nearby towns.

Hardly surprising really. If you make cycling slower, less safe, less convenient and less comfortable you will put people off.