A brand new initiative driving towards equality in cycling will launch at the Women and Cycling Conference this year and the group behind it - We Cycle UK - want to see a 50:50 gender split in the cycling community by 2020.
The goal might insurmountable to some - but WE Cycle UK make a strong point in arguing that this is a reality elsewhere in the world, particularly in the Netherlands.
Danni Lapham, WE Cycle UK founder member speaks for the group, saying: “By establishing WE Cycle UK, we hope to engage more women into cycling through targeted work to redress the gender imbalance. Empowering women at all levels of the sector is essential to the continued growth and infrastructure develop of cycling".
WE Cycle UK will be all about reaching out to women across the cycling community, in a drive to show riding a bike as a normal and inclusive form of transport for every woman. The group will work with community organisations, local authorities, academics and health practitioners as well as volunteers and cycle related business’ to make this happen – sharing skills among small groups, increasing the visibility of women in the industry, and developing and promoting best practices.
We Cycle UK will be launched officially at the Women and Cycling Conference of 2016, an event they are co-hosting this year in Hereford. The aim of the day is to search for solutions to the lack of women who cycle – primarily as a means of transport – and work on their delivery.
There will be a selection of speakers on the day – the first will be Dr Sheila Hanlon – an expert on the social and political history of women’s cycling who will aim to inspire delegates with a reminder of the role of the bicycle in the emancipation of women.
Other key guest speakers include Sheridan Piggott from Sustrans’ successful York’s Bike Belles program, Suzanne Forup from CTC Scotland, Phi Jones from Phil Jones Associates, Anna Semlyn from 20’Plenty, Heather Jones from CycleBOOM and blogger Katja Leyendecker.
As well as key notes and a panel discussion, there will also be a led ride with Isla Rowntree of Islabikes and multiple small group discussion on a range of topics.
Lapham told us: “It’s time to be loud on diversity within our cycling culture, and by aiming to address the needs of women, we hope to cater for a whole host of under-represented groups and reach out to those who previously may never have considered cycling at all.
“This conference gives policy-makers and key influencers a space in which to learn from each other, to develop successful policies into action that is tailored to their own boroughs; less ‘copy and paste’ and more cohesive."
The event takes place on Wednesday May 4, from 10am until 5pm, at The Courtyard, Edgar Street, Hereford, HR4 9JR. You can see more details and get tickets here.