13 June 2014

Women's Cycle Forum

Still no idea what to say at tomorrow's inaugural Women's Cycle Forum.  That's partly because Sally said it all already, and partly because for me it's really not a gendered issue.  

But, of course, it is a gendered issue. I spent a bit of time this morning at a meeting about Edinburgh's 'Bike Account', a Sustrans initiative launching in 7 UK cities.  When I got there (a bit late), there were 18 people in the room, and 3 were women.  And one of them was the invited speaker from Copenhagen.  But on the powerpoints, there were lots of inspirational pics of women cycling merrily along. And the Council's family network is supposedly for "for less confident cyclists 'including women'".  Sigh.  

Clearly we have some work to do.  

On the other hand, I'm lucky. On my commute I tend to see as many women as men - all kinds too - MAWILS, hack-bikes, pashleys and bobbins, lots of kiddie seats, but also briefcases. At work, far more women in my department cycle than men.

This perspective probably blinds me to some things. I'm always baffled when men I know who cycle miles through town say their wives won't let them take their kids on the road in a bikeseat or tag-along.    

In an interesting reversal, my husband's been putting in some miles on the road these long summer evenings on his new road bike.  And I'm terrified.  When he's out with the kids, he's on roads we know, and I know he'll be careful.  

But, when he heads out after putting the kids to bed, and then comes back and tells me where he's been I'm horrified.  "not THAT one!" " do you KNOW how many accidents there's been on that road?"

It's these semi-rural roads around Edinburgh that have seen most of the fatal accidents in recent years, not the city roads where we take our kids. 

So, yes, cycling is gendered, but in some pretty complicated ways. 

I bet I'll learn a lot from everyone else who's going to the bike forum tomorrow. Please come and share your experiences too. 

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