Devon County Council’s Cycle Exeter project is looking to at getting women on their bikes, as part of National Bike Week, which runs from June 19 to June 27.
Research shows that only 40 per cent of women in Exeter currently cycle, compared with 70 per cent of men. The campaign will aim to address that imbalance and show women that cycling is the perfect way to stay healthy.
To encourage more women to take to two wheels, the Saddle up for Summer campaign is being launched on Saturday, June 26 with a pop-up bike boutique in Princesshay between 11am-4pm, where women can check out the latest bicycles and sign up to cycle confidence training run by women, for women.
Cycle Exeter project officer, Heather Baker, says: “Saddle up for Summer will address many of the concerns that stop women cycling – such as helmet hair, looking good and feeling intimidated in bike shops – as well as riding in traffic and fitness concerns. Cycle clothing and accessories are much more stylish these days, but the great thing is you don’t have to buy anything new. All you need are comfy clothes and suitable footwear.
“We can offer one-to-one training by female instructors or group training. 80% of people who attend our group training sessions are women, so many women are keen to brush up on their cycling skills, but we want to encourage more to come along to help them build up their confidence and their fitness.”
Kiri Bowman, a student at Exeter University, said: “I have a car but I only use it if something’s far away. It’s quicker on a bike, I love missing all the traffic. If I move to another city after uni, I’ll definitely have a bike. Why drive when you can cycle?”
A free magazine, Freedom, has been produced which provides a simple guide on what you need to get started, alongside advice about what to wear and how to gain confidence. Exeter’s bike shops are backing the campaign and will be distributing the magazines.
As well as the magazine, dedicated pages have been created at website providing women with advice on cycling more and tips on getting started.