Get­ting back in the sad­dle

A CY­CLING in­struc­tor be­lieves con­fi­dence is key to get­ting more women on to bikes.

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS -

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Cy­cling par­tic­i­pa­tion in Western Aus­tralia is higher than any­where else in Aus­tralia, yet there re­mains a gap be­tween the num­ber of males and fe­males hop­ping on a bike.

The Aus­tralian Bi­cy­cle Coun­cil’s latest Na­tional Cy­cling Par­tic­i­pa­tion Sur­vey found about 592,000 peo­ple in WA pedal at least once per week, up from 405,000 in 2013. The 23 per cent of West Aus­tralians who ride a bike each week is well up on the na­tional av­er­age of 17.4 per cent.

Over­all, males are more likely to par­tic­i­pate in cy­cling than fe­males, with 22 per cent of males and 13 per cent of fe­males hav­ing hopped on a bike in the past week.

But the co-or­di­na­tor of a new cy­cling ini­tia­tive to be run in Cock­burn be­lieves the num­bers will bal­ance if fe­males be­come more con­fi­dent on the bike.

An­ketell’s El­iz­a­beth McSweeney will co-lead the She Rides pro­gram at Cock­burn Gate­way start­ing later this month. “Cy­cling is such an en­joy­able ac­tiv­ity, whether it’s for recre­ation, a com­mute or a com­pe­ti­tion,” she said.

“But many women are re­luc­tant to get on the bike for fear of fall­ing off, other cy­clists and other mo­torists.”

The Cy­cling Aus­trali­abacked pro­gram was cre­ated af­ter re­search found women would ride more if they felt safer and more con­fi­dent on the road.

Ms McSweeney said she got into cy­cling in 2005 to help with her em­phy­sema. It was the first time she had rid­den since she was 12.

Like many women, she was hes­i­tant to take up the sport. Ten years on and she both com­petes in in cy­cling com­pe­ti­tions and teaches how to take part in the ac­tiv­ity safely.

“It def­i­nitely is a con­fi­dence thing,” she said.

“Women aren’t like men where they will jump on a bike and pop a wheelie. They’re more in­tim­i­dated by the road.”

For more about She Rides, visit www.sherides.com.au.

Pic­ture: Will Rus­sell www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d441468

Pic­ture: Will Rus­sell www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d441468

She Rides co-or­di­na­tor Elizaberth McSweeney will run the pro­gram from Cock­burn Gate­way later in the month.

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