Getting back in the saddle
A CYCLING instructor believes confidence is key to getting more women on to bikes.
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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.
She Rides co-ordinator Elizaberth McSweeney will run the program from Cockburn Gateway later in the month.