Women in Queensland are being taught all they need to get back on their bikes thanks to a Bicycle Queensland initiative, which is supported by Brisbane City Council.
Courtesy of a Health and Physical Activity Grant, Bicycle Queensland has been funding bike programs targeted at women, which cover everything from bicycle maintenance to commuting courses to cycle training to social rides.
The programs cater for a wide range of abilities and Jane Clarke, BicyGals Leader and AustCycle Teacher, said the rides have been very popular because of their gender exclusivity.
“Normally, if a woman rides with her husband or partner and that person is faster than she is then she will be left behind as the males tend to ride ahead, and this can really put women off riding because they’re left on their own.”
“Also, because the classes are women only the ladies feel very comfortable asking any type of question.
It is this gender factor, mixed with a heavy socialisation aspect that seems to be key to the program’s success so far.
“We usually try to throw in a coffee stop along the ride so they ladies can have a chat and try to hook up with other women in their area,” explained Jane. “We’ve found that as well as wanting a bit of knowledge, women also want someone to ride with.”
“But for a lot of the ladies, the changing the flat tyre session is the most popular because they’re worried about getting stranded when they’re out on their bikes. You can almost see that light bulb moment when they’re learning to change the tyre and they realise they’re free!”
Jane said she is grateful to have been able to help lead this program as teaching the women and giving them the skills and independence to ride alone has been incredibly fulfilling.