Women Cycling – a reason to start

A woman on a bike: this must be as efficient as we get. At risk of this blog post sounding sexist, we bring our natural ability in multitasking to two wheels and we’re off…..

We can be doing at least 3 things whilst on a bike: Going from A to B, keeping fit and thinking. For example: cycling to the shop / exercising / thinking about what to write in that application form; cycling home after work / exercising / thinking about what to make for dinner; cycling to pick up the children from school / exercising / thinking about changes to make to the presentation you have in the morning.

When asking female friends who cycle why they cycle, it struck me that they had never thought about it, they just always had. Maybe that’s the problem. If you always have, you always will, but if you never have, or at least haven’t since you were little, then how do you start?

How do you know what you’re missing if you’ve never done it?

When asked about why she did it, one said, ‘it’s so quick and easy to get around. To get to work I would have to get two trams, spend £15.50 a week and it would take 50 minutes each way. Instead I go by bike which is free and takes me 20 minutes’.

I know, being a gym hater, that getting your exercise cycling to and from work is a brilliant time- saver that can be built into your day. But us female cyclists don’t just do it for these practical reasons. Apparently we also do it because it makes us feel free, gives us more independence (especially if we don’t have a car) and actually it does make us feel cool. We also zip past all of the traffic that’s stood still, meaning, rather than biting your steering wheel thinking about all the useful things you could be doing instead .

woman stuck in traffic

You could be feeling relaxed and possibly a bit smug like this woman here….

happy woman on bike

Let’s make life easy for ourselves. Cycling should be enjoyed. If you dread getting an old rusty bike out of the depths of the shed then no wonder you have no motivation to get cycling. Try doing a basic maintenance course, or just locating a friendly local bike shop who’ll do all the dirty work for you.

So to would-be women cyclists everywhere, I know you might think it’s uncool, slow, or it’s just ‘not you’, but really have you got time to be sat in traffic in your car?  Once you start cycling, your bike becomes part of you. You control it, not the other way round. So get on your bike and take your natural female efficiency up a level.

 

Zoe Thelwall

Beast of burden

Here in the UK, and in many other places that aren’t Denmark or the Netherlands, bikes tend to be thought of as a piece of sports equipment. Sure, if you cycle regularly, you’re probably a fine physical specimen with the constitution of a strapping young ox. But it’s a mistake to think of bikes as a mobile bit of gym equipment, when they can do so much more.

Load carrying bicycle by Carrie Kellenberger on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Load carrying bicycle by Carrie Kellenberger on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons.

If you’re a busy person, the humble bicycle can actually be a big time saver. Steve Jobs famously said that a computer is a bicycle for our minds. Well, to turn that around, a bicycle is like a pair of seven-league boots for your legs. Need to pick something up in town? Got an errand to run? On a bike, you can slip silently through the city, dodge the traffic jams, lock up outside your destination, get what you need and then be on your way, often in less time than any other mode of transport.

A couple of panniers can hold a whole lotta shopping.

I still can’t believe how much shopping fits in a couple of panniers. Having to lug it all home also discourages impulse buying…

Bicycles are great for shopping too, in a different way to cars. Rather than one weekly visit to the soulless out-of-town megastore, bicycles encourage browsing, flitting from shop to shop like a wheeled butterfly. There’s good evidence that shopping by bike keeps money in the local area, and people on bikes spend more of it than your local trader’s association might imagine. Small, frequent shopping trips mean less waste, fewer impulse purchases, less hassle.

Bicycles foster spontaneity. They’re not constrained by timetables, and you’ll never miss your last bike. Cycling is sociable too. You see more of the world, and it’s easier to pull over for a chat.

If you’ve bought a new bike, it may need some extra bits before you can get the most out of it. A rack and panniers, for example, make carrying shopping or possessions a joy, rather than a sweaty-backed chore. Mudguards, touring pedals and chain cases make riding in everyday clothes easier. Lights – why don’t all bicycles come with these? And a decent D-lock, sadly, is more or less essential if you want to use your bike around town. The ease with which bikes can be stolen continues to be one of the few rubbish things about owning one.

If you can get a bike that’s got all of these, chances are you will never use it for sprinting to a gold time in a sportive. Instead you’ll have something much better – a truly enabling bit of technology which is equal parts pack animal, your own private taxi, and a companion for life.

New Behaviour Change Framework

Behaviour change has always been at the core of what we do. We’ve recently developed a new behaviour change framework to ensure that our programmes are as effective as possible.

We’re currently building new features into Love to Ride and we’ll be launching Love to Ride 2.0 in May 2014.

Check out this video explaining our new behaviour change framework:

More info at our website here.

Or get in touch – together@lovetoride.net

 

Get Love to Ride in your area

Love to Ride

Love to Ride has been designed to have bike loads of local sites within it.

We can set up your local Love to Ride site for your town, city or region, which will have information on where people can ride, top tips, links to other initiatives and local photos (uploaded by the local community). People will take part in our global cycling programmes by logging trips, setting goals, going on virtual rides and using the new app.  Anyone can be a ‘supporter’ and help grow their local Love to Ride community. Help spread the love!

If you want to promote your own local cycling initiatives, send targeted emails to the Love to Ride community in your area, give your announcements and events a big push on your local Love to Ride site, then you can become our ‘Official Local Partner’.

You’ll also have your logo and branding on the website and we can link the site to the other projects you’re doing to promote cycling and sustainable transport.

Check out our website for more information or simply get in touch and have a chat with me – Sam Robinson.  You can also call me on +44 (0)7734 833 451.

Love to Ride Rebrand

 

Love to Ride has a new look!

In Spring 2014 we’ll be rebranding www.lovetoride.net with this new brand and launching it to our 100,000 users.

We wanted a brand that was engaging, fun and encouraging and that is what we got.

Love to Ride Rebrand

Left: New icons – cool! Right: Targeted email example

Some examples of our new  targeted emails

Some examples of our new targeted emails

A big thanks to the team at our design agency – Hello.  They nailed it!

Check out our newly branded company website:  www.lovetoride.org