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202303 womens freedom ride Women (and their allies) will be pedalling around the streets of central London in their thousands on Sunday 5th March. The occasion? In the run-up to International Women's Day a chance to get together and have a lot of fun, but also to send a serious message to the Mayor and council leaders throughout the capital about the gender gap in safe cycling provision.

If you'd like to join in the Women's Freedom Ride, you should register in advance for free insurance coverage. And you can join a marshalled feeder ride to get you safely to the starting point at Marble Arch from Enfield Town, Winchmore Hill, Palmers Green and other calling points along the way into town.

enfield cycling campaign logo

Ride with Enfield Cycling Campaign to the Freedom Ride

Would you like to ride with us to the Women’s Freedom Ride on 5th March? Here’s what to expect.

We will be joining Haringey and Islington Cycling Campaign en route. Expect a big lively crowd! The feeder ride will be led and marshalled by fully qualified cycle instructors or London Cycling Campaign members and we will end up at Marble Arch for the start of the Woman’s Freedom Ride. Here’s where we will be meeting up:

  • 08:40 Enfield Town Station
  • 09:00 Winchmore Hill ‘Coffee Break' cafe
  • 09:10 Palmers Green ‘The Triangle’
  • 09:30 Turnpike Lane Station
  • 09:45 Finsbury Park – Manor House gate
  • 10:00 Highbury Fields
  • 11:00 Marble Arch

Click here to book your place via Eventbrite

Riders gather at 11:30 for a 12:00 departure. For those who want to ride an easier route to Marble Arch, there’s the option to get the train from Enfield Town into Liverpool Street and ride from there. Another option would be to take the train to Kings Cross and use cycle routes C6, C3 and C55 (quiet roads or protected cycle lanes all the way) to get to Marble Arch.

For your return, you can either be guided back as part of the group or make your way to either Kings Cross or Liverpool Street and take the train back to Enfield.

We hope to see you there!

The Freedom Ride is being organised by the recently formed LCC Women's Network, part of the London Cycling Campaign, in conjunction with JoyRiders, whose focus is entirely on helping women and girls take up cycling, and Londra Bisiklet Kulübü (LBK), who are based at the Alevi Centre in Edmonton. While LBK members include both men and women, the group has been tremendously successful in helping women, mostly from Turkish and Kurdish backgrounds, take up this healthy, inexpensive and benign form of transport.

Levelling up cycling in London

The current predominance of men among people riding bikes in London - they outnumber women by two to one - isn't the result of any law of nature, as any visitor to cycling-friendly cities in other countries will quickly discover. It's a consequence of serious deficiencies in provision of safe environments for cycling, which affect women in particular.

While much has been done in the last decade to make cycling in London safer, it's really only just a start, and in some respects the improvements have been skewed in favour of male cyclists. The serious aspect of next month's ride is to send a message about some specific measures that are needed to put right the gender imbalance.

There are three particular areas of concern that the LCC Women's Network is calling for priority action on: fear of traffic, fear of violence and abuse, and the lack of cycle networks for local journeys. For more about the concerns and the action the campaign is calling for, see the box below.

The obstacles to more women cycling and what LCC wants to be done to remove them

women cycling in a group

Fear of motor traffic

Not many people love mixing with lots of traffic when they cycle, but women are generally less willing to share a lane than men, as well as more likely to be travelling with children. Studies show women feel far more comfortable cycling on protected bike lanes or routes with low traffic – this study is a good example. So we’re calling for physical safety via high-quality cycle networks across London, which either provide separation from motor traffic or very low-traffic routes. Without these, we will not achieve gender equity in London’s cycle trips.

Fear of violence and abuse

Cycle routes on poorly lit, socially-isolated routes such as through parks or along canals do not serve women because of fear of attack, limited exit opportunities and low lighting levels (including in winter). And on busy roads, drivers behave differently around women – the Near Miss Project found women reported a higher rate of ‘near misses’ when cycling. So we’re calling for social safety for women cycling. This could include making it easier for women to report abuse or dangerous driving when they cycle, and for police and the authorities to act far more diligently on such reports, as well as ensuring signed routes and cycle parking are well lit, feel safe at night and don’t use industrial estates, parks, canals and so on.

Lack of cycle networks for local journeys

The planning of London’s cycle routes has mainly focused on radial commuter routes, converging on the centre. But commuting makes up only 15% of journeys and these journeys are primarily done by men. As an example, women in their thirties do four times the distance of ‘escorting education’ trips (taking kids to school) and half the distance of commuting trips compared to men of the same age (from Lucy Marstrand-Taussig). So we are calling for local cycle networks, such as low traffic neighbourhoods and safe routes to schools, to get the same priority as cycle corridors into central London.



Read more about the campaign for cycling equality on the London Cycling Campaign website


Londra Bisiklet Kulübü

Get on your bisiklet (Enfield Dispatch 3 February 2022)

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PGC Webmaster posted a reply
05 Mar 2023 20:56

More than a thousand women joined in this afternoon's Freedom Ride around central London, campaigning for increased measures to reduce road danger for people of any gender riding bikes in the capital.

A contingent gathered at Palmers Green Triangle just after 9am and reached Marble Arch safely thanks to marshalling by members of Enfield Cycling Campaign.

The lead organiser of the event was PG resident Clare Rogers, seen in the TV news clip above and below at the start of the ride at Marble Arch.