Celebrating women cycling on International Women's Day

Women cyclists celebrate International Women's Day in Belfast

Women cyclists celebrate International Women's Day in Belfast

Belfast City Council chief exec Suzanne Wylie on bike

Belfast City Council chief exec Suzanne Wylie leading the way for other female cycling commuters.

Suzanne Wylie and Claire McLernon from Sustrans

Suzanne Wylie, Belfast City Council chief executive with Claire McLernon from Sustrans on their bikes at Belfast City Hall

8 March 2016

Cycling has been growing in popularity in recent years but men still outnumber women four to one in the UK for cycling to work.

However, more women cycle in Belfast than in many other UK cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Newcastle, as surveyed by Sustrans for the Bike Life report. In fact, in Belfast the gender difference in cycling has narrowed dramatically with male cyclists outnumbering females just two to one.

The number of women cyclists has been steadily growing with an increasing number joining cycling clubs and more women than ever choosing to cycle to work. 
 
Leading the way is the Chief Executive of Belfast City Council, Suzanne Wylie, who regularly commutes on her bike to work at the City Hall.
 
Suzanne joined a group of women cyclists at Belfast City Hall who came together to promote female cycling on International Women’s Day today, Tuesday 8 March.
 
Suzanne Wylie said:
 
“I regularly cycle in and out of work as it enables me to build some exercise into my busy working day. It can also be quicker than driving! I get frustrated sitting in traffic so I’d rather jump on my bike and cycle to work via Comber Greenway. 
 
“It’s great to see Sustrans working to redress the gender imbalance of cycling. I would encourage women everywhere to give it a try. It is definitely one of the quickest ways to get about and with the availability of Belfast Bikes across the city, it’s never been easier to cycle!”
 
Belfast City Council is one of a number of public sector employees taking part in Sustrans’ Leading The Way programme, funded by the Public Health Agency, which promotes walking and cycling as a means of travel, and is helping to deliver the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
 
The Belfast Bike Life report, produced by Sustrans and the Department for Regional Development (DRD), found a higher number of women cycle in Belfast in general (for work and leisure) compared to other UK cities but that men still outnumber women cyclists in Belfast by almost two to one.
 
Claire McLernon, Sustrans Active Travel Officer said:
 
“Nothing encourages women to get on a bike more than seeing other women cycling. There has never been a better time to encourage women to try cycling.
 
The Belfast Bikes has dramatically raised the profile of cycling in the city but men are still twice as likely to cycle in Belfast as women. We need government, traders, cycling clubs, other cyclists and the media to empower women to embrace bicycles not just for leisure or sport but for their everyday journeys.”
 

Listen to BBC Radio Ulster interview [Listen at 02:15:47]

Read more on Belfast Bike Life report.

Find out more about the Leading The Way programme for workplaces.