The Scotland-wide campaign #AndSheCycles is back to encourage more teenage girls to cycle for everyday journeys. Launching during Cycle to School Week, the digital campaign celebrates the mental, physical and environmental benefits of cycling.
The Scotland-wide campaign #AndSheCycles is back to encourage more teenage girls to cycle for everyday journeys. © Sustrans, all rights reserved
What is #AndSheCycles?
Sustrans first unveiled #AndSheCycles last year, guided by insights from groups of teenage girls aged 13 to 18 in Scotland.
The campaign is funded by the Scottish Government and inspired by Green Schools Ireland.
While cycling provides clear advantages, teenage girls have reported they choose not to cycle because of negative stereotypes, a lack of role models and low levels of confidence.
A Sustrans study conducted in Brighton and Hove found that just 0.4 percent of secondary school-aged girls cycle to school regularly, compared to 4.7 percent of boys.
The core message of the campaign is that cycling is a healthy, fun and faster way to travel.
Creating a community for teenage girls
For young people, a bicycle offers freedom and independence.
Teenage girls greatly benefit from the social bonds formed from cycling with friends, which supports their mental wellbeing.
The campaign is designed to create an online community for teenage girls, thereby boosting their confidence.
The @and_she_cycles Instagram account empowers followers to share their experiences of cycling and relate to like-minded individuals.
A video produced by communications and video specialists HeeHaw highlights cycling as enjoyable and inclusive.
This will be promoted across Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat for the duration of the campaign.
Dr Cecilia Oram, Head of Programme, Behaviour Change at Sustrans, said:
“We want girls to feel like they belong in this space because cycling is for everyone.
“Girls deserve to feel confident and fully in control of their movement and journey when cycling.
“Throughout this campaign, we want them to see themselves being represented and empowered.
“Being able to cycle to school or the cinema is something to be proud of, and it shouldn’t be a big deal for secondary school-aged girls at all.”
16-year-old Baridhi, an I Bike and #AndSheCycles ambassador, said:
“I like cycling because it’s an easy way to get yourself to different places.
“You can go through small paths and you don’t have to worry about being in the traffic.
“I think more teenage girls should cycle because it saves energy, it’s good for the environment and your health as well.”
Teaching resources and funding are available to teachers and youth group leaders. © Sustrans, all rights reserved
Resources for teachers and youth leaders
#AndSheCycles will also work with teachers and youth leaders, building on the work of the Sustrans I Bike programme.
We have developed a three-part interactive workshop for teachers and youth group leaders to help guide teenage girls and young women to shape and influence their own local #AndSheCycles campaign and develop their own action plans.
These sessions are aimed to be inclusive of trans and intersex women and girls, as well as non-binary and gender-fluid people who are comfortable in a space that centres the experience of young women.
The sessions will aim to explore the cycling experience of the group, address the barriers and attitudes towards cycling amongst their peers and create a group action plan to help address the gender gap in cycling.
Lucy Rose, teacher and leader of the I Bike group at Tynecastle High School, said:
“It is fantastic to watch the girls out on their bikes, some of them learning from scratch, seeing them in control and building independence.
“In school I see a lot of truth in the stereotype of boys being more comfortable being themselves or trying something new and this club has given the girls a comfortable platform to break it.
“To encourage all our students to choose active travel I’d encourage the adults to do it too, be the role model and understand their barriers in order to help them face them.”
Download the workshop resource pack by visiting the #AndSheCycles hub.
We will be launching our second round of #AndSheCycles funding on Monday 10th October 2022.
Up to £2,000 of funding will be available for groups of young women to enable them to cycle more often for everyday journeys.