Published: 20th FEBRUARY 2023

#AndSheCycles Fund winners announced

Schools, youth organisations and a cycling club are among the successful applicants of this year’s fund.

Teenage girl posing with her bike giving a thumbs up and smiling

Groups like the Glasgow Riderz and Heavy Sound will be given equipment, such as helmets and bikes, thanks to the #AndSheCycles Fund. Credit: Gavin Fort

The #AndSheCycles campaign celebrates the mental, physical and environmental benefits of cycling among young women.

According to a Sustrans survey, only half as many young women aged 13 to 18 cycle to school, compared to young men of the same age.

Sustrans aims to change this by creating an online community for young women and empowering them with the skills and knowledge to get active.

The campaign is 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 on the experience of young women.

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As part of the campaign, leaders of groups of young women were invited to apply for funding to help purchase items such as bikes, lockers, helmets or special equipment like adaptive or non-standard cycles.

Last year groups were awarded funding for fleets of bikes and helmets with hair ports.

This current round of funding saw a record number of applications with schools, youth organisations and a cycling club among the winners.


Widening access

The first successful applicant is youth cycling club Glasgow Riderz.

Leaders at the club have witnessed first-hand how more girls than boys stop cycling when they reach their teenage years.

While more young men than women currently attend, they aim to have an equal ratio and see bike ownership as a barrier.

Funding from Sustrans and Transport Scotland will allow them to buy adult-sized bikes and helmets so more teenage girls, particularly from areas of social deprivation, can participate.

Alison Cassidy, Trustee, Glasgow Riderz said:

"Glasgow Riderz SCIO is delighted to receive funding to purchase larger bikes and helmets suitable for secondary school-age girls.

"This will allow girls to participate in cycling who don't have access to a bike.

"We want girls to feel confident and to experience the benefits, fun and friendship cycling can bring."

More girls will be able to experience the benefits, fun and friendship that cycling can bring with the addition of new kit. Credit: Glasgow Riderz

Cycle club to boost wellbeing

Another successful applicant, Grantown Grammar School, will receive new helmets and bike maintenance tools, so their cycling club can continue.

Teachers at the school are hoping to support the overall physical, mental and emotional health of girls with low attendance and self-esteem.

Cycling has proven to be a popular hit with the students so the funding will enable them to encourage more girls to join the club.

Another school to receive funding is Harlaw Academy in Aberdeen where some girls say they feel too self-conscious to cycle.

Their #AndSheCycles cycling group has helped to increase the number of girls on bikes, however, extra kit is required to boost participation even more.

There are plans to purchase reflective jackets, pairs of gloves and helmets specifically for braids.

Clare Tayler, Science Teacher at Harlaw Academy, said:

"The #AndSheCycles funding will make a really positive difference to our cycling group.

"We will be able to buy helmets that fit better over the girls’ braids.

"Cycling in Aberdeen the weather can be cold and unpredictable so having warm waterproof jackets and gloves will make the girls more comfortable and the rides even more enjoyable."


Overcoming barriers

Another organisation to win funding is the youth organisation Heavy Sound, which transforms the lives of vulnerable and disengaged young people through music, biking, sports and mentoring.

Members of the group, as well as some women among the staff, say they face numerous social barriers to cycling, including low confidence, money and lack of family support.

There is an ambition to start an #AndSheCycles cycling group with the addition of new helmets, gloves, bikes and a container.

Eve Simpson, Youth Services Assistant Manager, at Heavy Sound said:

"Heavy Sound are delighted to have been awarded this funding to help engage teenage girls, young women, trans and non-binary individuals in learning to ride a bike or increase their confidence on a bike.

"This funding will allow us to remove some of the physical and social barriers that the people we support face with accessing cycling.

"By providing equipment chosen by the group for the group, as well as time, space and support, this project aims to increase the participants’ confidence, health and well-being and independence to actively travel safely in the community."


Safe space to cycle

Whitburn Academy in West Lothian is another successful applicant of the funding.

The funding will enable them to buy new bikes and helmets so more young women and girls can access cycling.

There are also plans to create a dedicated after school bike club to get more young women into sports.

Another successful applicant planning to get more girls and young women into sports is Kingussie High School.

Currently, half the girls in school don't take part in any exercise outside of school and many don't have the confidence to ride independently.

The school will receive bike jackets and rucksacks so they can build on the girls-only trips as part of the mountain bike club.

Next, Alford Academy will get helmets and gloves to help with the launch of an #AndSheCycles group in the spring.

The final organisation to win funding is Girlguiding Ellon District.

While some girls already cycle to and from guide sessions, there is nowhere safe to store their bikes.

The leaders at the Girlguiding group also want to widen access so those who need bikes can use them to boost their mental health and keep active.

The funding will be used for the installation of a bike shelter and new bikes.

Moira Lawrence, leader of 1st Ellon Guides and 1st Ellon Rangers at Girlguiding Ellon, said:

"Girlguiding Ellon are absolutely delighted to receive funding towards installing a bike shelter at our Guide hut and really excited to receive bikes, helmets and locks.

“This will allow us to encourage cycling to and from the Guide hut thereby reducing our carbon footprint, encouraging families to cycle with their daughter or sister and will ensure the bikes can be stored securely during meetings.

“The new bikes will help girls get regular exercise and allow those who don't have their own bikes to participate in unit activities that include cycling, such as sports interest badges and trips and outings along long paths and roads."


Are you a youth group leader or teacher? Visit our #AndSheCycles hub for free resources on how to encourage more girls and young women to cycle.

Sign up your school to the Big Walk and Wheel 2023.

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