We started in January 2017 by inviting a few women who lacked confidence in cycling to come on a bike ride, and soon discovered that there is a significant, growing demand for support to help women start cycling.
- Increase diversity in cycling by providing support for women, families and groups who are traditionally less likely to cycle
- Help women to build their confidence and empower themselves through cycling
- Create opportunities for new social connections between different communities
- Provide support for all communities to benefit from improved cycling infrastructure in Waltham Forest
- Increase access to local green spaces, helping people to explore the Lea Valley, Marshes, Olympic Park and Epping Forest.
Through our work with other local initiatives such as Cycle Sisters and Fatimah Elizabeth Cates Academy’s FECycle Club, we have developed a network of over 80 female cyclists since Spring 2017, most of whom were new to to cycling and are now passionate about cycling!
“Being part of JoyRiders has opened up a large social circle for me, within a community that I would have not otherwise had the opportunity to engage with. It’s benefitted my daughter in her friendships at school, that I’ve been able to understand the culture of their families and engage with their parents. I have meet so many amazing women, that I wouldn’t have been confident to speak with before and I’m grateful to be truly part of the diverse community of Waltham Forest.”
Camilla, volunteer Ride Leader
What we’ve achieved:
- Ride Leader training for 13 people from ethnic minority/Muslim backgrounds
- 67 Cycle Skills trainees from ethnic minority communities (predominantly female)
- 48 women-only led rides with 76 unique participants (Cycle Sisters and Hornbeam JoyRiders)
- 7 family rides with an additional 88 unique participants
- 7 ‘Brothers’ rides for Muslim men and children with 20 participants
- At least 35 participants/trainees have since bought their own bikes and started cycling independently
- National Standards Instructor training for 2 people from ethnic minority/Muslim backgrounds with a 3rd starting work
- Establishment of Hornbeam Community Cycling Forum
- Women only and family rides are regularly over-subscribed
- Weekly women only rides on Tuesdays in term time. All women welcome.
- Bikes provided for those who need them (booking required)
- Our rides are led by a diverse group of trained female volunteer Ride Leaders from local communities.
- Rides start from Leyton Jubilee Park or Low Hall Depot at 9.15am and finish by 12 midday.
- Our rides are designed for women to relax, enjoy themselves and take time out from the daily grind. We always stop at a cafe or park for some social time.
- Two rides each month are an ideal next step for beginners who have just learned to ride, on quiet off-road scenic routes. Two rides per month are intermediate, on-road rides, ideal for those who can cycle but want to gain confidence on roads by riding in a led group.
- More details of our next ride on Hornbeam JoyRiders Facebook here where we post eventbrite links. To be kept informed of future rides, please ‘like’ this facebook page.
- Before booking onto of our rides, please ensure you complete this one-off form for insurance purposes:
- For any queries about the rides, please email email@example.com
- Family rides during school holidays, in partnership with Fatimah Elizabeth Cates Academy.
- A chance to build confidence in cycling with your children in a social setting with other families.
- Supported by experienced volunteer ride leaders from local communities.
- Dads and kids welcome!
- Adult and kids bikes available (booking required), limited spaces.
- All rides include a long cafe or picnic stop, usually in a park, and make use of local off-road routes.
- Rides start and finish at Leyton Jubilee Park around 9.30am and finish by about 2pm.
- Weekly women only rides on Tuesdays in term time. All women welcome.
- We also work with Hackney Family Cycling Library and Carry Me Bikes, who loan family cycling equipment for our family rides – see below for details
- Cycle Skills training at all levels including complete beginners and on-road training, in partnership with Cycle Confident. We have a growing number of female cycle instructors from local communities who specialise in training women. For more information or to book training please visit https://www.cycleconfident.com/sponsors/waltham-forest/ or
- Support to participate in other led rides and cycling activities
We work closely with the award winning Cycle Sisters Muslim women’s cycle group, which rides every Wednesday in term time, usually from Waltham Forest Town Hall. We have supported Cycle Sisters by organising Ride Leader training for some of their regular participants who now regularly lead rides.
We helped to develop Fatimah Elizabeth Cates Academy’s FECycle Club, which organises regular rides for Muslim parents and families. FECA is a Walthamstow based Islamic Supplementary school.
Waltham Forest Council provides bikes for our cycle training and led rides and through its Cycle Training budget (funding Cycle Skills, Ride Leader and National Standards Instructor an First Aid training) Cycle Confident is our training provider. Training Ride Leaders and Cycling Instructors who are embedded in local communities enables us to reach and recruit people who wouldn’t normally consider cycling or cycle training.
We have teamed up with Carry Me Bikes and Hackney Family Cycling Library, the family cycling experts, who are running outreach sessions in Waltham Forest, loaning out equipment such as trailers, tagalongs and child bike seats and giving advice about how to cycle with young children. They also have some subsidised cargobike loans. Next sessions: Sunday 1st July in Leyton Jubilee Park, Wednesday 25 July in Lloyds Park.
How you can get involved:
- Complete our survey about barriers to cycling. This will help us to gain a better insight into the barriers preventing people from cycling and what support is needed to overcome them, as well as providing evidence to help us raise funds for more led rides and training.
- Complete our survey for those interested in led rides – when, where, how long, what support do you need to join rides? We hope to raise funds and build capacity to offer more rides, especially at weekends.
- Join us on a ride! Booking via eventbrite.
- If you are an experienced cyclist, volunteer to support our rides. We particularly need female cyclists who are available on weekdays. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Are you a Muslim woman with concerns about how to cycle wearing an abaya or jilbab? Read this blog for ‘insider tips on how to cycle in Islamic dress’ by one of our Ride Leaders, or add your own tips in the comments section.
- Would you like to cycle but need to learn? Book free training here – or for more information about what to expect from cycle training, email email@example.com
“ When the opportunity came to join a ride in August 2017 with Fatimah Elizabeth Cates Academy, where I am a teacher, I was really excited and put my name down not knowing what to expect. I had not ridden a bike since I was a child.
“I met Carolyn for the first time at the practice session who recruited a volunteer and a cycle confident instructor to help. I was surprised that as soon as I got on the bike I could ride straight away, by the end of two hours I was riding confidently and so were the other ladies. Everyone was so nice and supportive very patient and extremely kind. We all felt felt confident and entered the family bike ride organised by Hornbeam.
On the actual day it was very sunny and there were fifty of us to ride a short and long route. I had opted for the short route. There was a great atmosphere and I felt really happy and excited to be there. Carolyn’s whole family were there and some volunteers to support us during the bike ride. It was nice to see colleagues, parents and children from the school and my son had come too.
“We all started the ride together it felt really fantastic to be part of a team and a great form of encouragement. We rode through places I had never seen before or knew existed in Waltham Forest. There was lovely greenery and a river, I saw horses and people canoeing. As a driver I could see the cyclists point of view now and it felt good. People were really patient as they waited for us to pass and very friendly. I had chosen to ride the short route but my own enthusiasm and the whole atmosphere convinced me to take the long route. We ended up in the park for a lovely picnic. I felt really relaxed and felt great satisfaction that I had cycled this far. I really did not want this day to end, it was perfect. I felt free and joyous on the bike and it brought back good childhood memories.
“I had such a wonderful time and am so happy that I was given this opportunity and took it. I would say to anyone especially women that you can do it too. If you get the chance just try it. I feel really lucky and it has been a great inspiration to myself as a person. I will now continue to ride whenever the opportunity arises. I would like to say a big thank you to Hornbeam and to FEC Academy for making one of my wishes come true. “
Shenaz, who now rides regularly with Cycle Sisters and JoyRiders and has completed her level 2 (on road) cycle skills training. She hopes to get her own bike next.
100 Women in Cycling
We will be celebrating female cycling by profiling the many women riders and supporters of cycling, both within and outside of Cycling UK. The 100 Women in Cycling will be women who inspire others to take up the activity but who may not be well-known by the world at large.