Thank you to everyone who came and joined the ride last Sunday, 16 January, to cycle around some of Westminster’s most iconic places in the winter sunshine!
There were nearly 200 riders, mostly women, including families with children as young as three and an incredible range of ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. A lot of thought had gone into the ‘fabulous’ dress code. We were delighted to be joined by women from Hounslow Cycle Sisters and from Green Stars cycling club, who rode from Palmers Green Mosque in Enfield. Wheels for Wellbeing was represented by founder Isabelle Clement who joined us on her hand cycle.
The ride used quiet roads and segregated cycle lanes including the temporary Park Lane cycle lane installed by Transport for London. There is considerable local opposition to this safe cycleway, so if you want to show your support, please complete the TfL survey. A consultation is coming soon on making the lane permanent.
Both Westminster and neighbouring Kensington and Chelsea have next to no protected bike lanes on their own roads. We are calling for this to change so that everyone can cycle safely – and reduce carbon emissions from our streets.
This ride brought together many brilliant women campaigners from across London and we’re thinking about how we can continue to work together to advocate for the needs of women cycling in London. Watch this space!|
L to R: Lesley Lau, Georgia Williams and Clare Thomas
Helen Jones (dressed as Billie Samuel, who cycled from Melbourne to Sydney in 1934)
Winter Wonder Ride was the brainchild of four Westminster residents who have come together as ‘Westminster Women on Wheels’. They organised the ride with the support of Westminster Cycling Campaign and LCC staff.
Georgia Williams lives in Westminster and began cycling in the first lockdown thanks to the protected cycle lane on Park Lane. “Cycling meant I could get to work in the West End without using public transport and putting my elderly relatives at risk of infection,” says Georgia. “But I would never have got on a bike without the safety of a protected bike lane.”
Clare Thomas lives in Marylebone and has two children aged 3 and 5. She says, “The Park Lane cycle lane is invaluable to me to feel safer cycling after dark – I would never take the Hyde Park bike path at those times. I love the new segregated bike lanes in general as I feel much more confident taking my 5-year old cycling on them, in a way which still doesn’t feel as safe on a normal road or even Westminster’s quietways.”
Lesley Lau has lived in Little Venice for 11 years, but only began cycling 18 months ago. She says, “For me, a protected cycle lane is the difference between a journey which is enjoyable and stress-free and one which can makes me feel vulnerable and unsafe. I started cycling during the first lockdown and the protected cycle lanes allowed me to practise and gain confidence. Without the protected cycle lanes, I simply would not have dared to start cycling.”
Helen Jones has lived in Bayswater for 12 years and is an experienced ride leader. She says, “Leading rides in London for women made me realise how important it is, especially for women, to feel safe cycling on city streets. Protected lanes give this sense of safety, but lanes shared with motor vehicles, even Westminster’s ‘quietways’, do not.”
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