Dublin female cycle group encourages women to get on their bikes

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A Dublin based group holds monthly females-only cycles in a bid to get more women on their bikes around the capital.

The group, called Monthly Cycles, have an event every month where experienced and inexperienced women cyclists meet up to take a trip around Dublin.

The initiative also has a social aspect as the women explore parts of the capital together and always stop for tea and cake.

Joan O’Connell, co-founder of Monthly Cycles, said their aim is to reach women that are comfortable and uncomfortable with cycling.

She said on Morning Ireland on Wednesday: “We have three main areas where we would work. Primarily, we have a monthly event for an inclusive cycle around the city and what that means is we’re trying to reach those women who are comfortable cycling, and maybe those who aren’t yet.

“They might be a little bit nervous about going out on the road so we try to welcome everyone of all ages and abilities to join us.

“It’s also a social event, so we explore parts of Dublin, share experiences, stop off for cake and a cup of tea, with the added bonus of cycling then thrown into that.

“We also carry out some research and submissions to various public bodies, to try and make sure that we communicate that idea of inclusive cycling and inclusive infrastructure in the wider public realm as well.”

Joan was asked why so few teenage girls cycle and she said it’s due to both a lack of infrastructure and harassment.

She said: “One of the main reasons is the lack of same, segregated cycling infrastructure that’s fully accessible and accessible for all ages and abilities.

“But also, in relation to teenage girls, above and beyond the infrastructure question, there’s also the issue that they are pushed away and won’t cycle because they receive harassment, both by teenage boys and also from adult men.

“The primary reason that they have cited for that harassment is simply the fact that they are cycling. So that by itself completely pushes them away from that activity.

“So there’s a huge issue there that affects teenage girls and also then women as they grow from their teenage years.”

Joan said she would like to see a cycling commissioner be appointed in Ireland.

“I would certainly welcome a cycling commissioner when we look at examples from abroad. For example, in Manchester they have a cycling commissioner who has been very involved in rolling out a lot of safe cycle routes throughout the city.

“So from our perspective at Monthly Cycles, one of the things we need to look at is deeds and not words. We need to see the quick and rapid delivery of safe and segregated cycle infrastructure.

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