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Get on your bike this Women’s Health Week

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Now in its third year, the Spoke Up program will aim to change Canberra women’s attitudes towards cycling through hands-on learning.

Question: If you’re not one the many women who regularly head off on their bike around Canberra each week, what’s holding you back?

Is it because:

  1. You don’t feel confident in your cycling abilities
  2. You feel you don’t have enough time
  3. You’re worried your personal presentation will be impacted

If you answered yes to one or all of the above, but still hold hope that one day you’ll cycle more, you’re in luck.

For the third year running, the Active Travel Office In the ACT Government is hosting Spoke Up as part of Women’s Health Week. Aimed at getting more women in the saddle (the bike saddle, that is), Spoke Up will encompass five days of events in the hope of combatting the above reasons why women choose to drive instead of ride, particularly for short trips.

Spoke Up was created as a way of combatting the lower participation of women in cycling for both transport and recreation*. While women’s cycling participation in the Inner North of Canberra is high, rates of participation are close to zero in outlying areas of Canberra, despite the fact that many of those trips are under five kilometres.

Next week across 2-8 September (AKA Women’s Health Week 2019), Spoke Up will be offering workshops, talks, community drop-ins, meet-ups and skills sessions–all free of charge–to help boost confidence and tackle logistical issues. Here’s what you can look forward to:

CASUAL DISCUSSION: WOMEN’S CYCLING CULTURE IN CANBERRA 

Women of all ages are invited to this casual panel discussion, which will explore the culture around female cycling in Canberra and ask, what can we all do to get more women cycling every day?

Facilitated by ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment and e-bike ambassador Kate Auty, the event will bring together women who are experienced in everyday cycling with those who are new to it, including e-bike users, new mums, grandmothers, adventurers, health professionals, eco-stylists and elite athletes.

Anyone is welcome to come along and join in the discussion or just listen, with experienced riders encouraged to bring along a friend who is open to change in their own lifestyle.

Tuesday 3 September from 7-9pm | The Ruc Turner, 54 McCaughey Street | Website  

FIND OUT MORE: COMMUNITY DROP-IN SESSIONS

Financial savings are just one of the many benefits of making short trips by bike.

These southside community drop-in sessions will explore these benefits and more, while listening to what local women need to make cycling short trips easier within the Tuggeranong region.

Hosted by the Active Travel Office and ACT Division of the Heart Foundation, the drop-in sessions will be discussing route planning, bike skills, personal presentation and more, and will even have a new e-cargo bike on hand for demonstration.

Two sessions on Wednesday 4 September–9:30am-12pm at Lanyon Marketplace, 12:30-4:30 at Erindale Shopping Centre | Website

FIND YOUR TRIBE: NEW PARENTS MEET UP  

The Learn-to-Ride Centre on the shores of Lake Ginninderra is the perfect place for new (and new-ish) parents to meet up and chat about cycling as a family.

Got a unique family bike set-up such as a cargo bike, tandem or trailer? Bring it along to inspire other families and share your tips.

There will also be community organisations set up on the day to discuss cycling for people with a disability and discuss skills programs and the Active Travel Office will also be on hand to walk families though all things active travel, including display maps of Canberra’s shared path network.

There will also be demonstrations of e-bikes and cargo bikes for transporting goods and people and healthy snacks.

Friday 6 September 9:30 am – 12 pm | Belconnen Learn to Ride Centre, Lake Ginninderra near the car park off MacDermott Place | Website

UP-SKILL AND GAIN CONFIDENCE: COACHED CYCLING SKILLS SESSION

Hosted by cycling community Females in Training, this skills session will be an approachable, no-judgement environment for women looking to feel more confident in the saddle.

With demonstrations and expert coaching, you’ll learn how to ride using a variety of handlebars, including flat and drop handlebars and come away feeling more confident and ready for your next ride.

There are also intermediate coaching sessions and social rides as part of Females in Training, so if you’re ready to take on a new challenge, make sure you check out their website.

Friday 6 September from 6:15 am – 7:15 am |  1 Langton Cres., Parkes (Map), in the long carpark between the Treasury Building and Commonwealth Avenue | Website  

Find the full Spoke Up 2019 program here.

* According to the 2016 Australian census and the 2017 Household Travel Survey

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