Breaking Barriers to Cycling for Women

Have you always wanted to get on a bike, but something is holding you back? This is the programme for you, presented by Melanie Abbott. If you're completely new to cycling, there's no doubt it's intimidating on the roads. It's definitely worth sharpening up your road sense and many local councils now offer bike training courses. In East London, Bikeworks run cycling for wellbeing sessions for women returning to their bikes, after a long break. Melanie goes out with a group who've been cycling together now for a few weeks.

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Cycling is still, predominantly a male, middle class sport. Getting more women involved isn't easy, especially for women of colour. British Cycling, which covers everything from elite sport to grass roots, has set up its first ever diversity programme. and will be publishing its strategy in the coming months. Aneela McKenna is co chair of their diversity and inclusion advisory group. She joins Melanie along with Iffat Tejani, founder of Evolve, a cycling club for Muslim women and Victoria Hazael from the charity Cycling UK, who is a trustee of the Women of Colour in Cycling Collective.

Many disabled women find accessing sport particularly difficult and cycling can seem completely off limits and/or too expensive. But there are inclusive cycle groups all over the country offering weekly sessions on a huge range of adapted bikes. Others arrange rentals and ‘try before you buy’. Our Disability Affairs reporter Carolyn Atkinson goes to Herne Hill Velodrome in South London where a charity called Wheels for Wellbeing runs sessions for disabled cyclists.

Tracy Moseley has won countless mountain biking trophies, including the World Cup downhill in 2006. She officially retired six years ago, and had her little boy Toby three years ago. Like many keen cyclists who have children, life has changed a lot since then. Melanie gets her tips on teaching children to ride, and her views on racing with e-bikes.

Even if you are not entering races you may still be keen to "Strava your ride". It's one of the apps you can use to record your speeds and compare them with others. It's traditionally used by men, competing for the 'king of the mountain' crown, to be the fastest up a hill. But last year the company says there was a surge in the number of women using it and it seems they are just as keen to get a queen of the mountain accolade. Cyclist Sally Owens agreed to record her ride for us, up a tough hill near her home in Nottingham.