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Pioneering cycling and fashion workshops to get more girls taking to two wheels

Clockwise from left, Rapha product technologist Lucia Boxall, pupil Alice Waugh, 15, Cllr Claudia Webbe, EGA’s Year 10 lead learning mentor Sheryl Sterne, pupil Jadah Stewart, 15, GLL’s women and girls manager Gemma Tully, and Helena Callow, TfL youth travel ambassador co-ordinator.

Clockwise from left, Rapha product technologist Lucia Boxall, pupil Alice Waugh, 15, Cllr Claudia Webbe, EGA’s Year 10 lead learning mentor Sheryl Sterne, pupil Jadah Stewart, 15, GLL’s women and girls manager Gemma Tully, and Helena Callow, TfL youth travel ambassador co-ordinator.

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A pioneering new project aimed at getting more young women to take up cycling is getting Islington teenagers in a spin.

Called “This Girl Can Islington”, the pilot project started this week and sees young women from three Islington secondary schools taking an innovative approach to overcoming common issues that discourage them from cycling – leading to a stark difference in the proportions of boys and girls who cycle.

Students at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School (EGA), Highbury Fields School and City & Islington College this week started designing and creating fashionable and practical cycling clothes, which will help them feel more comfortable on a bike.

On hand to help is one of the cycling industry’s leading designers from Rapha – which has kitted out Olympic champion Sir Bradley Wiggins and supplies Team Sky.

Pupils will also learn how to be safe and confident taking to the roads on a bicycle with Islington Council’s Bikeability programme.

The project will end with a scene-stealing fashion show in Highbury Fields this summer, with pupils enjoying a picnic then modelling the cool new clothes they have designed while cycling down a special runway.

The young women will cycle to the event itself to reinforce the girls’ new-found confidence on the road – and will lead on its organisation, branding and marketing.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, executive member for environment and transport, said: “This innovative project was the result of looking at the underlying causes of lower rates of cycling among young women in Islington compared to young men.

“Addressing concerns around fashion and practicality in such a hands-on way is key to getting more young women cycling – and our Bikeability training will give them the skills and road safety awareness to make the most of their new-found confidence.

“I look forward to seeing the fruits of this pioneering, fun and engaging project at Highbury Fields this summer.”

The project is a collaboration between Islington Council, Transport for London (TfL) and Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL). The fashion workshops are led by a TfL youth travel ambassador co-ordinator.

For more information contact:

Stephen Moore
Senior Media Officer
020 7527 3224
Stephen.Moore2@islington.gov.uk