Name: Sylvia

Location: North West London

Current commuting bike: Christiania Cargobike 3-wheeler

Favourite commuting kit: My most important bit of kit is the bike! Aside from that, my poncho is good for keeping the rain off of my legs and arms.

Why do you pick cycling as your transport?: For me it was out of necessity since my children did not go to the school that was next to us. And so we found another school that was further away which was 50 mins on the bus which was impossible. The best next solution was cycling and then we found cargobikes. It was the best tool for the job.

What is the most useful cycling tip you have received?: Talk to people who are taking the same type of journeys. We were lucky to know some friends who had a cargobike who I could ask lots of questions. Especially with non-standard cycles, I could ask them where you park, where you keep it, stuff like that.

Why do you think it is important to get women cycling?: Women are the ones who do most of the short journey trips around town, dropping off children, seeing relatives, doing shopping, things like this. Cycling is really important for these kinds of trips because they are multi-stop, so cycling can make your life so much easier.

What do you think is the biggest barrier to women cycling?: The data is showing that women are more likely to cycle if they have proper and safe infrastructure. But you also need to incorporate children into cycling as lots of women are looking after them a lot of the time.

And there’s also simple things like making sure all bikes are fitted with a chain guard - I don’t want grease on my leg! You need something you don’t need to worry about like hub gears so everything is contained with less maintenance. And then physical things like the two-tiered bike racks, I can’t put my bike up there because it's too heavy. So we need to design infrastructure for the less abled person so that it works for everybody else.

There’s also the perception of danger. I mean cycling is not inherently dangerous but when you cycle to work people always think you’re ‘brave’. Because when it's discussed in the media it's within the frame of danger, someone getting knocked off etc. The whole narrative around cycling needs to change.

I also wanted to say harassment. When you feel like you can’t dress or cycle how you would like because people will comment, or when you can’t not wear a helmet because people will comment. I think when I cycle with my husband we won’t receive the same comments from people.

Your favourite environmentally friendly habit?: The best thing that you can do is shop locally which the bicycle helps a lot with. I’m French so that’s how I’m used to shopping anyway, you only go to the supermarkets from time to time but you mainly shop at your local baker or greengrocer. The best way to combat climate change is to shop local and support your local high street and economy.

Greener cities through women cycling....

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