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More women & non-binary residents in Merri-bek building bike skills & confidence

By June 3, 2024No Comments

We know that women and gender diverse people often face increased barriers to bike riding. Research in Melbourne shows that lack of knowledge and confidence in bike maintenance skills are key concerns

Council has held more free women’s, non-binary & gender nonconforming bike maintenance sessions to create a safe space for folks to pedal away with confidence, in addition to offering sessions for all genders.

After the success of our workshops last year, we teamed up with Cazz from Bike it Better and Merri-bek Libraries to run another 5 sessions this Autumn – 3 womens & non binary courses and 2 all-gender courses across Coburg, Glenroy & Brunswick.

During March and April, we trained 46 more locals in basic bike maintenance. Since starting these sessions in 2023, we’ve trained 113 Merri-bek residents in bike maintenance & confidence.

Such a great session and can’t believe it was free! Definitely helped to give confidence biking.

Anonymous participant feedback

The sessions attracted riders from complete beginners to more regular bike riders – 42% of those who attended ride a bike daily, 38% ride weekly, 4% ride monthly, and 16% ride once a year or never.

In the sessions, Cazz provides an introduction into the basics, including the structure of a bike, how to make sure it is the right size, and what safety checks to do.

Participants are then able to tinker with their own bikes. They also work together to help each other remove wheels, fix tyres. and get to know their bikes.

Thanks to the incredible Good Cycles, a local social enterprise, we had a great range of bike tools to play with. Keen learners took the opportunity to buy tools to take home to keep honing their skills.

What are locals seeking from the bike skills sessions?

86% of those who signed up for the course said they had very limited or limited bike maintenance knowledge. Participants were excited to learn the basic skills needed to keep their bike in good working order. They wanted to do this in a space with other woman and non-binary people in their local community.

I want to upskill my basic bike maintenance knowledge and experience in an inclusive environment surrounded by like-minded individuals.

Anonymous participant feedback

Other attendees wanted to learn bike maintenance to ride more safely with their kids.

What did residents think of the sessions?

    • 72% said that sessions being only for women and non-binary people only influenced their decision to attend the course
    • 80% said that they are now more likely to ride their bike for transport or ride more often as after attending our sessions
    • 100% felt that they learnt new skills and boosted their confidence in bike maintenance skills
    • 100% said they enjoyed the course and found the instructor clear and easy to understand

I loved the small group & fact it was women/non-binary - very welcoming environment!

Anonymous participant feedback

We are looking forward to hosting more community workshops later in the year – follow our Libraries events page to be the first to know when we release our next round of sessions.

There are also more advanced mechanics sessions for Women, Trans & GNC folk down at our local CERES Bike Shed – keep an eye on their website or Facebook for their next course.

We can’t wait to see more people gain the skills, freedom, and confidence to get on their bikes!