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Inclusive bike skills sessions for women and non-binary residents in Merri-bek

By September 13, 2023No Comments
Cazz from Bike It Better is demonstrating how to fix a bike. A group of women and non-binary people stand around her observing

Bike riding is not just about the wind in your hair and the thrill of adventure. It’s a great way to boost your physical and mental well-being.

Unfortunately, women and non-binary people often face barriers to bike riding. Recent research in Melbourne shows that lack of knowledge and confidence in bike maintenance skills are key concerns.

In May and June 2023, we held bike skills sessions for more than 60 women, trans and non-binary residents. Our aim was to create a safe space for folks to pedal away with confidence.

Cazz Clarke from Bike it Better led the demonstration sessions and hands-on workshops. Cazz has over 10 years of experience as a cycle coach and runs community programs to help people boost their skills and confidence.

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

In the hands-on sessions, participants got to tinker with their own bikes. They also worked together to help each other remove wheels, fix tyres. and get to know their bikes.

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

What are women and non-binary residents seeking from the bike skills sessions?

The sessions attracted bike riders from complete beginners to more experienced bike riders. 42% of people ride a bike daily, 38% ride weekly, 10% ride monthly, and 10% ride once a year or never.

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 community.

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

Anonymous participant feedback

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

Outcomes

It was fantastic to see so many participants leave the sessions with a new-found love of bikes.

We asked people to complete a survey at the end of their session and found that:

  • 77% say that they are now more likely to ride their bike for transport or ride more often as after attending our sessions
  • 72% say that sessions being only for women and non-binary people influenced their decision to sign up for the course
  • 96% felt that they learnt new skills and boosted their confidence in bike maintenance skills.

I enjoyed learning many skills to look after my bike from friendly experts and meeting other women in the community.

Anonymous participant feedback

Many participants also say that it was reassuring to have an expert bicycle skills coach to lead the sessions. Cazz from Bike it Better put everyone at ease with her patience and encouragement.

We’re looking forward to hosting more community workshops when the weather is warmer. We’d love to see more people gain the skills, freedom, and confidence to get on their bikes!

Cazz is teaching attendees how to change a tyre. People are practicing on their own bikes
Cazz is demonstrating safety tips on a bike. Attendees are sitting on chairs with notepads and pens