Bengaluru has a school for women who wish to cycle!
For women who wish to pedal their way to a more sustainable way of commuting, an initiative that works to include more women in the cycling community has been launched in the city, called Cycle School for Women.
A collective effort of Pedal in Tandem, Jhatkaa.org (a non profit, startup campaigning organisation), DULT (Directorate of Urban Land Transport ) and Church Street First, the aim is to make Bengaluru cycle-friendly especially for women cyclists. “We realised through various studies and surveys that there was a low participation of women in the city’s cycling community, due to various factors such as safety and personal inhibitions. We need to promote cycling infrastructure, with a focus on safety, keeping women at the centre of our initiative. To open streets for women cyclists would tantamount to the streets being safe for everyone,” says Nimisha Agarwal, a senior campaigner with Jhatkaa.org.
At Cycle School for Women, workshops are being organised on Sundays at Church Street with a two-pronged approach. “First, we are teaching women to cycle, so that they can be a part of the thriving cycling community in the city. Bengaluru has been working towards greater pedestrianisation and cycle-centric infrastructure to its citizens. Secondly, we want to equip existing women cyclist with practical skills such as fixing a tyre, so that they can continue to use cycle as a mode of transport,” explains Gowri Omanakuttan, a campaigner with #BengaluruMoving, which aims at solving the mobility crises in Bengaluru, adding, “The workshops, part of a pilot project, have seen tremendous response; we have over 150 sign ups from women who are interested in learning or upgrading their skills.”
Sonam Motreja, a resident of Shanthi Nagar who attended the cycle workshop feels this initiative will help women get over their inhibitions about cycling. ““I always wanted to go back to cycling, which I greatly enjoyed in my childhood. Women in general get perturbed by what society might think if they go out to cycle, especially if they are middle-aged. But it was heartening to see volunteers motivate women of all age groups, and were patiently teaching us. This will instil more confidence in women like me to go back to our favourite hobby!”
Author tweets @bhagat_mallika