Cycling and Walking Need A Woman’s Touch

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, is looking for more women to support walking and cycling across the UK.

There are around 600 women volunteering for Sustrans, donating a total of 32,500 hours of time every year. But, for every female volunteer there are three male volunteers, and Sustrans is keen to help women redress the balance.

Katie Aartse-Tuyn, Sustrans’ Volunteer Coordinator, said: “We are fortunate to have the help of a great team of volunteers, and are always ready to welcome new people to the team – men and women alike.

“But, we’re particularly keen to encourage more involvement from women. They are vital role models to help us get the message out there that active, environmentally-friendly methods of travel are for everyone”

Sustrans has a mix of volunteer roles to suit everyone. One of the most popular is the ranger role, helping to maintain local sections of the National Cycle Network, which now covers 12,000 miles across the UK.

Michele Taborn has been a Volunteer Ranger for Sustrans in north Devon for the last six years. She said: “I’m always surprised when I go to ranger meetings and there are far more men than women. Being a Volunteer Ranger is the ultimate in multi-tasking – it allows people to combine getting fit, socialising and making a real difference to the local environment.”

Also women are currently under-represented in cycling. A BMRB survey commissioned by Sustrans this spring revealed that 79 per cent of women in Britain never get on a bike despite 49 per cent having access to a one. Sustrans is hoping to change that in 2009, with a year of activities to get more women cycling, including a brand new website www.bikebelles.org.uk.

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