Breaking down barriers
JoyRiders is an organisation that helps women of all ages and backgrounds, discover the joy and freedom of cycling in London. Ahead of the Saddle and Sole festival of walking and cycling on Sunday 24 September, JoyRiders’ CEO Mariam Draaijer tells us about their work
We run cycling lessons and group rides for women who are new to or returning to cycling. Our group rides are leisurely and social. Women from all backgrounds attend and we go at the pace of the slowest rider. I love the relaxed and friendly feel of our group rides, we often stop for a coffee and a chat. The most important thing is everyone feels comfortable and at ease.
There are many barriers for women starting any type of physical exercise and we try our best to break these down by sharing our knowledge and advice. We offer rides for all levels, avoid busy roads, and we answer any questions riders have. We keep groups together by having at least two ride leaders (one at the front and one at the back) and a maximum of 12 riders.
Being in the company of other women is a great way to reduce nervousness, as everyone supports each other. Joyriders is all about community, friendship, and empowering women. Riders benefit from being out in nature, socialising and discovering new places.
Cycling gives me energy, saves me money and is a fast and convenient way to travel around London. The roads are nice and wide in Islington and the side streets are lovely and quiet. There are beautiful green spaces, like Highbury Fields, as well as lots of nice buildings to look at when cycling through.
JoyRiders will be at Saddle and Sole in Highbury Fields on Sunday 24 September, 12 noon–6pm, with bikes for women to try out. There will be lots of fun, free activities for all ages and abilities including static bike racing, bike swaps, fun walks, crazy bikes, giveaways and cycle rides.