Published: 04th Oct 2023 Images: Scottish Cycling

Women and Girls leading the way in Rock Up & Ride

As Scottish Women & Girls in Sport Week continues, we wanted to showcase the excellent work community groups are doing through our Rock Up & Ride Project to get more women and girls on two wheels.

On day three of Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week we want to spotlight the Rock Up & Ride project and the amazing women and girls involved in it.

Rock Up & Ride is a project funded by Transport Scotland whose aim is to remove barriers to cycling by improving access to bikes for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Eligible children engage in fun skills-based coaching sessions and receive a free bike with all necessary accessories in the end. Apart from youth sessions, we also collaborate with adult community groups by providing the sites with a fleet of bikes that they then use to organise inclusive led rides. Follow the link to learn more about Rock Up & Ride.

As part of the children’s side of the project, we have recently launched our girls-only group. Looked after by coaches from Glasgow Riderz, 13 secondary school girls meet up for their weekly sessions in Bellahouston Park. They are currently halfway through their block and very excited to get their own new bikes next week! This is a great opportunity for them to gain valuable cycling skills in an inclusive girls-only environment, and having a bike will give them a new sense of freedom and independence.

Another kids’ club that has stood out with its involvement of girls in the sessions is Glasgow-based ANSAR. With a female club leader, we have been seeing great participation of primary school age girls. Many of them couldn’t cycle when they showed up at their first session, but they fell in love with cycling very quickly. Four girls at ANSAR have already received their new bikes, with many more signed up for future sessions.

The community-based strand of Rock Up & Ride has a plethora of differing opportunities available to participants. Our longest-running Rock Up & Ride group, Women on Wheels specialises in female-only activities, also offering inclusive sessions for parents and children to ride or learn to ride together as a family. Since receiving their bikes in June this year they have organised 18 female-only led rides that engaged 104 participants.

This number has only surpassed by Yipworld from Cumnock in East Ayrshire who have managed to organise 22 led rides with 109 participants under the supervision of Debra – a very passionate cycling enthusiast. You can find out more about how the project in Cumnock is progressing below:

Another community group with an immense potential for changing lives is Westhill & District Sport and Community Leisure Hub, also known as Live Life Aberdeenshire. They operate through combining the Breeze programme of women-only rides in Aberdeenshire with Rock Up & Ride by offering free access to bikes for women wanting to join Breeze rides. This is a great strategy of utilising the existing system while making it more inclusive to those who don’t own a bike. The team at Westhill have just recently joined Rock Up & Ride but are ready to get their activities up and running on the weekend of 7th and 8th October – perfect timing for Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week!

Finally, as an exciting variation from the regular led rides, Glasgow’s Movement Park is launching their girls-only BMX freestyle sessions in late October. Getting familiar with this more specialised way to cycle is a golden opportunity for the young riders to gain some unique skills, and more importantly have more fun on two wheels. With the wide offering of Movement Park, the BMX sessions can hopefully act as an entry to other fun disciplines such as skateboarding, parkour, or other types of BMX riding.