Women-Fix-It offers free bike maintenance courses and led rides to women in Camberwell, South London. Project coordinator, Annie Griffiths set up the project to change the gender gap - both in the bike workshop and on the roads.
“I heard so many women saying that they never felt comfortable fixing their bikes, or asking ‘stupid questions’. I wanted to create a space where women could ask those ‘stupid questions’ whilst learning high quality maintenance skills and having FUN! Statistics show women are underrepresented in cycling so we welcome all groups of women, with a strong focus on outreach to traditionally underrepresented groups – refugees, asylum seekers, Black, Asian and ethnic minority women.”
The CGL funding has enabled the project to set up from scratch, recruit women and deliver 3-week maintenance courses since February 2016. Five courses spread throughout the spring and summer on Saturday mornings have been a huge success. Courses facilitated by lead mechanic Kate teach women about the parts of a bike, how to really fix punctures, cleaning, safety checks and brakes. With this knowledge, women should be able to safely keep their bikes on the road. What’s more, if they do need to go into a bike shop they will have a better understanding of what needs fixing. Here’s what some of our beneficiaries have said:
“I have more confidence to work on and fix my bike myself, which is what I wanted to achieve. I hope these classes continue and go on to have an intermediate level as well as beginner. Thank you!”
“This workshop was fantastic, I learnt so much and am so grateful for all the instruction and help that I received. I will DEFINITELY take much more care of my bike and maintain it myself. I’d love to attend more advanced workshops in the future.”
In the summer months, the project has facilitated lead rides around quiet routes in London. Groups of women from the project have cycled together to Burgess Park, Greenwich and more recently we have introduced themed rides. We have a City Farm ride coming up on 17th September which will stop off at Surrey Docks, Mudchute, Stepney, Spitalfields and Hackney City Farm (for more information please visit our Facebook page).
Collaboration with partner organisations has enabled the project to get off the ground. Women-Fix-It has been facilitated through The Otesha Project UK, an environmental and social justice charity, and workshop space was kindly provided by BeeUrban who set up a bike workshop in Camberwell Subterranea. We are thankful to all involved in the cycling grants programme, Groundwork, Transport for London, The Otesha Project and BeeUrban for helping us make it happen.
Having had such success, Women-Fix-It now hopes to apply for more funding to develop activities and open up more opportunities for women to learn about bikes.
If you’d like to know more, get in touch with Annie Griffiths: [email protected] or visit facebook.com/womenfixit/