Cycling UK led by women for first time in charity’s history

Cycling UK has appointed Janet Atherton, former Director of Public Health and Senior Public Health Adviser in NHS Test and Trace, as chair of trustees. Atherton has been on the board for over four years and took up the role of chair on 1 January 2021.

Following last year’s appointment of Sarah Mitchell as Chief Executive, this marks the first time in the charity’s 143-year history that women have held the top two posts.

Janet Atherton, Cycling UK’s chair said: “Cycling UK’s mission is to get millions more people cycling. Cycling should be accessible to everyone regardless of their background, age, ability, beliefs or gender. I want to see Cycling UK continue to build a social movement to get people out on bikes.”

Cycling UK is striving for equality in the world of cycling. Despite being an activity that can be enjoyed by everyone, women are still hugely underrepresented. Figures suggest that in England, men make 2.5 times as many cycle trips as women and cycled 3.6 times as many miles.

The Women’s Festival of Cycling is taking place for the fifth time in July 2021 during which Cycling UK hopes to invite women to join organised rides and digital events, giving advice and sharing cycling tips to encourage more women to start riding.

The festival aims to empower more women to feel confident to cycle and will be celebrating achievements through the 100 Women in Cycling.

Atherton added: “As an organisation we have worked hard to promote women’s cycling. We’ve achieved a lot in the past four years, but it feels like we could do so much more and I am excited to play my part in it.”

Sarah Mitchell, who took up the position of chief executive of Cycling UK at the end of 2020 said: “Women make up 50% of the population and yet the vast majority of cycle journeys are made by men. We have to redress this imbalance.

“Cycling UK provides women with the space, support and opportunity to cycle. Whether that’s by organising women-only rides or providing online support and training sessions.

“The Women’s Festival of Cycling takes place in July but our support of women in cycling continues all year long.”