TV presenter fronts initiative designed to help overcome some barriers to cycling

TV presenter Christine Bleakley is hosting a series of new films form Barclays aimed at encouraging women to overcome some of the barriers that prevent them cycling from cycling as well as giving tips about how to get the most from their riding once they do take to two wheels.

The four short clips have been unveiled on YouTube this morning, and follow yesterday’s announcement by British Cycling that it is aiming to get 1 million more women cycling by 2020.

One video, Get on Your Bike, focuses on reasons for riding, while another, The Road to Safe Cycling, includes safety advice by Ellen Booth from the charity Brake. The third video, Spin In Style, looks at some of the more fashionable cycle clothing for women, showcased by Caz Nicklin of online retailer Cycle Chic, and the final one, Safety Checks, looks at some routine checks that should be performed before setting out on a ride.

Barclays says that part of the reason for it commissioning the series, called Cycling and the City, is due to research showing that half of women say they would cycle more if they felt more confident on the road, compared to a third of men.

While the videos are primarily aimed at female cyclists in London, where the bank sponsors the Barclays Cycle Superhighways and Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, the messages apply anywhere, and in most cases – well, perhaps not the fashion-related video – equally apply to men.

Bleakley says: “As with many things, confidence is all important, and the thought of cycling in London was a barrier I needed to get past.

“Knowledge and information were key to me: what are the rules of the road; how do I cycle safely; how do I maintain my bike?

“Simple stuff, but hopefully the Barclays Cycling and the City videos will help share some key information and encourage female cyclists.  I now feel much more comfortable riding on busier roads and I love the freedom cycling gives me.”

David Wheldon, Barclays Managing Director of Brand, Reputation and Citizenship at Barclays added: “Londoners and visitors have quickly taken to Barclays Cycle Hire and Barclays Cycle Superhighways since their launch just under three years ago, and it’s now difficult to imagine the capital without the iconic bikes and cycle lanes.

“More and more people are using two wheels, but the level of uptake of cycling is still relatively low among women. We hope Cycling and the City will remedy that, and encourage more to take up this healthy and cost-effective activity.”


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


Paul J [948 posts] 4 years ago

Great videos.

Sensible, realistic, practical safety advice in the 2nd video, that emphasises that cycling is already safe, and doesn't try to "dangerise" cycling.

Brilliant videos to try help re-introduce utility cycling knowledge to normal people.

One thing that's missing still is an appreciation of the importance of the *type* of the bike. Utility/about-town ordinary cyclists in the UK often go about on quite unsuitable bikes. Bikes with exposed, oily chains; fragile dérailleurs; open rear wheels that will quickly cover pannier bags in gunk (and next your clothes if you try carry them).

Much more sensible, for many of the ordinary cyclists shown in these videos, would be low-maintenance, dutch-style bicycles. They use hub gears, which means the chain can be fully enclosed. The rear wheel will have side covers, to protect your panniers from road gunk and brake dust. Dynamos and integrated lights, so you never have to worry about batteries.

For some reason though the UK bike retail industry is geared up to selling impractical MTBs and hybrids to ordinary cyclists. Possibly because the UK market withered until only the sports segment was left, and hence retail has become very influenced by that. That's the next thing that needs fixing!

But great videos! Just need to get them seen by more people!

PJ McNally [592 posts] 4 years ago

Victim Blaming.

"confidence is all important, and the thought of cycling in London was a barrier I needed to get past."

That's to say, London isn't the problem. You're the one with the problem, and if only you were a bit more confident, you could cycle in London, probably without getting killed.

When will we learn?

velobetty [72 posts] 4 years ago

Pretty much the entire 'style' video taken up by talking about helmets. There was a nice point about being able to wear your own clothes, though I think most people realise this having done exactly that as a child.

Like the videos but focusing on helmets is just what they don't need to do.

Paul J [948 posts] 4 years ago

Yeah, the style video talks a lot about helmets. But not in a prescriptive "you must wear a helmet!" way. I'm *far* from a helmet proponent, but this video didn't bother me. The series is just great overall.

bambergbike [90 posts] 4 years ago

Would be good to see more older women in these videos. People promoting cycling in the UK and Ireland rarely seem to have anyone much over 40 in their posters and videos, but anyone who lives in Holland, Denmark or Germany will regularly see people twice that age on bikes, sometimes doing very long tours (along the Rhine, Main, Danube, Elbe rivers etc.) as well as everyday trips.