The CME showroom buzzed with positivity this International Women’s Day!
As the dark descended on Thursday, a peloton of riders bedecked in lights arrived in Coulsdon on Thursday evening accompanied by music played from the carrier-box of an electric cargo bike.
A shining spectrum of cycles took their place on the ‘Pedal for Progress’ ride including the e-cargo bike, a trike, recumbents, a tandem, a bike with a child seat, light-as-a-feather road bikes, powerful electric mountain bikes and Dutch-style electric bikes. The ride looped from Croydon to Coulsdon and back, ending in historic Surrey Street (above).
Atop these marvellous machines were an equally marvellous diversity of riders. Young riders, older riders, disabled riders, and also those riding for the first time in many years, perhaps the most uplifting aspect of the ride.
How to give a ‘lapsed rider’ confidence…
Seven e-bikes from the Cycling Made Easy fleet were pedalled into action for the ride, many of which were loaned to people who were not regular cyclists. Although there were nerves, the confidence that an e-bike gives to its rider – to get away at traffic lights, to prevent exhaustion, to keep the wheels turning when you lose momentum – enabled them to take part rather than simply sit on the sidelines.
You could, however, hear a sigh of relief when we entered the wide bus lanes of South Croydon. Protected cycling lanes take the anxiety away from both drivers and cyclists when on the road and any chance to appeal for more protected lanes should be taken.
A glimpse of the future?
Each one of the twenty or so riders were on the road, travelling independently, exercising their muscles, enjoying the camaraderie of the group and all without adding to our air pollution crisis. It provided a glimpse – fingers crossed – of the future.
It was a special pleasure to have author – and Cycling Made Easy customer – Ros Ball back in the showroom. She told the story of her Great Aunt, who also cycled, and the barriers that she faced a century ago.
Ros remarked at the progress that has been made since her Great Aunt’s time which has allowed herself to have a career, a family and a publishing deal.
We have to keep pedalling for progress
Ros (left) even spoke of her e-bike, which makes her “feel like a stingray gliding underwater” and how the freedom of an e-bike was a catalyst for positive change in her life. This type of story is one we hear often at Cycling Made Easy and hope to hear more.
Seeing so many people actually enjoying a journey into the centre of town, convinced us that the more people we have cycling on the roads, the better travelling gets for everyone. However to achieve this, we have to keep pedalling for progress.
So, check out these people and organisations who ‘pedal for progress’:
Croydon Cycle Theatre, organisers of the Pedal for Progress ride
‘The Gender Agenda’ by Ros Ball – out now
Wheels for Wellbeing
The Bike Project