Borders women get back on their bikes

60 cycling beginners from across the Borders got together last weekend for a 32km ride-out from Peebles, the grand finale of Easyriders – an innovative programme aimed at getting local women back on their bikes.

The project, which was funded by Paths for All and Transport Scotland’s ‘Smarter Choices, Smarter Places’ initiative, has been operating for two years providing women with the skills and confidence required to get back on their bike, use their bike more or get one for the very first time.

‘Graduates’ from both the 2018 and 2019 programmes, along with other women who just signed up for the fun of the ride, came together for this celebratory event. Out on the 32km route from Peebles to Walkerburn and back, the ladies had a chance to put the skills they had learnt from the programme into practice and really boost their confidence even further.

“After completing the course in Kelso recently I was really nervous about taking on such a distance but I did it, I may have pushed up some of the hills, but I completed it and rolled over that finish line with a smile on my face,” said one of the Easyriders. “Today has shown me what I have achieved in such a short space of time, I can’t wait to see where I am at this time next year,” continued the participant.

The scheme was created by Peebles cycle events specialists Hillside Outside, who also run Tour O The Borders and TweedLove Bike Festival. “The ride was just what was needed to show the ladies how much they have achieved and also to demonstrate just how fun, sociable and easy cycling can be,” says organiser Harley Lothian. “The women have really taken it up – swapping numbers to arrange rides together and I’ve already been added to two Facebook groups where we are going to organise regular rides. It is amazing to see how this programme has brought something new to these ladies’ lives and we as a company are so proud to have been a part of it.”

Across 2018 and 2019 the Easyriders programme has supported just under 400 women providing them with the skills and confidence they needed to get back on their bike, use their bike more or get one for the very first time. The feedback from this year’s programme has been overwhelmingly positive with 100% of participants reporting that both their physical and mental health has improved since taking part and 81% confirming they are more likely to cycle as opposed to drive as a mode of transport now, a great achievement in both areas.

More info Harley Lothian at Hillside Outside Ltd – 01721 588050, 07511109252