Cycling: Take part in this Sunday’s Women’s Freedom Ride across London

Although cycling has becoming increasingly popular across London, women make up less than a third of all cyclists in British capital. The London Cycling Campaign Women’s Network (LCCWN) is trying to address this by calling for safer cycling, while encouraging more women to adopt this healthy, low-cost mode of transportation including by organising this weekend’s Women’s Freedom Ride.

Over the past two decades, cycling in London has experienced significant growth, aided by the vision and support of consecutive London Mayors, starting with Ken Livingstone, who set ambitious targets for change in how we get around the capital.

In 2000, people made an estimated 300,000 trips by bicycle each day in London. Twelve years later in 2012 – London Olympics year – that estimated figure had doubled to 600,000 a day. By 2021, eight years after former Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s cycling vision had been published, it was put at 900,000. In 2022, daily cycle journeys had increased by a further 13%, while other forms of transport recorded decreases.

Part of the reason for this major shift is the ongoing investment being made by Transport for London (TfL) and London boroughs. The London-wide strategic cycle network has expanded from 90 km in 2016 to over 340 km in 2023, while more than one in five Londoners now reside near the Cycleway network.

New plans by TfL target additional growth, seeking to increase the number of daily cycle journeys by a third to 1.6 million by 2030, compared to 1.2 million in 2022. TfL is also aiming for some 40% of Londoners to live within 400 meters of the Cycleway network by 2030, up from 22% in 2022.

Despite the progress and ambition, fewer women continue to take up cycling compared to men, prompting LCCWN to commission a study last year into women’s experiences of cycling. Over 1,000 women responded, with the findings documented in a 24-page report.

Titled ‘What Stops Women Cycling in London?’, the report states that many women are put off cycling due to “a shocking level of abuse and aggression from drivers, and a lack of safe cycle routes to use all year round”.

“Too many women have to choose between routes that they feel put them in danger or at risk of conflict, either on busy hostile roads or quiet unlit routes. Most say that they don’t have a local cycle network that meets their needs, especially when cycling with children,” the report continued.

Among its recommendations are for more action on physical and social safety for female cyclists, while growing the number of local cycle networks in the capital.

A petition was launched calling on the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to implement all three of the report’s recommendations, which female cyclists will present to him by at the end of Sunday’s Women’s Freedom Ride.

The Ride is open to women and their families and friends. LCCWN describe the event as a “fun, family-friendly, fully-led protest ride will start at 12.30pm from Lincoln’s Inn Fields and tour Central London for around 5 miles.”

People can expect, “Fancy dress, flags, protest placards, music and good vibes”, with those participating encouraged to “Dress to protest!”.

There are feeder rides from across different parts of London, so people can cycle safely from their local area to central London.

Free Lime bikes will also be available on the day for those who are registered on the Women’s Freedom Ride. See below for more details.


Title: LCC Women’s Freedom Ride

Date: Sunday 3 March 2024

Meeting Point: Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields,  London WC2A 2ES

Admission: Free

More info: visit the London Cycling Campaign website for more info and to register for the Women’s Freedom Ride


Main image, top, of lady using London hire bike. Photo © Michaelpuche / Shutterstock