This year marks 50 years of UK Pride. We’re pleased to share with you all that to celebrate, we’ve been developing our LGBTQIA+ initiative to increase visibility and inclusion within the cycling community.
Ride On has been delivering a range of cycling services and events for over ten years. This includes our social rides where budding cyclists get together to cycle through the beautiful Devon we get to call home. Now we want to deliver social rides and other activities that are open to the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies.
We’re naming this LGBTQ+ initiative PRide On. This space is open to members and allies for the LGBTQIA+ whether you are an experienced rider, familiar with bike mechanics, or just looking to try something new.
These kinds of rides and social events have been delivered across other parts of the UK, but there is nothing local offering the same.
It is often believed that cycling is a male-dominated activity, but this is only half-true. Women have also reaped the rewards if you take a closer look at the history of the bike. It has been a tool for liberation in a variety of ways and it’s especially good for being a safer and healthier mode of transport compared with both driving and walking.
Willem Tapper, Ride On’s Digital Coordinator, had this to say about the new project:
“Having joined Ride On a year ago, as well joining the Exeter Pride team this year, I’ve wanted to reach out to fellow LGBTQIA+ people who enjoy cycling or would like to get into it. Because cycling is a great activity that can be shared and enjoyed with others as much as it can be alone, it is the perfect chance for our community to get together to be more visible across Exeter and Devon. I also think it’s important that Pride can be celebrated all year around, not just in June. That’s why we want these social rides and activities to offer space to get to know other LGBTQIA+ individuals, be visible out and about in our fantastic county, and help fundraise for other Pride and Ride On activities.”
These rides and maintenance courses will be relaxed and slow-paced so that all feel comfortable and able to join in. During the rides, we will stop off for drinks and cake along the routes to refuel and to have a good old natter. It is hoped there will also be other forms of activities available in the future for those that share our love for the power of pedalling.
Kirsten Berggren is also leading on this project and is one of the mechanics for our highly successful Wom+n’s Workshops. The Wom+n’s Workshops have been running for quite some time and are a fun and friendly space for women and non-binary people to get to grips with bike maintenance and mechanics. These are run on Tuesday evenings 6-8pm from our workshop on Exeter Quay.
“Cycling has been a huge part of my life, socially, commuting, fitness and exploring. I am keen to support and increase awareness in the sport for it to be more welcoming to people like me. Ride On has been a valuable space where there is no judgement and you truly can be yourself. I am aware of the increased risk of poor mental health for members of LGBTQ+ and believe the cycling community can offer not only the physical benefits through cycling but the valuable space of meeting like minded people as well as learning new hands on skills.”
How You Can Get Involved
This is also an opportunity to find out more about how Ride On can help make cycling more inclusive. We care about making sure that everyone has access to a bike and all the wellbeing and health benefits that comes along with it. So, we would like to hear from you about exactly what you would like these socials to look like.
You can have your say here.
To make these events inclusive and accessible, we will be encouraging participants to donate what you can to support the events and more Ride On and Pride activities throughout the year.