The Tweed Valley and Scottish Borders are renowned as hotspots for cycling – but not everyone is confident on a bike, with women much less likely to cycle regularly than men.
However, that is about to change with a new initiative which has been so popular in the Peebles area, it’s now being rolled out in Hawick, Kelso, Galashiels, Lauder and Melrose.
Designed to encourage more women across the Borders to get on their bikes, the Easyriders scheme offers free women-only sessions to give confidence and skills in an enjoyable atmosphere.
The program is made up of a series of six, free, weekly social get-togethers where, with a qualified instructor, groups of up to eight women will have a safe, friendly and supportive environment where they can enjoy cycling together.
The scheme also aims to promote a healthier lifestyle and help the riders develop the confidence to consider cycling as an alternative to the car for shorter journeys – especially around their own towns in the Borders.
The courses will be taking place in different locations across the region and will be timed to work around day-to-day responsibilities such as work or the school run.
The project is being run by Hillside Outside Ltd, the team that organises the TweedLove Bike Festival and Tour O’ The Borders cycling events, and who have a track record of encouraging people onto their bikes in a friendly social environment.
Project manager Sarah Birks, who is helping to deliver the project with the Peebles-based company said: “The sessions are going to be great fun, but they’ll provide everything that’s needed for perhaps the more reluctant women cyclist to enjoy all the good stuff that comes with getting on your bike.
“Apart from the riding, we’ll be stopping for coffee, cake and a chat, too, of course.
“Everyone’s welcome if they want to start riding their bike more.”
Director of Hillside Outside, Neil Dalgleish, told us: “This is a fabulous initiative and we’re proud to be involved – we really hope lots of women will take it up as it’s a fantastic opportunity to get some top-quality encouragement and friendly coaching from some of the best professional instructors.”
The project is being funded by Paths For All and Transport Scotland’s ‘Smarter Choices, Smarter Places’ initiative, through Scottish Borders Council.
The new courses begin next week, on Tuesday, August 21, in Galashiels and Peebles.
And the week after, courses begin in Hawick and Kelso.
Full details of all locations and dates, as well as information on how to get involved, can be found on the Easyriders website.