Five inspiring north women are recognised for getting other women on their bikes
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Highland women are among the 100 most inspirational in cycling for 2023 according to a major charity.
Cycling UK named the five - four from Inverness and one from Newtonmore - in its 100 Women in Cycling scheme which celebrates women who inspire other women to get on their bikes.
It is also part of the charity's aim to readdress the imbalance so more women enjoy the many health and wellbeing benefits of cycling.
The Inverness cyclists are Scotland’s first bicycle mayor Emily Williams; Inverness Kidical Mass founders Katie Noble and Sara Ramsey plus Kidical Mass organiser Bridie Barnett.
Kidical Mass is a worldwide movement where a large group take to the streets to cycle, wheel and scoot safely. The Inverness group has been running since summer 2021 and was the first Kidical Mass in Scotland.
And the fifth woman is Fiona Finnie from Newtonmore, a co-founder of the women's mountain bike festival Limitlass.
Despite the 2021 census showing there are more women than men in the UK, men are much more likely to cycle regularly than women.
Cycling UK wants to show that cycling can be for everyone – no matter your gender, background or ability.
Emily Williams, 45, as well as being Scotland's first ever bicycle mayor has been integral to the organisation of the successful Kidical Mass north group.
Katie Noble has cycled with both her children since they were very young, and has worked with mother and toddlers to encourage them to cycle.
She teaches Bikeability, runs family group cycle rides and started a bike bus to support parents with young children to continue to cycle.
Katie said: “I do what I can to support families to use bikes for transport, using social media to build family cycling communities.”
Bridie Barnett, 44, has always cycled, but as a doctor concerned about the climate crisis she began to promote it as a healthier, less polluting way to get around.
She became involved with Kidical Mass Inverness two years ago and has been key to its ongoing success, working tirelessly to secure funding via grants so the group can grow and flourish.
She said: “Kidical Mass rides are joyous events and it feels like we are making a difference getting kids enthusiastic about cycling and also through lobbying local government positive changes to cycle infrastructure is making headway.”
Sarah Ramsey, 45, was crucial to the founding in 2021 and ongoing success of Kidical Mass North in Inverness, the first Kidical Mass group in Scotland.
Her passion is making cycling safer for children, and she does a huge amount of work in making the day fun but also running smoothly. The group has been part of lobbying efforts locally and has been highlighted positively in Scottish Parliament.
Sarah said: “Our world would be better and safer if more of us cycled. I want to get kids excited about cycling, and their parents pushing for better infrastructure.”
Fiona Finnie, 41, embraced mountain biking in 2016 after attending a women’s event on a borrowed bike.
Now a qualified mountain bike coach and Level 3 MTB leader, she co-founded the women's mountain bike festival Limitlass with Katie May and Anna Riddell.
Fiona said: “Riding bikes has given me so much - I've built confidence and resilience, I've made new friends and connections, and I've explored places I never would have otherwise.”
Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK’s chief executive, said: "In the UK, substantially fewer women ride than men. It’s our mission to reverse that and see equal levels of cycling across all genders.
“A great way to encourage more women to cycle is to share the stories of these amazing women – whether they’re chronicling their adventures on social media, advocating for better infrastructure in their neighbourhoods, inspiring their communities to join them for a ride or winning medals around the world.”
Medals are given in four categories: community champion, industry mogul, cycle influencer and sporting hero.