Breaking barriers and inspiring more women to get cycling

Working alongside walking and cycling charity, Sustrans, and housing association Poplar HARCA we’ve been running Chrisp Street Community Cycles (CSCC) to get more women cycling.    

CSCC aims to empower women in Poplar, specifically Muslim women, to cycle more, improve their health and wellbeing and build their confidence to create role models to inspire others. 

CSCC is a community cycling hub, situated in a disused shop on a busy Poplar high street in Tower Hamlets. The hub offers a range of free activities including free bike loans to enable residents to start cycling and build confidence. Since August 2021, the hub been open two days a week, staffed by local women.  


Cycling makes sense as it benefits people and planet. It's fun, good for physical and mental health, often saves time (less traffic jams!), and money compared to other modes of transport and reduces air pollution. 

Despite this, some groups are less likely to cycle.In fact The Sustrans 2019 Tower Hamlets Bike Life Report found that, of those who cycled at least once a week, just 6% are women (vs 16% men) and 7% of people from minority ethnic groups (vs 16% of white people). Sustrans 2020 Cycling For Everyone report, revealed that in the UK, 36% of women and 55% of people from ethnic minority groups who don’t currently cycle, would like to start.  

Cycling for transport is also a key part of the government’s decarbonization plans which aims for half of all urban journeys to be cycled or walked by 2030.  

By working alongside our project partners, we’re able to trial these activities as away of encouraging more women to start cycling.  

The difference made

To date, the Hub proved incredibly popular in Poplar! Over 24 days the hub delivered 41 learn to ride and cycling skill sessions and organised 11 guided rides including family and women-only groups. 445 people benefitted from the sessions with 151 bikes loans and 182 repaired.   

Encouragingly, the Hub reached a new cycling audience. Over a third of people had never previously been on a bike and nearly a quarter were had not cycled for many years, or since they were children. 82% of people using the services were women and 86% were from an ethnic minority background.  

Their cycling experience was overwhelmingly positive with benefits including feeling more confident, happier, healthier and able to explore nature.   

Read our impact report to learn more about what we did and how we got more women cycling. 

Get involved...

If you live in Poplar, we’d love you to come down to the hub and get involved. If you’re not local, you can still get cycling by: 

  • Reading our blog on winter cycling tips (link when live) 
  • Looking at joining a local cycle group? Use the Cycling UK tool or find a local ride to join on Let’s Ride. Cycle Sisters and JoyRiders run groups across London and the UK for women.  
  • Checking your council’s website to see if there are free lessons available.  

Partner with us

If you’re interested in hearing more about Chrisp Street Community Cycles or partnering with us on future cycling projects, please email [email protected] 

Looking for more ways to support your community and environment?

Check out our Community Fridge Network, which shares and saves surplus food, or Community Calling, which regifts spare smartphones to help digitally connect those in need.    


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