Two women from Lewisham have been named in Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling. Jenny Box and Rhoma Erekpaine were both included for their work encouraging women to cycle.
They join TV and film actress Maxine Peake, BBC Radio 4 presenter, Melanie Abbott and gold medal winners Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker in the cycling charity’s list recognising significant achievements in promoting women’s cycling.
The women have all been recognised in celebration of the amazing work they have done to inspire other women to cycle, as part of Cycling UK’s Women’s Festival of Cycling which runs between 17 July and 1 August.
The list also includes less well-known names of women who have been working tirelessly at grassroots level during particularly difficult times to encourage and support more women to ride: people such as Jenny and Rhoma.
As the Head of Behaviour Change for England at Cycling UK, Jenny Box, 34, led a team of development officers to deliver programmes to support everyone to cycle. Now on a secondment to the Department for Transport she is continuing to work towards improving access to cycling as part of the active travel team.
Rhoma Erekpaine, 43, taught herself to ride age 13 but didn’t own a bike until she began to commute at 25. Sibling persuasion made her buy a road bike and she hasn’t looked back. She joined the Le Collectif CC and the Black Cyclist Network (BCN) and felt at home where she had the opportunity to cycle with people of colour. Rhoma now leads outdoor and virtual rides, nurturing the women’s BCN group.
To launch its annual Women’s Festival of Cycling, Cycling UK has also released figures showing that more women have taken up cycling during the coronavirus pandemic. A survey found that 31% of women surveyed switched from a car to a cycle for everyday journeys, and those who cycled regularly reported improvements to their wellbeing.
Although the number of women cycling increased during lockdown, men are still cycling nearly twice as much as women.
Cycling UK is encouraging women to stick to the pedals and continue to replace their car journeys with cycling, and is highlighting women who are inspiring, teaching and encouraging others to do so.
Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK chief executive, said: “Congratulations to Jenny and Rhoma for making it into our 100 Women in Cycling in 2021. It’s an incredible achievement and testimony to the tireless work they’ve done to raise the profile of women’s cycling.
“Every woman on our list is a powerful ambassador for women’s cycling, and many have done outstanding work supporting women to cycle during lockdown. But sadly, women remain underrepresented when it comes to everyday cycling.
“During this year’s festival we’re asking every woman who already cycles to find just one more woman they can help and inspire to get on their bike.”
The Women’s Festival of Cycling features a range of virtual events, local group rides and a social media challenge asking women to share pictures of their ‘bicycle face’.
Find out about events in your area and to see a full list of nominees, visit our website: cyclinguk.org/womensfestival