A WOMEN on Wheels campaign has been launched to encourage women to get on their bikes and become active cyclists.

Manchester’s transport bosses are determined to see more women get on their bikes in a bid to make the city a cycling hotspot.

The Women on Wheels’ cycling celebration is running all month linked to International Women’s Day, on March 8.

Even though more and more women are using their bikes as a mean of transport, men made three times as many cycle trips as women in 2015.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is determined to change that statistic and want to see 1 in 10 journeys taken on two wheels.

TfGM’s active travel officer Amanda Pickard, said: “We are looking to get as many women cycling as men in order to achieve our target of 10 per cent of all trips made by bike.

“We are really keen to focus on pushing those levels of cycling within the female population.

“Also, in the Netherlands, there is a greater number of women cycling than men, so we know that there’s an appetite for female cycling. We are just trying to enable women to do it.”

Women on Wheels is working with community groups and clubs across Manchester to organise female-friendly events with activities and workshops for women of all cycling abilities.

More than 60 events are taking place including school cycling themed days for mums and children, cycling clubs putting on training rides, skills sessions for women who need help getting used to cycling in large groups and training for longer distance road rides.

Female mechanics are also doing maintenance sessions for women who are already cyclists.

Amanda added: “The events cover all kinds of capabilities, abilities and confidence levels, from people learning how to ride, up to people who are already keen cyclists.

“There was a high demand of the female only bike maintenance workshops. Last year we had a fully attended workshop and training classes so we put it on again this year due to last year’s success.”

Here is a map of some events taking place in Greater Manchester:

Undoubtedly, cycling is a great way to exercise and have fun, and offers a wide range of mental and physical benefits.

It has been shown to decrease stress levels, improves posture and coordination and increases muscle strength and flexibility but surveys also show that women tend to feel less confident on bikes and prefer to ride on segregated cycling lanes.

Amanda added: “Traditionally, in this country we don’t have very good infrastructure. Transport for Greater Manchester is trying to work on that.

“We have six cycle ways that we have recently opened and we are trying to improve the infrastructure that we have and create more segregated from traffic cycle routes.

“Women tend to be slightly less confident on bikes and I think that, traditionally, men have been seen, as well as been, more active because it has been encouraged more in men and not so much in women.”

This is a video of the impact of cycling on an individual’s life.

The campaign will also run some workshops and events after March, throughout the year.

For more information and details visit the TfGM website or the Women on Wheels Facebook page.

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