Cycling to work? Not if you’re a girl!

Any ladies out there wish they could cycle to work? I know I do. It’s inexpensive, well except for the initial cost of the bike, but other than that, you don’t need to fuel it and maintenance and repair don’t cost anything close to what cars or even motorcycles require. Cycling is also great for the environment and social or physical distancing, especially now. Sadly, it’s not that easy for girls and women to ride about. For one, bike lanes are almost non-existent on our roads, and when people spot a girl riding a bike, they’re going to stop and stare. But how do you even dress for a bike ride if you work a regular 9-5 and the dress code doesn’t permit slacks, shorts, trainers and sneakers, because you’re not going to ride in heels and a skirt or even a nice dress — unless you want to stop traffic! And for those of us who carry big bags, not quite like back packs I should point out, it would be quite the challenge trying to balance it and peddle at the same time. And you know how guys hop off the bike and push it uphill in hilly terrain, well I can’t imagine doing the same. There’re also protective helmets to worry about as they’d mess up your hair and then you’d have to spend time trying to fix it once you got to your destination. But let’s say you beat the odds and made it to work, where would you even park it? You’d be the subject of office gossip trying to do all that while a guy pulling up to work on a bike would not generate as much interest. I have to say, I never really learnt to ride a bicycle though and I think it’s a skill everybody should have down, regardless of gender. But in most of our communities, you’re not really going to find girls riding bicycles and the very idea of women cycling is still frowned upon in many parts of Africa — and even the most forward thinking parents will buy bikes for their sons but not daughters. Maybe if we had free bikes around town as some places do and a girl-friendly campaign was launched, more women would be encouraged to ride!

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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