Back to Blog

The Spirit of Emmeline Pankhurst Lives on Through the Suffragette Ride and Tea Party

In order to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March, thousands of events have been held this week to both inspire women and to celebrate their achievements.  One such event was the Sustrans Suffragette Ride and Tea Party which took place on 5th March and which, by all accounts, was a great success.

suffragetteride4.jpg

The event was part of the Transport for Greater Manchester’s Women on Wheels activities in March. The ride saw a congregation of, mostly female cyclists in Edwardian dress, starting in Chorlton and cycling via the Pankhurst Centre (former home of Emmeline Pankhurst) en route to Alexandra Park, where many of the suffragette rallies were held.  

“Deeds, not words, was to be our permanent motto.” - Emmeline Pankhurst


If you are a regular visitor of the Twisted Spokes website, blog or twitter account, you will likely have seen that we have also been focussing on women over the last few weeks. Our 2016 Women and Cycling campaign has looked at ways of inspiring more women to cycle and we’ve covered such topics as:

Why don’t more women cycle?

Do we need a women’s cycling community?

What it’s like to belong to a women’s cycling group?

During suffragette rallies the bicycle was viewed as a symbol of freedom for women and the bike remains a powerful symbol of women’s liberation. Suffragettes often attended demonstrations on bikes but despite this, today there are up to four times as many men who cycle compared to women.

In a recent survey of over 4000 people in Greater Manchester, Bike Life found that the main reason for women choosing not to cycle is fear over road safety. Compare this to places such as Copenhagen, where there are more bike lanes and other facilities in place to separate cyclists from traffic, and statistics show that there is a higher percentage of female cyclists than male cyclists.

One of the aims of the suffragette bike ride was to highlight the imbalance in the numbers of women cycling compared to the number of men. Many women do not feel safe enough to cycle and this is the primary cause for this imbalance. Hopefully; through events like this, greater attention will be focussed on this issue thereby leading to a greater will to improve cycling safety, which should encourage more women to discover the sense of freedom that comes with cycling!

 

To read more about the issues surrounding women and cycling, check out our 2016 Women and Cycling campaign here

The Suffragette Ride was supported by CTC and part of the Women on Wheels programme of events organised by Transport for Greater Manchester in March. Manchester Bike Tours runs regular bike rides on the theme of the suffragettes.

For more information on Women on Wheels events throughout March visit http://www.tfgm.com/women-on-wheels/Pages/index.html

For more information regarding the Suffragette Ride contact Sarah Roe on 07847 372647.

Share this