I‘ve cycled around London for over 10 years now.
I used to cycle in all seasons until I had enough of my wheels skidding through ice and snow and pedalling uphill in gale-force winds.
You name it, I’ve probably cycled through it.
These days, fair weather cycling suits me much better.
I’ve cycled even when really I should be driving, what with kids, shopping and related baggage.
It’s a rewarding habit for stubborn personalities with chunky thighs, like me. The exercise and the wonderful, Tron-like thrills can be quite addictive.
In my decade of cycling I’ve (touch wood) never had a serious accident, though I’ve had more near misses than I’d like to mention here.
It’s a potentially lethal pursuit, especially in London. The terrible death toll is unacceptable and all road users should take extra care out there.
I’ve had my chain fall off, my front wheel fall off, suffered a puncture half-way to Brighton and then my poor navigation skills led to me being trapped in the motorways surrounding Gatwick Airport.
But I’ve never in 10 years been sexually harassed while cycling.
I really wish my female friends could say the same. But many of them can’t.
As if it isn’t stressful enough pedalling through congested, smog-laden streets filled with double-decker buses and irate taxi-drivers (let alone doing so in heels or other impractical clothing), many female cyclists endure volumes of misogyny and abuse. And that’s just on their way to work (be it paid or unpaid).
I’ve heard about threats, dangerous abuse and downright creepy behaviour from drivers.
I get the sense that there’s a lot of it out there. Quite how much is impossible to know.
The recent viral video of a woman tearing off a wing-mirror in retaliation for taunts and harassment by a white-van man may or may not be “FAKE NEWS!!!” but the reality is that sexually-motivated abuse is an ugly and persistent feature of our roads and streets.
In London. In 20-flipping-17, folks.
Life’s hard enough without these extra layers of misery added. Urban cycling is emblematic of the multiple challenges women overcome at a disadvantage on a daily basis.
I’ve decided that it’s time to do something positive in response to hatred and sex discrimination and to #BeBoldForChange.
I’m offering some of my time for free to help you address gender inequality. (Exactly how much time depends on the level of demand!)
For the next month, I’m offering a FREE ADVICE SURGERY for anyone who wants to know what their rights are when it comes to gender discrimination.
If you feel you have a gender issue at work or in education, I will give you a FREE initial consultation of 30-minutes at a time that suits you. This can be in person or by video link at various times of the day, at your convenience.
Whether you’re concerned about harassment, dismissal, sexist dress codes and attitudes, maternity issues, unfair pay and promotions or a combination of the above, I’d like to hear from you and discuss your options.
(As you can probably tell, this isn’t a meticulously planned marketing scheme or a contrivance designed to detract from both my own privilege and the efforts of the many excellent and bold women combatting inequality and discrimination in their fields. It’s a modest way of putting my legal services where they matter).
Use the form below to book your free initial consultation or call 0207 421 8000.