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Cycling UK led by women for first time in 143 year history

Charity's top two positions both held by women after election of Janet Atherton as chair of trustees

Will Strickson
26 Jan 2021

For the first time in its 143 year history, national cycling charity Cycling UK's two most senior positions are held by women after Janet Atherton was elected chair of trustees.

Atherton, who has been on the charity's board for over four years, joins chief executive Sarah Mitchell at the top of the hierarchy.

'Cycling should be accessible to everyone regardless of their background, age, ability, beliefs or gender,' said Atherton, who is the former director of public health and senior public health adviser in NHS Test and Trace. 'I want to see Cycling UK continue to build a social movement to get people out on bikes.'

Cycling UK was set up in 1878 as the Bicycle Touring Club to identify inns and pubs where its members and their bikes would be welcome. It became a charity in its current form in 2012 after being known as The Cyclists' Touring Club for 125 years and its focus is to get more people cycling nationwide.

Atherton added: 'We've achieved a lot in the past four years, but it feels like we could do so much more and I am excited to play my part in that.'

CEO Sarah Mitchell, who was appointed in 2020, said: 'Women make up 50% of the population and yet the vast majority of cycle journeys are made by men. We have to redress this imbalance.

'Cycling UK provides women with the space, support and opportunity to cycle. Whether that's by organising women-only rides or providing online support and training sessions.'

The fifth edition of the charity's Women's Festival of Cycling will take place in July with organised rides, digital events and advice and tips for women to start riding. It's also celebrating achievements of women in the industry through 100 Women in Cycling.

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