On Your Bike

My aunt has recently started taking bike riding lessons in north west London. She is nearly 50 and with her husband, they are learning a new skill together.

Her instructor says that most of his current clients are Asian women between 40 and 50 who have never learnt to ride a bike. For most of these women, they never had access to bikes, only boys did. When they were children, girls from good families weren’t seen on bikes; it wasn’t elegant.

However, in modern day England and in modern India, everyone is riding bikes. It is an effective means of transport and elegance doesn’t even factor into it.

Their reason for starting these lessons is because their husbands and children go off on their bikes and they are left at home doing household chores and getting the lunch or dinner ready. This makes me very sad as I enjoy going on bike rides through the woods that we live near with my children and husband. We go out as a family and spend quality time together. I would hate to be left behind to do the housework. I wouldn’t want my kids to have that impression of me.

I am delighted that these women have taken on learning how to ride a bike so that they can join in their family activity. At an older age, it isn’t easy to learn a skill and the falls are so painful. It has also made me wonder what other skills out there people weren’t able to learn because of lack of access or that they were women.. ….Swimming may have been one.


One Comment to “On Your Bike”

  1. What a lovely story. Riding bikes is more of a kid thing in my family, I can’t imagine my mum taking it up but I’ll ask her.

    I’m not keen on cycling but it is nice to keep learning new skills.

    I live in Delhi for half the year and can say women riding bikes is not so common. I love seeing when women do – they look amazing in their saris riding without showing flesh, without getting the sari caught in the bike. I have yet to see a middle class woman on a bike here or even a middle class man.

    I would imagine that it may be due to the heat or safety?

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