The Fancy Women Bike Ride takes place on 19 September 2021 when all women are invited to take to their bikes in their Sunday best clothes, reclaiming the streets of the capital and celebrating the importance of cycling in a changing world.

The dress code is fierce, fabulous and fun for the second Fancy Women ride to take place in Edinburgh. The ride is part of an international initiative to make women’s cycling more visible and to call for better infrastructure.

The ride will begin at Whitehouse Loan near the Meadows at 2pm for a short, but colourful, ride along some streets, off-road paths and using some temporary Spaces for People segregated routes, showing how the city could look if cycling infrastructure was improved.

Photos courtesy of Sally Hinchliffe

Local organiser Stella Thomson said ‘This is an opportunity for women to experience  how joyful, sociable, and practical cycling can be, in a short inclusive  group ride. We would love to welcome women who can already cycle, but have not yet felt able to do so in the City.

Organiser Sally Hinchcliffe, co-convener of the Women’s Cycle Forum Scotland which is supporting the event said: “Last time we ran the Fancy Women Bike Ride in 2019, it was great fun but we had to hold most of the ride in Holyrood Park as there wasn’t much safe space that would enable many women to cycle. This year we’re delighted to be in the heart of Edinburgh with our message that women can change the world – one bike ride at a time. After being forced to cancel last year due to the pandemic, we’re hoping this year’s event will be bigger and brighter than ever.”

International coordinator, Pinar Pinzuti said: “The women’s bike ride is successful because the event welcomes everyone, the message is clear and it is organized by intrepid and independent women. The Fancy Women Bike Ride is an opportunity to experience the soft power of femininity on the streets where women boldly exhibit their inner colors on their eco-friendly transport: bikes. Once a year we offer people a chance to leave their stinky cars yet look fabulous all the same, on their bikes.  If you enjoy cycling once a year, you probably keep on cycling every single day.”

Edinburgh joins 150 cities in hosting a Fancy Women’s Bike Ride, an annual event which began in Izmir Turkey nine years ago. It is part of Climate Fringe Week and is a fun event with a serious purpose. Organisers say women are less likely to cycle in countries like Scotland where the conditions are regarded as hostile, and where cycling is seen as something you have to get armoured up to do.

By dressing up and taking to the streets together, the Fancy Women Bike Rides hope to encourage more women to cycle who might not feel comfortable doing so normally, but also demonstrate that cycling does not have to be just for men in lycra who are willing to take on the traffic.

Edinburgh is in the middle of reviewing its Spaces for People infrastructure which has enabled a much wider variety of people to cycle using temporary segregated bike lanes and traffic-calmed streets. 

FOr inspiration on the outfits you might wear have a look at Andy Catlin’s photos here.