2015 Speakers and Panellists

Meet our great speakers and panellists for the 2015 Women’s Cycle Forum

Ceris Aston is a journalist, feminist and core member of No More Page 3. This campaign challenged the sexism of The Sun newspaper’s Page 3, gaining an enormous social media following, political and celebrity support, over 200,000 petition signatures and – 2 and a half years in – achieved its goal. The Sun newspaper has not featured its page 3 model since the 22nd of January this year. As part of an amazing team, Ceris helped coordinate national and regional campaign strategies for No More Page 3, founding an active Edinburgh campaign group and building links with other campaigns and organisations. She currently works for the YWCA – Young Women’s Movement and spends her free time writing and campaigning on a number of social justice and equality issues.

Carol BottenCarol Botten works for VONNE (Voluntary Organisations Network North East), the support body for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) in the North East of England. Prior to this position Carol was the Director of Northern Architecture, the architecture centre for the North East region which aims to educate, inspire and involve all people in the development of places and spaces.

Carol is passionate about the involvement of local people in their places, buildings and spaces and collaborative working as an approach to getting things done. At VONNE she is leading an initiative to scale up community energy activity in the North East and she has recently set up Playing Out North Tyneside, a community initiative to support residents wishing to organise street playing sessions in their neighbourhoods. Carol is also a founder member of Urbanistas NE a women led network to empowering network for people interested in doing collaborative urban stuff. Carol is married to Tom a furniture designe and has a two year old daughter Megan. In the small amounts of free time she has between work and family life, Carol enjoys cycling, walking, cooking and trips to the cinema.

Janet Harrogate Open CountryJan Brereton is founding member of Talking Tandems, a community cycling group based in Fife, which provides tandem bikes; recruits and trains volunteer pilots; and delivers a regular cycling programme to people who are blind or partially sighted.  In her current role at FABB Scotland, Jan as Blazing Saddles’ Project Development Officer is facilitating the setting-up of 12 Adaptive Bike Centres across Scotland where people with disabilities and a range of additional support needs will be able to book an adaptive bike, learn how to ride and be able to go cycling with friends and family.  As a registered blind person, Jan says that she doesn’t see herself as a campaigner and more as a facilitator of change in thinking about how to include people of all ages and abilities in cycling programmes to improve overall health and well-being.

Jan’s round table will therefore focus on the changes required to training and resources to make cycling accessible to people with disabilities, focusing on sight loss to encourage discussion which moves towards cycling for all.

Claire ConnachanClaire Connachan sits on the CTC Scotland committee and is one of the founding members of Belles on Bikes Edinburgh, a social cycling group for women. A daily commuter as well as utility and leisure cyclist, she blogs about her cycling adventures at Claire Cycles and is particularly keen to encourage more women to get on their bikes and discover (or rediscover) cycling. In her day job she works for a national youth work charity in a communications role with a specialism in digital and social media.

KATJA_arty Katja Leyendecker is currently researching ‘urban cycling spaces and public perception’ at Northumbria University. She is a Chartered Environmental Engineer and has worked extensively both in the private and public sector.

In 2010, Katja co-founded with Claire Prospert newcycling.org to campaign for a better city environment and safe space for cycling in Newcastle

brenda outside 0042 lo res_crop Brenda Mitchell is the founder and Lead Solicitor of cycling specific law firm Cycle Law Scotland.

In 2013, she was recognised by her peers as Lawyer of the Year by the Law Awards of Scotland.

A keen cyclist both on road and off-road, Brenda is also a campaigner, having founded Road Share, the campaign for presumed liability. She also set up Belles on Bikes – Scottish Borders to encourage more women to get out cycling.

Brenda is a member of the Scottish Government’s Cross Party Group for Cycling.

Briana PegadoBriana Pegado is an alumna of the University, who gained a MA Sustainable Development in 2014 and was part of the first cohort of MA Sustainable Development students to graduate from the University of Edinburgh. She was elected President of Edinburgh University Students’ Association in March 2014. As President, Briana actively campaigned to improve cycling safety by working with local campaign groups including Pedal on Parliament and SPOKES. Briana led EUSA to partner with the University of Edinburgh to launch the university’s first ever pilot bicycle hire scheme for students. 50 bicycles will be made available to first year students in September 2015.

She has given numerous deputations to city council in support of a city wide cycle hire scheme that includes better cycling infrastructure across the City of Edinburgh. She believes in increasingly cycling confidence and safety on the roads.

She also received the first ever EUSA Global Student Star Award in her second year for her work launching the University of Edinburgh’s first Black History Month, improving student engagement on BME and international student issues, and building a stronger network within BME and international groups in the local community.She also has experience working for various organizations in the third sector including the National Education Association Foundation (NEAF) where she helped launched online, distance curricula for teachers’ union members and supported an NEAF grant project on an urban farm called Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The urban farm specialized in provided healthy food alternatives and education to local public schools as well as combating diabetes and obesity in the local, predominantly African American population. She has also written various pieces on urban farming, the economics of prosperity, Obama’s green energy agenda, and the polarization of American politics.

lizzie croppedLizzie Reather began commuting by bike in Leeds in 2009. Disgusted at the lack of provision for cycling, she joined the local campaign group and played a key role in broadening the membership and raising the visibility and effectiveness of the campaign. Lizzie recently joined CTC’s National Council (trustee body) and was part of the national Space4Cycling organising group. She recently moved to Glasgow, where her commute is actually not bad.


Abi WingateAbi Wingate is currently the cycling development officer for Heriot-Watt University. She manages one of the pilot projects for Cycling Scotland’s Cycle Friendly Campus Award. Abi believes that cycling really can be for everyone and loves working in a role where she can support people to discover the joys of riding a bicycle.

She likes to cycle long distances and in 2011 cycled home from Thailand to Edinburgh. Her other tours have included Scotland, Sri Lanka and Northern France. She is a Velotech trainer, a daily bike commuter, a wheel builder, owner of 8 bikes, and above all a passionate believer in bikes for transport, fun and fitness for all. Join her for a round table discussion on Women and Cycle Touring and how riding your bike can save the planet!


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