Women In Cycling – Orsolya Keri

Introduce yourself (and your bikes…)

I am Orsolya Keri, I’m 24 years old and I am the Campus Cycling Officer at the University of Stirling. This means I am actively working on getting more people into cycling at the University by promotional events and by reviewing what is needed to support a of this Cycle Friendly awarded campus in terms of infrastructure. My bike is a beautiful ‘re-loved’ Raleigh Elegance hybrid bike which is my perfect companion for commutes and for shopping.

What is your connection to the world of cycling?

I am connected to the world of cycling not only through my job as a cycling officer but also through being just a ‘regular’ cyclist. I think everyone who has ever touched and ridden a bike is immediately connected to this world.

What got you into cycling? (or back into it?)

I went on an exchange to The Netherlands when I was 16 and it was my exchange partner that got me into it. I only spent a week there but there was no stopping from that point.

What would you say was your most significant achievement (so far!)?

When the University put the new bike racks I organised for them in place.

What’s your biggest frustration?

It frustrates me when people who don’t cycle yet assume that you can only cycle in lycra. Their excuse for not cycling is always ‘but I don’t want to wear lycra’. Well, neither do I on my daily commute! Fashion and sustainable travel are not contradictory. I am a fashion girl and I style my outfits to my bike ride in a way that I feel pretty, comfortable and also that my clothes don’t interfere with movement. I love chiffon blouses and I love wearing them for bike rides, for me there is nothing else that gives me a greater comfort on my ride.

If you could wave a magic wand, what’s the one (cycling-related) thing you’d wish for?

To have the same cycling infrastructure that Denmark has in Scotland and in the whole UK. Or maybe the same attitude towards cycling. Or both? I recently travelled to Copenhagen and I was amazed how environmentally conscious the people are and how fantastic their road structure is. There were clearly marked segregated cycle lanes, sometimes with even 4 lanes, 2-2 for each direction, so the faster bikes are not stuck behind the more relaxed cyclists. There were separate lights for cyclists and clear signposting of where the main attractions were (even for us tourists!). I have never seen that many bikes in my life – literally the whole city was on two wheels! All of the cyclists from the age of 3 to 90 knew the rules of the road and they clearly signalled their intentions to cars who in return paid extra attention and care to everyone on bikes. Now I am not sure if this is the result of the incredible infrastructure they have or their great attitude to cycling and cyclists made the infrastructure possible…but all I can wish for is to have the same here for us.

What’s your typical day/week on cycling? And what are the rides you dream about?

Due to the big commute I do between Edinburgh and Stirling I can’t cycle as much as I would like to during the week. However, the Nextbikes are making my days so much better: I always use my lunchbreaks proactively and go for a ride with them. Over the weekends I like to cycle to Portobello, enjoy the view on the Promenade and do my weekly shop nearby. Sometimes we feel adventurous with my boyfriend and ride to Blackford Hill or even Cramond just to ‘actively relax’ as we call it. As my dream ride I think I would love to go to somewhere really warm and exotic, like Cuba or Peru, and do a bike holiday there.

Who are the women in cycling you’d like to hear from next and why?

I want to hear from everyone! I feel like sometimes the most inspirational people are doing something that is not generally considered as ‘inspirational’ but they make the biggest impact. Like the mums who cycle with their kids to school, the teacher who always pedalled to work whatever the weather (we all had a teacher like her!), the neighbour’s daughter who rides in the back of their garden with her friend, or the two elderly lady on bikes who I always see in Portobello. These women are making cycling mainstream while educating the younger generation invisibly that this is THE way of travelling.