Women In Cycling – Suzanne Forup

Introduce yourself (and your bikes…)suzanne-forup

I’m Suzanne Forup, I live in a small town in East Lothian and have three bikes; my trusty tourer, a Dawes Galaxy, was built for me by Common Wheel. I have an Elephant Bike to cart about the shopping and general stuff about town. The most recent purchase is a gorgeous green Croix de Fer, for off road adventures.

What is your connection to the world of cycling?

My day job is heading up Cycling UK’s work in Scotland, managing projects like Big Bike Revival, Edinburgh ABC, Play on Pedals and Belles on Bikes. Alongside Sally Hinchcliffe I co-ordinate We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote, a collaborative election campaign for walking and cycling.

In addition I run our local ‘Kidical Mass’ family cycling group, write an irregular family cycling blog and with Sally Hinchcliffe I founded Women’s Cycle Forum Scotland

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

I’ve made a re-entry into cycling twice. Firstly, like many people, after a prolonged absence between childhood and my early twenties, when I needed to do a short commute and turned to the bike as the right environmental and financial choice. I then tried leisure cycling and fell in love with touring in my early thirties. Once I became pregnant I stopped cycling and didn’t return until my son was 18 months old, a journey I documented on my blog.

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

I’ve been able to work on a range of fantastic cycling projects over the years, but my first, on a social housing estate in Mitcham –  Pollards Hill Cyclists –  will always be something I look back on with pleasure as it changed me as much as everyone else that engaged in it. More recently, the successful completion of Play on Pedals in Glasgow is something I’m proud of as it such as aspirational programme and there is nothing more inspirational than seeing crowds of 4 year olds loving learning to cycle.

What’s your biggest frustration?

That the world doesn’t see cycling in the same terms as I do – the solution to so many of the challenges we face! It can play a role in so many complex, intertwined issues: climate change, obesity, social isolation, empowerment, inequality.

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

A network of Dutch style infrastructure across the UK that will all us all to choose cycling as the most safe, convenient, attractive and enjoyable form of transport

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

My typical cycling week is limited to cycling between meetings and a short weekend ride with small children in tow if I’m lucky! Running Kidical Mass (family cycling) rides in my town each month has been a  great excuse to get out locally and explore new routes under the guise of ‘volunteering’.

My cycling dreams are all focused on cycling around the world when my son heads off to university in around 2030! I plan to follow in the cycle tracks of Anne Mustoe and spend my later years pedaling slowly around the globe until I can’t turn the pedals anymore.

In the meantime, I’d love to cycle all the EuroVelo routes, particularly the Iron Curtain trail from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea.

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

I’d like to hear from two of my wonderful colleagues, Karen Furey at Transport Scotland and Daisy Narayanan at Sustrans.