Women in Cycling – Tricia Fort

Introduce yourself (and your bikes…)

I’m Tricia, a Chartered Civil Engineer, now retired, a wife, mother and grandmother, a socialist and a feminist, a knitter, and I sew, and I love the outdoors particularly when I’m out on one of my bikes. I’ve had a bike most of my life; I was certainly riding on the public road when I was 7, and I’ve now got 4 bikes. Fifteen years ago, when I was in the Netherlands, I bought what I refer to as a town bike and it was sold fit for the road. It has a front dynamo (which I supplement with a standard light) and a fixed rear light, which doubles as a reflector. It has a “shackle” lock that immobilises the rear wheel, a stand and a rear rack that takes my panniers. Since I started cycling longer distances I have bought a tourer and then last autumn, after doing my first 100+ miles in a day, I bought a Liv Avail road bike. The fourth bike is a Brompton that one of my sons got at a bargain price from one of his university lecturers. I’ve spent more on it than we paid initially, but now that my husband has one too, we are using them on holidays.

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Cycle touring in North Uist

What is your connection to the world of cycling?

I’m the Convenor of GoBike! the Strathclyde Cycle Campaign. We are a group comprised entirely of volunteers – our only funding is from our members – and our main aim is to get better cycle facilities.

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

Can’t remember. I was certainly taught to ride a bike at a young age by my parents.

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

I founded the Glasgow Cycling Forum when, 7 years ago, on behalf of GoBike, I wrote to the Chair of the Roads & Transportation Committee of Glasgow City Council. We got a very positive response from Councillor Matt Kerr (who was in the same group as me cycling from Glasgow to Edinburgh for last year’s Pedal on Parliament!) and 2 of us met up with him and the Forum was formed.

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Tricia at an event to hand in a petition for a cycle-friendly Glasgow

What’s your biggest frustration?

The endless discussion about how we get more people active, more people cycling, fewer cars etc etc.

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

Well-designed, separated cycle ways on all the radial routes into Scotland’s cities and major towns. People cycle on the radial routes, so that’s where we need the provision

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

Most weekday mornings I cycle from my home near Glasgow Green along by the river and then north past the Mitchell Library for a swim at the Arlington Baths Club. Depending what I’ve got on during the day I will use my bike to get to the shops, medical appointments, meetings, whatever, and at the weekends I’ll quite often go on one of the weekly CyclingUK rides or the monthly GoBike rides. What rides do I dream about? Rides where I don’t have scary encounters with motor traffic!

One of the purposes of the Women’s Cycle Forum is to promote women who are in cycling and make them more visible – and particularly to see the end of the dreaded all-male panel. Would you be interested in speaking more on panels or at conferences and if so what about? 

Yes, about evidence driven provision of good cycle facilities, continuous cycle routes, default urban 20mph speed limits

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

My granddaughter in a few years time when she says how easy it is to cycle everywhere in Edinburgh where she lives and when she comes to see us in Glasgow. She’s a way to go yet but the photo shows her on the trike I’ve recently bought her. Once her legs are stronger, we can change the back axle to just take one wheel between the back forks, ie it will be a standard balance bike ….tricia_photo

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