20130612 angelavander kloof


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Back in 1991 I studied Human Geography, spending too much time with my books. I wanted to do something practical and meaningful next to my studies. I bumped into an interesting advertisement. The Centre for Immigrant Women in my city was looking for volunteers for a cycle training course. I applied and together with other volunteers I started to train women from all over the world. I had no idea how much I would learn from this job!
“The freedom is very important for the women. Many things are connected to cycle training. You are in contact with Dutch women, you can exchange ideas, you are active and outdoors, you learn the Dutch language. All things are connected with it. It is not only going back and forth!” (quote from Lisa, a community worker in the Netherlands)
Through working with women that had been brought up in other countries I learned to see that we have a unique cycling culture in the Netherlands. And because we used the cycle training as an empowerment tool – and not as an aim in itself – it was possible to get insights into the barriers women experience in many places in the world. It also gave me the opportunity to work collaboratively with them on methods that helped them to overcome these constraints.
In this proposed podium discussion at Velo-city 2013 I want to share the most important lessons I have learned in my work with immigrant and refugee women in the Netherlands over the last 20 years. Added with several years of collaboration with women who have set up cycling schools for women in different countries.
The lessons are not only interesting in it self. It is also important to reflect on the lessons and discuss how the topics raised can be useful elsewhere.
“It is very important to receive a certificate after the course. For all the effort it has cost you. It makes you feel different. I felt less than others, because I could not cycle, now I am very happy, a different person. I thought I could not learn to ride a bicycle. But it is never too late; everybody can learn to cycle!” (quote from Karima, cycle training participant)

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20130612 angelavander kloof

  1. 1. Lessons learned through training immigrantwomen in the Netherlands to cycleLessons learned through training immigrantwomen in the Netherlands to cycle
  2. 2. Meet @AngelavdKloof“The bike is a tool to stimulate participation andinteraction and create an environment that is socialand accessible for all.”• Background in Geography / Economics andteaching• Gender and Use of Space / Mobility• Cycle trainer 1991 - 2005• Project leader ‘Cycling School’(and more) 1992 - 2008• Developer of training material 1995 -present• Train the trainer 1996 -present• Initiator ‘Cycle Friends’ buddy project 2003• Consultant Sustainable Mobility 2008 -present
  3. 3. 5 Basic Tips1. Recognize the fear.1. Find a place to practice that is safe and comfortable.1. A comfortable bike to learn on is one that allows the rider to restboth feet on the ground at any given time.1. Take small steps.1. And don’t hold the learners. They can do it by themselves on this lowbike.
  4. 4. Get on your Bike!
  5. 5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auAaOh-gOa8http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auAaOh-gOa8
  6. 6. Cycling Adaptation Ladder
  7. 7. Cycling Adaptation Ladder (2)
  8. 8. Constraints when climbing the Ladder, part I• Myths about cycling, e.g.• Improper for girls and women• Too difficult for women to learn• Only for sporty and super healthy people• Uncertainty about the body and appearance• Not used to freely move in public space• Not used to being further away from home on your own• Sometimes trauma, experiences with personal violence• Uncertainty about the bicycle as a ‘machine’
  9. 9. Constraints when climbing the Ladder, part II• Uncertainty about way finding; too little spatial awareness• Lack of money to buy a bicycle• Lack of a say when financial priorities of the family are set• Attitude to let priorities of others prevail• Too little time to join cycle training course• Attitude to let priorities of others prevail• No access to kindergarden / baby sitter• No schooling, little schooling or bad learning experiences
  10. 10. Other lessons learnedScepticismLack of supportFlexibilityPersonal commitmentCreativityPerseverance
  11. 11. Reflection
  12. 12. Thank you! a.vanderkloof@mobycon.nl