Happy Women’s Day!
Every year, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated across the world on March 8th. It is a day to celebrate women, their achievements, raise awareness about gender (in)equality and to support female-focused charities.
Today, on IWD, Bicycle NSW would like to showcase one of our female role models: Charlene Bordley - Bicycle NSW Member, Master Ride Leader and cycling advocate who gives back to the local communities of Parramatta and Western Sydney.
Charlene is the founder of Addventageous, a social enterprise which runs bike education and training. Addventageous started as a school holiday adventure program back in 2007. After qualifying as a community coach, Charlene began to deliver a wide variety of sport programs for primary school-aged children as part of the Active After-School Communities (AASC) program at after school care centres. After attending a cycling program, Charlene added bike skills and bike riding lessons to her programs which soon proved popular.
Her Cycling Connections
Charlene was amazed that so many people, in particular women, didn’t ride a bike because of cultural barriers or they didn’t have the opportunity to learn to ride. She saw the benefits of riding and, in 2017, through a grant from Cumberland Council and the support of Bicycle NSW, Addventageous developed the free Her Cycling Connections program to support these women.
As the Her Cycling Connections program makes women feel safe, it has created opportunities for women and motivated them to get involved in bike riding. This then gave Charlene the voice to be part of cycling committees and have a say about safe infrastructure. “It’s not just about getting people on bikes. You need to create a safe environment for that person to want to get on a bike, whether you are a female, or someone with disabilities, not everyone wants to be riding out on the road. We want to be protected!”
As an active voice for safe bike infrastructure, Charlene also advocates for the rideability of paths. A question that she often asks is: How can we make paths different or change them so everyone can enjoy riding a bike? Charlene’s focus on accessibility and inclusion stems from her role as Captain of the local Parramatta Cycling Without Age Chapter, a Highly Commended Community Group in the City of Parramatta Australia Day Awards 2022. As we are seeing more cargo and adaptive bikes as well as tri-shaws and trikes, Charlene’s next project is to advocate for wider paths.
“I think the passion that drives me is observing the empowerment gained by participants in our cycling programs, particularly women and children," said Charlene. “The fact that I have witnessed so many moments where the confidence has carried through a person’s everyday life. I am amazed at some of the mums who never learnt to ride but realised they want their children to ride, and we’ve discovered that by empowering them [the mothers], you get the family riding, you get the community riding.”
(L to R) Charlene Bordley, Angie Macken from Bicycle NSW and the HCC Friday ladies ride group.
Bicycle NSW staff members, Angie and Kirra, had the pleasure to join the HCC Friday ride starting at Parramatta Park. “What a great opportunity to join this ride! We had the chance to connect with the ladies, hear their stories and recognise such an inspirational woman to celebrate IWD,” said Kirra. Bicycle NSW would like to congratulate Charlene and her team on their Australia Day Award. We wish her continuing success in advocating for safe bicycle infrastructure, providing bike education to women and children and her work as a volunteer with CAMWEST (a Bicycle NSW affiliated Bicycle User Group).
Are you a woman and keen to ride in a safe and supported environment? Check out Her Cycling Connections Facebook page! Or visit the Parramatta Bike Hub a space developed for cycling connections, the community bike library and home to Parramatta Bike Tours, which is currently accepting the NSW Discovery and Parent Vouchers.
Join Bicycle NSW today to support our mission to create a better environment for all bicycle riders in NSW.