Introduction: I was a guest speaker at this month's WSYD Moving Community of Practice. I shared the inspiring journey of Moving Parra Matters, an initiative focused on enhancing workplace well-being through cycling. The response was overwhelming, with an outpouring of support and genuine concern for road safety. It got me thinking about the perceptions surrounding cycling and how they can sometimes create barriers to active transport in the workplace. In this blog post, I want to share my transformation journey, from doubt to empowerment, and discuss why now is the time for action.
A Childhood Perspective: I grew up in a generation where bike riding was synonymous with freedom. We rode to school, explored our neighborhoods, and navigated bridges and underpasses without the need for road crossings. It was an era of carefree movement that contributed significantly to our physical and emotional development. But times have changed.
My children belong to a generation where the majority are chauffeured to school. Only from year five are they allowed to ride independently. Decades have passed, and we are still discussing ways to support active transport initiatives. It's high time we said, "Enough is enough; now is the time for action."
Empowerment Through Cycling: When we empower individuals to try something new using a strength-based approach, the perception of safety and fear is rationalised. One of my most rewarding experiences with Moving Parra Matters was upskilling a mothers' group with cycling skills. These empowered mothers were not only able to facilitate their families' rides to school but also inspire their wider communities.
As a social enterprise, measuring the social impact of our work can be challenging. Our holistic approach to cycling goes beyond just riding a bike. It's about building confidence, knowledge, and skills for movement in one's space, their way. This is why we proudly say, "I'm a person who rides a bike, not just a cyclist."
Join the Movement: The perception of cycling is often limited to riding on a specific bicycle, wearing particular clothing, and navigating busy roads. But it doesn't have to be that way. We invite you to join us in the discussion and action to make a difference in your workplace. Moving Parra Matters is more than just a cycling initiative; it's a movement for workplace well-being, empowerment, and a brighter, healthier future.
In conclusion, let's challenge the status quo and break down the barriers discouraging active transport. We can create a safer, healthier, and more vibrant community by empowering individuals and organizations to embrace cycling. Together, we can make Parra matter for everyone.