Modeshift have been introducing an inspiring Active Travel Champion each week throughout Black History Month to celebrate every day people inspiring every day journeys.
A celebration of walking and cycling during Black History Month and beyond!
This week we meet Dulce Pedroso, Active Travel Champion.
Where do roll or stroll?
My name is Dulce. I live in Bristol, but I’m happy to be wherever my wheels take me.
How far is the journey, where do you go, how often and who with?
I ride over 10,000km a year – a combination of everyday trips, long rides and taking my MTB around the local trails.
How do you find the time to walk and ride?
By not spending a significant proportion of my life sitting in traffic or looking for a parking space!
What motivates you to ride or stride and when did it all start?
I’ve cycled for as long as I can remember. I’ve never not had a bike except for much of my 20s when I moved from Finland to the UK. But I missed cycling so much that for my 30th, I bought myself a beautiful plum-coloured step-through Dawes Duchess with a basket and a child seat for my daughter.
I ride to get around the city and to get out of the city. And I ride to get to different cities and different cities in different countries. I often ride alone, but I also have friends I ride with, and I enjoy club rides and events by Bristol Audax (long-distance cycling) Club. My best riding buddy, however, is my teenager, the former child seat passenger, who also seems to have a penchant for long-distance riding and bike packing. We’ve done many multi-day bike tours together in England, France and the Netherlands.
It was only in the last few years that I started to think about cycling politically. At the same time, I decided to become car-free. Well, the car failed its MOT and that made the decision for me. There is an apparent connection between cycling and the climate agenda. Still, cycling also links with broader questions about inequality and injustice when we think about how space in cities is allocated and who is able or allowed to move and be, and where. As major population centres, cities are the primary focus, but discussions about belonging and access should not overlook the countryside. It puzzles me how the active travel and cycle campaigning world is so separate from the leisure and adventure cycling world. They share the same broad agenda, yet I feel there’s antagonism, especially from active travel advocates towards those who like wearing Lycra and go fast on country lanes. I have a city bike and a carbon road bike, and while the former is probably more useful, both give me a sense of freedom and connectedness with the environment.
How do you champion the cause?
I’m interested in the role of discourses in creating meaning and social norms which lead to a sense of belonging or exclusion through, for example, oversimplistic binaries (such as utility vs sport cyclist). My recent master’s dissertation looked at this in the context of the UK cycling culture and from the perspective of Women of Colour who cycle. I’ve done some further research on this theme with the Active Travel Academy, and I’m currently working on cycling in the context of displacement.
Outside my academic interests, I’m part of the Bristol Cycling Campaign. I regularly get involved in things like this: writing and talking about why I cycle and trying to get everyone else to give it a go!
What words of encouragement or advice would you give someone to follow in your tyre tracks?
The motto I keep repeating to myself when I’m riding some stupidly long distance in a horrible weather with frozen fingers is a Finnish saying which roughly translates to ‘Forward!’ said granny in the snow”.