WESTHOUGHTON actress and writer Maxine Peake has been named in Cycling UK's 100 Women in Cycling.

She joins BBC Radio 4 presenter Melanie Abbott and gold medal winners Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker in the cycling charity’s list recognising significant achievements in promoting women’s cycling.

They have all been recognised in celebration of the work they have done to inspire other women to cycle, as part of Cycling UK’s Women’s Festival of Cycling which started on Saturday and runs until August 1.

A keen cyclist since writing a play about cycling legend Beryl Burton in 2012, Maxine continues to promote the benefits of cycling.

The list also includes less well-known names of women who have been working tirelessly at grassroots level during particularly difficult times to encourage and support more women to ride.

To launch its annual Women’s Festival of Cycling, Cycling UK has also released figures showing that more women have taken up cycling during the coronavirus pandemic.

A survey found that 31 per cent of women surveyed switched from a car to a cycle for everyday journeys, and those who cycled regularly reported improvements to their wellbeing.

Although the number of women cycling increased during lockdown, men are still cycling nearly twice as much as women.

Cycling UK is encouraging women to stick to the pedals and continue to replace their car journeys with cycling, and is highlighting women who are inspiring, teaching and encouraging others to do so.

Cycling UK chief executive, Sarah Mitchell said: “Congratulations to Maxine for making it into our 100 Women in Cycling in 2021.

"It’s an incredible achievement and testimony to the tireless work they’ve done to raise the profile of women’s cycling.

“Every woman on our list is a powerful ambassador for women’s cycling, and many have done outstanding work supporting women to cycle during lockdown.

"But sadly, women remain underrepresented when it comes to everyday cycling.

“During this year’s festival we’re asking every woman who already cycles to find just one more woman they can help and inspire to get on their bike.”

The Women’s Festival of Cycling features a range of virtual events, group rides and a social media challenge asking women to share pictures of their "bicycle face".

To find out about events in your area and to see a full list of nominees, visit cyclinguk.org/womensfestival.