Quick Release: WABA Blog Front Page

Posts Tagged ‘women’s cycling’

Alexandria Spokeswomen Are On a Roll

10152996_1376507422634751_74342430398535397_nOn Sunday, May 4th Alexandria women will join together for the Women on a Roll Ride. The group will wear green, gather at Jones Point Park, and tour local bike shops to declare and share their support for women’s biking.

“Women are a powerful consumer force,” says the League of American Bicyclists in its August 2013 “Women on a Roll” report on women’s cycling, “but too often they do not feel welcome in bike shops or do not feel products address their desires and needs.”

This is where the green comes in. The group wants to visually show that women who bike mean business; they represent spending power.

The ride is being organized by the Alexandria Spokeswomen, who formed in September 2013 out of a city focus group on women’s cycling with the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and WABA’s Women & Bicycles.

Click here to view the Facebook event page, and click here to register.

Ladies, become a Bike to Work Day Pro or Protege

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwIWomen & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These posts certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.

 

Women & Bicycles is gearing up for Bike to Work Day and doing what we do best; sharing skills to inspire more women to ride.

Regardless of your gender we need you to pass along the  invitation below and encourage the women in your life to participate as a Bike to Work Day Protege.

 

Dear lovely (friend, colleague, church-mate, neighbor, bus driver),

 

I think you should become a Bike to Work Day Protege!

 

You know how you always comment on my helmet? And you ask about how I fair on the rainy days? And remember the time you called me worried one morning because I was late for our meeting, when really I just stopped to smell the flowers a little too long?

 

Well, now it’s your time to join the bike movement with our women’s group. Our goal is to get more women like you out biking. This Bike to Work Day we’re pairing up all the bike Pros with bike Proteges to mentor each other for Bike to Work Day.

 

Sign up to be mentored as a Protege, and your Pro will get you all set up and excited to take on your commute. They’ll work with you and your goals, like go with you to the bike shop, meet up with you for a weekend ride, share tips and tricks on bike laws and packing and safe riding. And Maybe they’ll even go with you to a WABA Confident City Cycling Class.

 

Click here to sign up! And join us at our Bike to Work Diva Happy Hour.

 

Happy Riding!
(Your name)

 

Clipart is always encouraged. 
mentorship_clip_art

Announcing WABA’s Sadie Hawkins Dance Party

WABA-sadiehawkins2-web

Join WABA next Friday, March 14th in celebrating the one-year anniversary of our Women & Bicycles Program.

We’ve replaced Bike Prom with a raucous evening of festivities. All funds go to support the 2014 Women & Bicycles’ season of workshops, meetups, rides, and Roll Models to inspire more women to bike. This is a co-ed party, but remember gals invite their dates!

You can expect bike parking, local DJ’s, dancing, bike-themed games, food and drink specials, awards, and some surprises along the way.

 

Sadie Hawkins Dance Party

Date: Friday, March 14th, 2014
Time: 7:30pm to 2:00am
Location: 1725 Columbia Rd NW
Ticket Price: $10 online, $15 at the door

Purchase tickets

Bicycling and Gender-Based Street Harassment: A Recap

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwI This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These tips certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.

 

Street Harassment

Last month, Women & Bicycles teamed up with Collective Action for Safe Spaces to host a two-hour workshop about street harassments. Attendees were given a safe space in which to share stories and experiences, and CASS affiliates were on hand to demonstrate empowering response tactics. The event was covered by the Washington Post and Elevation DC. See some excerpts below.

From The Post‘s “How Should Bicyclists Handle Street Harassment? D.C. Area Groups Teach Empowerment Tactics” (from Nov. 29):

“As a woman, I’m constantly operating with the low-level fear that any man might attack me,” said Kate, a resident of the Brookland neighborhood in Northeast Washington, who asked that her last name not be used because of safety concerns.

Once, a male cyclist pulled up alongside her on the C&O Canal towpath, presumably thinking she wanted company. He asked her to stop because he needed to urinate — not in the bushes, but on the trail, exposing himself for anyone to see. She sped away, but he chased her down. He asked her out; she declined.

“A lot of women start biking because it is empowering, but also because they can just get away from a situation,” said Zosia Sztykowski, 28, of Columbia Heights, the lead outreach coordinator for CASS, a grassroots organization dedicated to building awareness and ending sexual assault and harassment on the streets. The organization produces a blog that curates women’s experiences with street harassment. “A lot of people think street harassment happens just to them and that they’re alone,” she said.

Workshop participants were asked in an online survey about their experiences with street harassment and public transportation. “The most frequent type of street harassment seems to be having someone from a car or sidewalk shout rude and disrespectful things at you,” whether the victim’s on a bike or a pedestrian, one person said. A CASS study in May found that 90 percent of women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community had experienced some form of harassment while biking.

 

SH Workshop

From Elevation DC’s “Fighting for Safer Streets for Women Bike Commuters” (Nov. 26):

For Nelle Pierson, like many women in D.C., the decision to become a bike commuter was partly for safety.

“For me, I feel infinitely better on a bike than I do on foot,” Pierson, the outreach and programs coordinator for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), tells Elevation DC. “There are streets I avoid on foot that I’d bike through in a heartbeat.”

Even so, Pierson has been catcalled on her bike too many times to count. And so on November 20 at the Mt. Pleasant Library, along with Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), an organization that aims to end public sexual harassment in D.C., Pierson helped put on a workshop geared toward helping women cyclists in the district feel safer on the streets.

“The environment around a perpetrator can make a difference. It has the power, over time, to change culture.”
According to WABA, women only comprise a quarter of cyclists in D.C. Pierson says that in a survey of 49 women distributed by WABA before the event, more than two thirds said they have experienced street harassment while biking. Many women are harassed at least once a week. But 41 percent surveyed say there’s no safer mode of transportation in the city.

Women & Bicycles Tip: Add These to Your Shelves

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwI This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These tips certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.

 

Recently, we posed this question to the WABA staff: “What books have enriched your understanding of the power of bikes and your approach to bike advocacy?”

Here are some titles we heard in response. They’re a well-rounded look at planning and advocacy for the curious reader, and could make for great holiday gifts! That said, this list is in no way comprehensive. Do you have a favorite urban studies, planning, or bike-related book? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter (or leave a comment on this post).

Bike-blog-Books-and-bicyc-003

Asphalt Nation, Jane Holtz Kay

City Cycling, John Pucher and Ralph Buehler

Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs

Edge City, Joel Garreau

Everyday Bicycling, Elly Blue

High Cost of Free Parking, Donald Shoup

Geography of Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler

Pedaling Revolution, Jeff Mapes

Sprawl, Robert Bruegmann

Stir it up, Rinku Sen

Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt

The Third Mode, Jeff Olson

Walkable Cities, Jeff Speck

Walking Home, Ken Greenberg

Women on Wheels, April Streeter

 

Women & Bicycles Tip: Reflect On Your Bicycle

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwI This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. These tips certainly aren’t exclusive to women, but they’re produced with and through the Women & Bicycles’ programming and staffing. Click here to learn more and get involved.

The days are shorter, commutes home are darker, and those bike rides are getting a little colder. Let’s talk about staying warm and staying safe. If you haven’t already, check out this cold-weather riding infographic from GoDCGo and BikeArlington.

Click to enlarge

We could all use some simple, low-cost tips on biking through these colder months: How do you layer? How do you protect the extremities? How do you stay flashy?

This week, our focus is on the flashy. Reflectivity is important for all road users, and it’s becoming an trend—sometimes, even fashionable. There’s reflective gear for all kinds of mobile beings, from runners to cyclists to dogs.

Why stay flashy? As vulnerable users of the road, cyclists must do what we can to be most visible. It’s our responsibility to position ourselves in the road properly, use bike lights, and adorn our bodies in vivid, vibrant clothing and accessories to further our visibility powers.

Your local bike shop likely has plenty of high-viz gear in stock. Here are some of our favorite products:

Another affordable approach? Purchase some rolls of reflective tape and go to town.

Here’s what you should aspire to:

Women & Bicycles Tip: Share Your Street Harassment Stories

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwIThis entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Bi-Weekly Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. Click here to learn more and get involved.

Most women and woman-identified people have stories about gender-based street harassment experienced while walking—and while riding a bike. Whether it’s cat-calling, pick-up lines, gestures, being followed, grabbed, or even chased down, street harassment is frighteningly common.

If you’re comfortable doing so, we encourage you to share your stories to help grow awareness and shape local initiatives to end street harassment. Submit your experiences to the Collective Action for Safe Spaces website, or tweet them to @safespacesDC.

CASS, a local nonprofit working to end street harassment, wants to know how biking empowers you to navigate the frequent gender-based street harassment women and women-identified people in D.C. experience. According to a study by Stop Street harassment, 69 percent of women in D.C. avoid making eye contact in public because it may lead to street harassment, and 40 percent of women avoid being out alone.

We constantly hear from Women & Bicycles participants about how bicycling makes them feel more safe and in control when it comes to street harassment—but we understand that riding a bike doesn’t erase the potential of street harassment, either. Please read some of the stories CASS has collected so far, and share your own.

Tell CASS your stories about bicycling and street harassment.

Women & Bicycles Tip: Know The Power of Shifting

e6MXyK7ObZyMVaWZ7KTNlYi1U8M0BlyNV1r6XhihuwIThis entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Bi-Weekly Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. Click here to learn more and get involved.

 

Shifting gears; important for greater comfort, power, and in general for being a more confident bicyclist. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we’re consulting Bicycling magazine to get you shifting like a pro. Want some in-person assistance? Check out a WABA City Cycling class, or ride with us this Sunday!

 

Photo courtesy of Microvector and Bicycling Magazine

Photo courtesy of Microvector and Bicycling

Here’s what Neil Bezdek wrote for Bicycling:

1. The Gears
Most bikes have two or three chainrings in the front and anywhere from 7 to 11 gears, or cogs, in the back. Moving the chain from the smallest rear cog to the largest eases your pedaling effort incrementally. Moving it between the chainrings in the front results in a more noticeable change—pedaling feels easier in a smaller chainring and harder in a bigger one.

2. Shifter Savvy
The left-hand shifter changes the front gears; the one on the right controls gears in back. If you get flustered on the fly, remember: RIGHT = REAR.

3. It’s Okay To…
• Use only the rear cogs and the small or middle front chainring when you’re just getting comfortable on a bike.
• look down to see what gear you’re in.
• shift whenever a more experienced rider does.

4. When to Shift
The reason bikes have gears is so you can pedal (relatively) comfortably no matter what the terrain. Shift to an easier gear on climbs or when you’re riding into the wind. Use a harder gear on flats or if the wind is blowing from behind. When in doubt, shift before the terrain changes. When you shift, ease up on the pedals, especially on hills; if you’re pushing hard, the chain may skip or fall off.

5. Avoid Cross-Chaining 
That means the chain is at an extreme slant, either in the big ring up front and the biggest cog in back, or the small ring up front and the small cog in back. This not only stresses the hardware, but it also limits your options if you need to shift again.

6. Cheat Sheet
For: Uphills and headwinds
Use: Small or middle front chainring + bigger rear cogs

For: Downhills
Use: Large front chainring + a range of rear cogs

For: Flat terrain
Use: Small or middle front chainring + ­smaller rear cogs

We searched the internet high and low for an effective video tutorial on shifting gears, and we came across Ken here from Landry’s Bicycles:

Women & Bicycles Tip: DIY Bra Boombox

This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Bi-Weekly Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes.  Click here to learn more and get involved.

Bicyclists in the big city don’t have a lot of control over our sound environment. We can’t escape the roaring dump trucks, rattling jackhammers, and the constant white noise of muffled and not-so-muffled engines.

If you miss the  luxury of listening to music through your car stereo or headphones, I’ve got a suggestion—no, not headphones. That’s dangerous and against the law in Virginia and Maryland, and highly discouraged in D.C. I’m talking about your very own bra boombox (for those who are inclined toward lingerie), or the more generic pocket boombox.

Four easy steps to building your DIY bra boombox*
1) Select your tunes on your smartphone
2) Turn up volume
3) Insert smartphone into bra or pocket, speaker-side positioned at 12 o’clock**
4) Get your bike dance on

*Smartphone or battery-operated sound-playing device required
**Concerned about perspiration? Place your phone in a small unsealed ziplock bag.

Image courtesy of V and the Bats

Women & Bicycles Tip: Downpour Preparedness

This entry is part of our Women & Bicycles Bi-Weekly Tips series. Women & Bicycles is WABA’s outreach and encouragement initiative to build a stronger women’s bike community and get more women on bikes. With the help of Roll Models, the program’s volunteer mentors, we’re providing a space to learn about and experience the joys of bicycling through workshops, bike rides, meetups, and our online forum. Click here to learn more and get involved.

Some people say that when it comes to bicycling, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.” Well, those people are pompous show-offs, and get a kick out of suffering and looking cool (and yes, sometimes I’m one of these people).

We can all agree certain weather situations dictate our decision to commute by bike. Thundersnow? Freak winter hurricanes? Golf-ball sized hail? No thanks! I’ll sacrifice my bicycling freedoms and take the dry, air-conditioned (albeit hardly freeing) Metro. Sometimes it’s just too hot or too cold, too wet or too snowy, you’re too lazy or not too sober, or you just aren’t up for riding—and those are great days to stay off the bike.

That said, I’m a big fan of rain riding and of being prepared for rain riding especially because there’s a good chance you’ll eventually participate in this precipitous pastime whether you like it or not. When you’re prepared to be out in the rain your experience can be refreshing, relaxing, and downright adventurous. So here are some tips for torrential downpour preparedness:

Rain gal
GEAR
Fenders: These plastic shields frame your front and rear wheels and single-handedly prevent many wet hineys and soaked shoes. Tangentially, always keep your tires pumped up, especially during rainy days.

Second change of clothes and toiletries: At minimum, pack a second change of clothes, including underwear, bra, socks, and shoes. And pack anything you may need to freshen up your hair and make-up once you arrive. I pack wet wipes with me wherever I go just in case I need to wipe down before meetings.

Rain jacket or poncho: You can pick up a cheap poncho to store in your bike bag, or invest in a lightweight rain jacket (this option avoids heat-trapping plastics). The more breathable, the better because you can pretty easily get more wet by sweating than by the rain; pit-zips are a plus. Specifically designed rain ponchos, often called rain capes, provide better opportunities for airflow, but are still compact. I like the Iva Jean Cycling Rain Cape. Rain pants are a major plus, especially because these can be used in cold, snowy conditions as well. If you aren’t up for buying a new pair of rain pants, and it’s warm out, try out athletic shorts that you can change out of once you get to your destination.

Cycling cap: If you want to keep your hair dry, try out a cycling cap under your helmet or a cover over your helmet.

Glasses: Clear-lens glasses shield your eyes from heavy rain and help with visibility.

Breathable shoes or shoe covers: You can purchase some cheap booties that cover just about any kind of shoe, and still give you the grip and range of motion you need. I myself wear Chacos, an athletic sandal. They excel at keeping my feet happy in the rain because they were originally designed to be worn in rivers.

Bag: Consider investing in a waterproof bike bag or pannier to keep your everyday essentials dry and cared for. I have officially converted to panniers, the bags that attach to your bike rack. It was a significant financial investment for me, but has had a major payoff in my bike satisfaction. My back is much happier without the weight of  backpack or the heat and sweat from a backpack.

 

Bicycling in the rainVISIBILITY
Brightly colored clothing: This is where the bright neon colors and reflective accessories in your closet can come in handy. A lightweight reflective vest is a low-cost accessory that’s easy to carry with you at all times.

Lights: Front and rear lights are required in D.C. even in sunny weather, but in the rain it’s even more important to have your bike lit up as much as possible.

Lane placement: Most of your visibility power is in your position on the road and how you communicate with other road users. Do what you can to make yourself the most visible and most predictable with your fellow road users. Unfortunately our standard M.O. is to assume that we’re invisible to everyone. If there are no bike lanes present, position yourself in the middle of the lane. If there are bike lanes present, ride to the far left-hand side of the bike lane to avoid the door zone. If you’re on a trail, always yield to walkers and joggers. When communicating passing and turning to drivers, other bicyclists, and pedestrians do your best to use hand signals make eye contact, and use verbal cues if necessary. This is all basic bike know-how, but having it under your belt can make your rain-riding experience even better.

TECHNIQUE
Be cautious: if you haven’t already, over time you will figure out your rain riding style. It may mean you need to ride a little slower to feel more alert and in control. This is a personal aspect that takes some time and practice.

Avoid slippery surfaces and puddles: Do your best to avoid street car tracks, gutters, grates, white street markings, piles of leaves, and anything that becomes slippery when wet. You do not have to worry about bike lanes that are painted green: The green paint is not the same as slick thermoplastic white street markings and has instead a granular texture to help prevent slipping.

Lightly use your brakes: Also called “feathering your brakes” which means, avoid quickly pulling your brake levers too hard. Instead lightly use both front and rear brakes equally with consistent pressure as needed.

Follow your Gene Kelley intuitions: You will probably find yourself singing more in the rain, and you may hear the occasional, “WEEeeeeeEEE!” and some “WoooIiiPEEE!’”s  Because as usual, your bike ride should be fun. If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong.

 

W&B Logo _ All Four

Switch to our mobile site