Posts Tagged ‘women’s cycling’
Marya McQuirter is based in D.C. and is a League Certified Instructor who has taught a number of WABA’s safe cycling classes. On the League of American Bicyclists’ blog, she recently detailed some of her research on a group of five black women that, in 1928, biked from New York City to D.C.
When asked what motivated them to embark on the group ride, they responded that they were motivated by “the love of the great-out-of-doors” that each of them cherished. Interestingly, they also challenged other young women, 21 years old and older, to replicate their trip in less time. What are we to make of this challenge, the professed love for “outdoor” culture and the trip, in general? And what was happening in 1928 that provides a context for the ride?
Read the rest of McQuirter’s post here.
Image via the League of American Bicyclists
The face of bicycling is changing in cities across the country, and nowhere is that more evident than in the nation’s capital. Since 2004, Washington, D.C., has seen a 175 percent increase in cycling and a 300 percent increase in its bike lane network. Despite these incredible gains, the number of women on bikes has remained steady at 23 percent.
With a $15,000 grant from the League of American Bicyclists, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association is launching an initiative that will further elevate the D.C. region as a national leader in encouraging more women to ride.
WABA’S Women & Bicycles program will kick off on Sun., March 3, with a launch party from 8 to 11:30 p.m. at Busboys and Poets (1025 5th St. NW). Featured speakers will include Nelle Pierson, WABA’s outreach coordinator, and Elly Blue, founder of Taking the Lane Media and author of Everyday Bicycling, an accessible, easy-to-read guide to cycling for transportation.
WABA’s program is the result of several years of discussion and feedback, which concluded that a strong community is essential to getting more women on bikes. Women & Bicycles is encouragement-based: 10 Roll Models will be identified, then asked to tap into their personal networks to loop in women who might be hesitant to ride a bike for transportation. A series of small social gatherings hosted by Roll Models and practical-skill workshops and group rides run by WABA will engage Women & Bicycles participants and provide them with all the resources they’ll need to bike confidently in the D.C. area. WABA is in the process of selecting Roll Models, and the program will be underway by late March.
“Generally speaking, women admit to being more intimidated by the perceived risk of bicycling, maintaining appearances, and the responsibilities of being a primary caretaker in the household,” says Pierson. “So we’re going to tackle these issues together at meetups, workshops, and group rides, and we’re going to have a lot of fun in the process.”
Supporting such innovative efforts is a key aspect of the League’s new Women Bike initiative, the first national advocacy campaign aimed at engaging, empowering, and elevating women in all aspects of the bicycle movement.
“One of our primary goals is to seed, support, and spread new campaigns and ideas that are getting more women on bikes,” say Carolyn Szczepanski, the League’s director of communications and Women Bike. “WABA has been at the forefront of women’s outreach for years and we’re excited to partner with them on a pilot project that could be a model for communities nationwide.”
On the heels of WABA’s launch party, the League will bring together hundreds of leaders from across the country at the second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum. On March 4 at the Renaissance Washington (999 9th St. NW), more than 25 diverse female leaders from bike advocacy, industry, policy and racing will present at the all-day forum. Keynote speakers will include Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and industry trailblazer Georgena Terry.
In addition to this fantastic news, we’d like to thank our members and friends who have so generously given to Women & Bicycles. Were it not for you, we wouldn’t have met and exceeded last December’s match grant or continued to receive donations well into the new year. Your support continues to be critical in raising funds and raising awareness for WABA’s work, and we can’t wait to show you the progress of the Women & Bicycles program.
It feels like we’ve been talking about our Women & Bicycles program forever. We’re preparing to finally, finally launch it officially in March—and we’ve got a lot to do before then. We sent out the first Women & Bicycles Bulletin to those who signed up for our email list today, and we’re reposting the information here. If you’d like to receive these updates (they’re bi-weekly notices about what’s going on in the program) in your inbox, sign up here if you haven’t already. Otherwise, read on!
A brief review of the Women & Bicycles philosophy: This program is designed to create opportunities for helpful exchanges between two different groups, women who already bicycle and women who are interested in bicycling. To do this, we’re sponsoring a season of workshops, rides, and meetups, all of which will encourage skillsharing. This type of community-based guidance has worked for ages, but it’s a new approach to getting more people on bicycles; WABA’s program is the first of its kind in the country.
Here’s some news and ways you can get involved:
Become a Roll Model
We are looking for 10 women to serve as the program’s bicycling mentors, known as Roll Models. For more information on the role of Roll Models, expectations, time commitments, and the many benefits of getting involved, click here to visit our Roll Model Application. Take a look, pass it along, and apply! (Please submit by Friday, Feb. 22nd.)
We released our logo a few weeks ago. Some people love it, some don’t heart the hearts, and some have questioned the utility of the logo-bike’s wheels. We appreciate the feedback! Women & Bicycles is intended to initiate a regional discussion about perceptions of gender and bicycling. We’re keeping the logo: It originated from a doodle that program coordinator Nelle has drawn on notebooks, dry-erase boards, and thank-you notes since she started biking.
Interact With Us
We’ve set up a Facebook page that we hope will become a consistent resource for all women who bike. It will serve as a place to ask questions, post ideas, upcoming events, new discoveries, and share general bicycling cheer. Click here to join. It’s a private group, but we encourage you to invite your friends.
And we’re on Instagram! Check us out, follow our account (“womenandbicycles”), and tag your women-and-bikey photos with #womenbikeDC. Your photos will be posted directly to our website to show the program in action.
Women & Bicycles Launch Party, Presented by the League of American Bicyclists
We’re throwing a party with Women Bike, the League of American Bicyclists’ National women’s outreach program. It’s also the kick-off to the second annual National Women’s Cycling Forum, part of the National Bike Summit. Join us for drinks, hear updates on the program, learn about what the League’s doing, and interact with women from all across the U.S. who bike for transportation. Click here to learn more and register for the Launch Party.
Register for the National Women’s Bicycling Forum
The day after the launch party is the National Women’s Bicycling Forum, the opening event of the National Bike Summit. The Forum hosts groups and individuals who work throughout the country to get more women on bikes. Check out the program and you’ll notice there are many D.C.-area bike advocacy stars in the line-up. Click here to learn more and register for the Women’s Bicycling forum.
We hope to see you online and in real life soon!
The Women & Bicycles program will officially launch at the beginning of March. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our website to sign up for the Women & Bicycles email list–that way, you’ll receive bi-weekly updates on the program’s status and launch.
We have lots of news on the way, so look out for our launch festivities, information on becoming a Roll Model or participant in the program, and how to get your very own Women & Bicycles T-shirt!
In what has got to be the best way to ring in the New Year for cycling in the D.C. area, the Women & Bicycles program met its $4,000 match grant—and exceeded that by about $3,000. The final total, as of 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, was $7,055.
Your support of the Women & Bicycles program, through donations, retweets of our blog posts, shares on Facebook, and laps around Hains Point, has been absolutely incredible. We’ve so enjoyed watching the regional biking community talk about and get behind Women & Bicycles, a program that we’re really excited to kick off this spring.
Over the past week, we’ve told you a lot about why Women & Bicycles is an important program. A few dudes who ride bikes in the D.C. area explained why getting more women on bikes matters for everyone, not just for women. If you’re reading this blog post, you’re well aware of the reasons why we have a vested interest in seeing more women on bikes and are treating making that happen as a critical mission.
But ladies are the heart of this program, so we asked some of our friends—women who ride bikes—to vouch for us. Below, read what they have to say about the importance of Women & Bicycles:
Tracy Hadden Loh, National Transportation Enhancement Clearinghouse and Rails to Trails:
The latest research in children’s travel behavior shows that mothers are the primary decision-makers regarding how children get to school, and that a caregiver’s own activity level influences a child’s mode choice to school. Getting more women on bikes means that current and future mothers will be more likely to allow and encourage the next generation to bike to school.
As a woman, I’m constantly inundated with warnings from family, peers, and media about being careful. People think they are showing concern and love for me when they try to discourage me from cycling. What they don’t know is that my bicycle empowers me to travel independently and efficiently – reliable, quick, healthy, liberating. For the woman you love, don’t tell her to stay home. Instead, support WABA’s efforts to empower women through cycling!
Emily Littleton, NPR:
Women move the world – so why not [on] two wheels?! The more women who ride bikes, the happier and healthier we’ll be. C’mon ladies, let’s lead the way.
Rebecca Mills, #bikedc:
My life has improved infinitely—physically, emotionally, and economically— since I started using my bike as my main form of transportation, and I want to see other women improve the qualities of their lives through cycling as well.
Your contributions will encourage all of the above, and then some. We can’t thank you enough for your monetary support of Women & Bicycles, and for all you’ve done to spread the word about how this program will do great things. We couldn’t have done it without you, and we can’t wait to share with you the progress we make in exposing more women to the benefits of bicycling.
Over the past few days, we’ve posted a whole lot about our Women & Bicycles program, which will officially launch this spring. That’s because last Wednesday, we received a $4,000 match grant on donations made before the end of 2012.
So far, thanks to your help pitching in and spreading the word, we’ve raised $2,135. Dec. 31 is the last day to donate with matching funds still eligible. We’d so appreciate your help in closing the $1,865 gap.
Need a refresher on what Women & Bicycles will do and why it’s important? Read all about it:
- Watch: What Is Women & Bicycles?: With bonus video!
- Our Women & Bicycles Program Is for Everyone: A few of our favorite guys tell us why getting more women on bikes will make a difference for everyone living in the D.C. area
- How Will Your Contribution Help the Women & Bicycles Program?: What it will cost to put on great programming that will help make D.C.-area women more comfortable with riding their bikes
- We Got a Match Grant!: Thanks to a generous supporter, your donation will be matched—oh, and, why is Women & Bicycles necessary, anyway?
If you haven’t donated yet, you can do so here. Won’t you help us reach the maximum match?
Our fundraising for the Women & Bicycles program is progressing steadily. Many thanks to those of you who have donated. We passed the $2,000 mark last night. As of this morning, we’ve raised $2,050, all of which will be matched.
American University student Terence Johnson shot and produced a few clips for WABA that show off the Women & Bicycles program. Watch the 60-second clip below and get as excited about it as we are:
Up to $4,000 in donations will be matched; this opportunity runs through Dec. 31, so if you’d like to contribute, please do so today! There’s only two days left to make your dollars count for twice as much!
Many thanks to those of you who have donated to WABA’s Women & Bicycles program since we announced a $4,000 match grant on Wednesday. As of this morning, we’ve raised $1,450 to be matched.
We’ve told you why getting women on bikes matters, especially for, well, women. But there’s also the fact that once women start doing something, it’s normalized; getting more women on bikes means that cycling’s more accessible for everyone. You’ve heard the jargon-y “indicator species” thesis before. To illustrate the reasons why women biking can make a difference for everyone, we asked a few cycling-minded guys in the D.C. area to tell us why they think the Women & Bicycles program is important.
Brian McEntee, blogger extraordinaire, Tales From the Sharrows:
It’s important to get women on bikes because it’s important to get everyone on bikes. The bicycle is the most egalitarian and democratic form of transportation ever devised and for society to truly enjoy its benefits, bicycling should not be curtailed to one gender, nor limited by any other stricture or inhibition.
Brent Bolin, councilmember, city of Mount Rainier:
The metro area needs to improve transportation infrastructure across the board to give a growing region more options. If we want these new spaces to be inclusive and welcoming to all modes of transportation, we likewise need a cycling community that is inclusive and welcoming of all users. That’s why WABA’s Women and Bicycles program is so important.
D.C., as of 2011, ranks third in the U.S. in its percentage of women cyclists with 39 percent, only 1.1 percent under the national leader. It’s important to watch this statistic, because an increasing percentage indicates that the safety of bicycle infrastructure is improving, making bicycle transportation safer for all.
Helping women feel more comfortable, confident, and inclined to get on their bikes will make biking in D.C. a better experience across the board. Cycling’s good for everyone, as is the Women & Bicycles program. Your money will fund smart, engaging, and accessible programming that will educate and support D.C.-area women who are hesitant about using their bikes for transportation.
Donate today and your contribution will be matched. Getting your donation in by Dec. 31 is important, since that’s the last day that we can accept the matching funds that have been granted. Get to it!
Thank you so much for your support of the Women & Bicycles program since our announcement of a $4,000 match grant. As of this afternoon, $1,115 has been donated!
Yesterday, we told you about the many great things that your donation to the Women & Bicycles program will fund–including dinner parties, bike rides, and the coalescence of 10 “Roll Model” mentors who will reach into their own communities to encourage cycling-tentative women.
Here’s a more specific breakdown of what we expect some of those things will cost:
A dinner party for a small group of women to come together in a warm, comfortable environment to learn about incorporating cycling in their lives, followed by the distribution of educational materials and the facilitation of a discussion covering the ins and outs of bicycling: $970 (includes educational materials, meeting-space rental, food, drink, and staff time)
An interactive workshop focused on a specific issue related to daily bicycling, like gear essentials, bike maintenance, self-defense and cycling, cycling with kids, or running errands by bike: $950 (includes League Certified Instructor fees, meeting-space rental, light refreshments, and staff time)
A group ride that demonstrates safety and etiquette tips for city biking and allows women to apply what they’ve discussed in dinner parties and workshops–as well as refine practical skills like integrating cycling with Metro and Metrobus trips, identifying best routes, and locking bikes: $950 (includes ride insurance, light refreshments, and staff time)
A final, proper, celebration to honor the impact that Roll Models and Women & Bicycles participants have and will have in their communities and personal lives: $1,000 (includes it’s a party and there’s no reason not to go big)
That’s not all, of course. We’ll want to have swag on hand for Women & Bicycles participants–think highly visible stickers, T-shirts, banners, and buttons–and there will also be a launch party. But those figures above should give you a better idea of how your dollars will be used.
Remember that if you donate now through the end of the year, your donation will be matched up to a total of $4,000. So help us reach that match maximum by donating today.
Following an incredibly fun Hains Point century ride on Saturday, we were able to announce that, thanks a generous program supporter, donations to the WABA Women & Bicycles program through the end of the year will be matched up to a total of $4,000.
This means that, in the next five days, we need your contribution. You can donate to the program, which will aim to get more D.C.-area women on bikes, here.
Why is getting more women on bikes a critical cause?
- In 2012, women represented just 22.7 percent of cyclists on the road in D.C. According to DDOT, that’s a slight drop since 2011.
- In Women on Wheels, April Streeter writes, “New bike commuters are overwhelmingly male. Data reviewed by researchers John Pucher and Ralph Buehler show that almost all of the recent growth in cycling in the united states recently can be attributed to men between 25 and 64 years old. Pucher and Buehler found that cycling rates are just holding steady for women, and have fallen sharply for children.”
- Our women’s bicycling forum identified three top barriers for getting women on bikes: safety (fear, safety concerns, inexperience/confidence, harassment), logistics (facilities, time commitment, weather, gear, money), and perception (misconceptions, double standards, and professionalism).
How is WABA going to fix these problems through the Women & Bicycles program?
- Ten “Roll Models” will be selected to mentor women in their friend, family, church, and work groups
- Roll Models and mentees will be invited to a series of bike dinner parties, group rides, and workshops that will mix practical advice and conversation about how to incorporate cycling into one’s lifestyle with socializing and low-key hanging out.
- Non-participants will be kept abreast of the program, so they’ll learn more about the issues facing women on bikes and be inclined to encourage their friends and family to bike, regardless of gender.
We don’t want to sit around and talk about what’s discouraging women from biking, so we’ve created a program centered on peer-to-peer encouragement, information, and experience through events. Your support will ensure that we can make the dinner parties, group rides, and workshops that we’ve planned out happen successfully, and that we can reach as many women as possible. If you contribute before the end of the year, the $4,000 match grant will make your money stretch even further.
At 9:30 a.m. today, $705 had been donated to the Women & Bicycles program. Donate now and your dollars are worth double.