I admit that over the past several months I have tuned out of the women’s cycling movement. It seems like every time I read an article I either don’t understand it or I wonder why we are becoming so contentious and divided. I like what Elly had to say at the end of her latest blog post, “a bicycle is a way to ride away from the bad old world and create something new.”
Here are some thoughts:
1. Ride your Bike.
2. Stop debating the color pink.
3. Bike Commuters: I know you don’t understand kits, skinny tires, and helmets that cost more than your cargo bike but road biking and racing is a form of cycling that can help the biking movement. Support a local race and go cheer them on. Even better if you ride your bike there and bring the family! And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get inspired to give road, cyclo-cross or mountain biking a try. If nothing else it will help show the cycling community that cycling is also more than fast wheels.
4. Road/Mountain Bikers: Cycling isn’t always about watts and winning. Have you seen what urban cycling Moms are doing on their bikes! Give bike commuting a try once or twice a week. The more cyclists we have running errands the more demand there will be for proper bike lanes.
5. If the idea of mountain biking interests but scares you, you need to try it. And keep trying it. It’s a sharp learning curve but worth it.
6. Gender is the least important factor when finding a riding partner (especially when you are starting out). Find someone you trust, has patience, will challenge you, and knows when to chill out.
7. If the idea of racing scares you, you need to find a good race that supports beginners and sign up!
8. Once we have enough women doing #7 can we please start adding more women’s-only road races in addition to all the non-competitive road cycling events for women. How many running events for women are non-competitive? Zero! 5k,10ks, half-marathons, and marathons are all timed and scored for a reason. It helps motivate, achieve goals and measure your progress. I’m looking at you Goldilocks , Espirt de She and Venus de Miles. A recreational class women’s crit, TT, or road race in addition would be awesome! As Beti Bike Bash states, “RACE does not have to be a four letter word.”
9. The media keeps focusing on the technical aspects of women’s cycling because they don’t know your stories. Tell your story and keep telling your story.
10. Recognize, celebrate, and support any woman on her bike whether she is in heels, SIDIs, tennis shoes, or flip flops.