Empowering women in cycling

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Women Bike Mini-Grant Awards

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I realize this is very much a repost of a press release, but the idea is killer and each program is unique. Do you think you could use any of these ideas in your community?

To seed and support this growing momentum to encourage women from all backgrounds to become engaged in bicycling and the bike movement, the League of American Bicyclists’ Women Bike program has awarded $7,500 in small grants to innovative, model campaigns in four cities.

WE Bike NYC
Engaging Latina Women Through Bilingual Outreach and Resources
$2,000

Breaking down barriers for women cyclists, WE Bike NYCrealizes the importance of creating a space where new riders feel welcome and understood. “Engaging Latina women is done by creating accessible resources where these women can literally and figuratively see themselves — or people who look like them,” says Liz Jose, a bilingual organizer and founder of the group. “Our goal with this grant is to create outreach and educational materials in print and online that encourage Latina women to join the bicycle movement. By compiling existing Spanish language resources as well as creating new, downloadable documents, the work created under this grant will create a model for language inclusiveness for groups across the country, as well as materials such as a Spanish-language ‘Fix-A-Flat’ book featuring Latina women and a Spanish-language ‘Club Pack’ that can be used to begin work in local communities.” Learn more about WE Bike NYC.

Women Bike PHL (Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia)
Girl Scouts on Wheels
$1,500

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s Women Bike PHL campaign is working to get more women and girls on bikes in Philadelphia. Their innovative “Girl Scouts on Wheels” project is developing and promoting a Biking Basics patch, as well as offering Bike Rodeos and Learn-to-Ride classes to Girl Scout troops. “I was a Girl Scout for 10 years, and know from experience what a positive impact that organization has on youth,” says Katie Monroe, Women Bike PHL coordinator. “If we’re serious about getting more women riding, we need to start young — and Girl Scouts seems like the perfect platform for educating and inspiring girls to get pedaling. It’s also a powerful national network, so ideally this partnership between bike advocates and Girl Scouts could be replicated around the country.” Learn more about Women Bike PHL.

We Are All Mechanics
Scholarship Program
$1,500

A women-owned and operated initiative since 2003, We are All Mechanics has been teaching bicycle maintenance courses to women in the Madison-area community for 10 years. The grant from the League will enable us to offer scholarships to women who would otherwise not be able to participate in our Basic Bicycle Maintenance Course,” says Ali Dwyer, a co-founder of WAAM. “Participants in our Basic Course report that they are excited to share what they know with others, and they report riding more often, for more reasons, and with more confidence after taking our course.Our successful program, and our original materials will serve as a model for other programs and bicycle educators.” Learn more about We Are All Mechanics.

 

Marin County Bicycle Coalition
Women on Wheels in Spanish
$2,500 
(Special Smart Cycling grant)
Marin County Bicycle Coalition’s Women on Wheels was developed in 2011 to provide classes for women to ride together and provide other shared information. “The classes are designed to help women gain the confidence and skills they need to ride a bicycle for errands, to get their children to school or for recreation,” says MCBC’s Wendi Kallins. “With this grant, we’ll be able to offer these classes in the low income, predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of the Canal area of San Rafael – and make the curriculum for Spanish-speaking women available to other communities around the country.” Learn more about Women On Wheels.

 

National Women’s Bicycling Forum: March 4th

2 National Women's Bicycling Forum

On March 4th, 2013, timing around the National Bike Summit, the League of American Bicyclists are hosting the second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum. I asked Carolyn, Director of Communications at the League of American Bicyclists, some follow up questions to learn more about what the League has planned for this Forum!

About the National Women’s Bicycling Forum

Join hundreds of fellow advocates and enthusiasts who are working to engage more women in bicycling at our next Women Bike event! Register now for the second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum on March 4, 2013 in Washington, D.C.!

With a theme of “Women Mean Business,” this all-day event will showcase women leaders and entrepreneurs in the bicycle industry and highlight the economic impact and rising influence of women in the bicycle movement. (The Forum will end before the start of the National Bike Summit.)

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

With an opening keynote address from Georgena Terry, break-out sessions, lunch plenary, networking and so much more, the Women’s Forum will be an opportunity to learn, connect and network with advocates and leaders from across the country who are working to close the gender gap in American bicycling.

Both women AND men are encouraged to attend!

A Recap of the First National Women’s Bicycling Forum

Carolyn: The first National Women’s Bicycling Forum was really a toe in the water — it was a first attempt to bring the discussion about gender to the forefront and gauge the interest and trajectory of where that conversation could take us at the national level.

First, we tried to pour a number of different perspectives into a two-hour panel. With incredible speakers like Elysa Walk (GM of Giant Bicycle USA), Marla Streb (former world mountain bike champion) and Veronica Davis (founder of Black Women Bike DC) some incredible insight floated to the top — but it was crystal clear that tackling “women in bicycling” is NOT a single conversation. It’s an ocean of content!

Secondly, the response was a tidal wave. We packed the room with more than 300 people, all of whom were just buzzing with excitement and ideas and energy to keep the conversation going. So the take-away was simple: A two-hour forum is just the first drop in a really big bucket. In September, we expanded to a full-day event with more sessions with more specific content, like family biking and marketing to women. In 2013, we’re expanding and sustaining that effort with a full-time program, so we can compile and create new resources, share stories and work on targeted strategies to increase the number of women riding, in between these killer events.

What are the Main Reasons the League is Putting Energy into this Forum?

Carolyn: The Women Bike initiative is really part of a more big-picture effort by the League to change the face of bicycling — or better represent and include the voices of the many diverse communities and people who ride. Clearly, since we’re 50 percent of the population, we need to engage more women if we want to mainstream / normalize bicycling as a means of transportation (like we see in European countries) and recreation, too. And it’s not just about equity in numbers — our voices our powerful. Women are role models for the next generation, decision makers for their households, persuasive political constituencies and ingenious entrepreneurs. Bringing more women into all aspects of the bicycle movement, from lobbying on Capitol Hill to designing product at major bicycle manufactures, is in everyone’s best interests.

What is the Second Annual Forum Focused On?

Carolyn: The second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum on March 4 in Washington, D.C. With a theme of “Women Mean Business,” we’re focusing on how the industry and retailers are working to close the gender gap and highlighting efforts that are changing the culture of cycling in new and innovative ways.

The speaker line-up is off the chain: Georgena Terry, Jacquie Phelan, leaders Red Bike & Green, reps from industry leaders like Specialized, Giant and ASI; editors from Bicycle Times and Momentum; the founder of Cyclofemme; the woman behind the nation’s largest bike share systems… and so many more. And we mean business when it comes to making this event accessible to all. Bring your kids: We’ll have free childcare. If the $85 registration fee is a barrier, apply for a scholarship.