Getting more women on two wheels…

With the National Bike Summit taking place last week, a number of interesting news articles popped up in my Google news alert. Two of them really caught my attention: they are both essays based on the National Women Cycling Forum (which took place during the Summit) on why more women are not choosing two wheels over four.

The first appeared on Greater Greater Washington and served as a good overview of the main topics discussed during the Forum. You can take a look at that by clicking here.

The second also talks about the main topics, but the author also adds in some personal thoughts:

I’ve never thought of myself as a female cyclist. For the last 13 years, I’ve been a bike commuter in DC, and I figured my needs were the same needs as any cyclist. But for the last six months, I’m a biker that doesn’t bike, and that has everything to do with the fact that I’m a woman. So the Women’s Cycling Forum, which kicked off the National Bike Summit yesterday, hit home for me.

After all, I had taken the metro. To the Bike Summit.

Why wasn’t I riding? I just had a baby. So did my partner, but somehow he never had to stop cycling. But then, he didn’t find himself gaining 28 pounds in nine months. Or pushing a baby out his bike-seat anatomy. And since he’s not nursing every three hours, he leaves the house without Luna more often than I do, so he has more cause to bike. At two months, she’s too young for a bike trailer.

Read the rest of the essay by clicking here. Both are well worth the visit, and both offer some very thought-provoking looks at strategies toward getting more women on bikes.


7 Comments

  1. RANTWICK March 26, 2012 7:06 am 

    Awww, I thought this post was going to show me how to pick up chicks. While on my bike.

    Seriously though, I would love to see more women on bikes… is it that cycling is seen as “risky” and men are happier taking “risks”?

  2. BluesCat March 26, 2012 7:52 am 

    The safest route to work for me, traffic-wise, takes me through some neighborhoods which, if I were a woman, would be very unsettling.

    I believe one of the most important things we can do to get ALL folks bicycling is to improve the traffic safety AND the environmental safety of the transportation infrastructure.

  3. Ghost Rider March 26, 2012 7:53 am 

    @Ranty,

    yes, I think it IS that…although my personal feeling is that commuting isn’t nearly as “risky” as many folks believe. But there’s more to it. I think also that women may be more concerned about arriving to work presentably and not a sweaty mess (another myth that is easily dispelled by the many excellent female-oriented bike blogs and our own female writers). Basically, there are a lot of perceived hardships that with a little knowledge and careful planning can be easily surmounted.

    I’d sure love to hear more about the Women Forum, and I am hoping like hell that our own Elizabeth attended while she was at the Summit and can provide more detail/insights/solutions.

  4. Elizabeth March 26, 2012 4:55 pm 

    I was there!

    The panel at this Forum consisted of cyclists from all backgrounds and the room was packed to capacity! Full reports from my perspective to come soon…

    I think I learned that women in general are just more cautious.

  5. Mike Myers March 27, 2012 12:00 am 

    Women face challenges men don’t. I don’t think many women who work at places with no shower would do long commutes in the jungle climate I deal with from April to November. It was easy for me to clean up, as all I had to do is wipe down with baby wipes, apply deodorant, and wash my shaved head. No makeup, no worry about helmet head.

    And there’s the safety issue. It can be intimidating, and rightfully so, to be a woman out on the road on a bike all by herself.

  6. karen March 27, 2012 11:12 am 

    I don’t worry about safety but I do worry about arriving at work a sweaty mess. If I lived in a hot and humid city I realistically couldn’t bike commute in without having a shower facility. Professional appearance matters at many work places.

  7. Mike Myers March 27, 2012 3:20 pm 

    @karen—-You’re braver than I am, because I worry about safety and I’m a thick dude with a bald head and a Jack Sparrow goatee. LOL! I’ve been accosted a couple of times by nutjobs. Makes ya paranoid.

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