I still remember decorating my purple Huffy bike for our neighborhood 4th of July block party in Fair Oaks, Calif. I got that bicycle all dolled up in red, white and blue streamers and pedaled with pride down the street with my friends and my two little sisters. Sure, I loved the fireworks and the cook-out — but the best part of July 4th was riding my bike.
Decades later, I celebrate that freedom and feel that sense of pride every single day when I get on my bike. What’s more democratic — and accessible to all — than a bicycle? What’s more patriotic than getting around on my own power? What’s more all-American than the right to choose my mode of transportation — and love every minute of my daily travel?
In the “land of opportunity” everyone should be able to feel that that sense of freedom and possibility that takes hold of us every time we get on a bike. But, many of my female friends from that neighborhood bike parade don’t ride anymore. In fact, women are dramatically under-represented in U.S. bicycling, making up just 24 percent of bike trips in 2009.
Too many women feel unsafe on streets engineered for cars — and too few women are at the decision-making table, directing the future of our transportation system.
We have the power to change that. We have the power to make sure our daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers have the invitation and opportunity to share the joy of bicycling. And, collectively, women have the power to bring bicycling into the mainstream in communities across America.
But we need your help.
Addressing the gender gap is a complex challenge but women (and men!) around the country are coming up with innovative ways to empower and engage their peers. On September 13, the League of American Bicyclists and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals will host the first-ever National Women’s Bicycling Summit in Long Beach, California.
The Summit will provide a unique opportunity for everyday bicyclists and bicycle professionals to network, share best practices and develop action steps to get more women in YOUR community out riding. It will provide the space for us to put our helmets together and create a bike future where women don’t account for just 24 percent of bike trips but are equally represented on the streets and in the movement.
Learn more at www.bikeleague.org/conferences/women
Your contribution to the National Women’s Bicycling Summit will help us:
- Secure speakers and presenters to share their unique insight
- Support scholarships and travel stipends for attendees in need of financial assistance
- Document and share these critical conversations and ideas with YOU.
- The compilation and sharing of new ideas and resources to increase the number of women riding in your community
- A stronger, more effective network of women leaders in bicycling from coast to coast
- Strategies and campaign ideas to increase women riding nationwide
- Action steps to continue the conversation at future bicycle-related events
I bet you remember riding in a 4th of July parade or just cruising around the neighborhood with your friends. Let’s unite our efforts and make sure the little girls who are decorating their bikes today are the women riding on our streets tomorrow.
Please support the Women’s Bicycling Summit with your contribution and share this message with all of your friends and family! Go here now: razoo.com/story/Womenbike