Photo by David Niddrie
M61 In Tandem Mia and Tania
Mia Kohout (left) and Tania Lo
For the first time in US history, 60 percent of bicycle owners between the ages of 18-27 are women.
According to “The American Bicyclist Study: On the Road to 2020,” released in 2012 and conducted by the Gluskin Townley Group, the women of Generation Y represent an important change to who is buying and riding bicycles. To us, this is a clear indication that it’s high time for the bicycle industry to embrace the next generation of bicycle riders, a group that will represent 100 million adults in the next seven years.
The bicycle industry needs to adapt as the market shifts towards a new bicycle consumer: women who use the bicycle as a tool. A tool that serves many purposes and is used for transportation, for exercise, for spending quality time with their children, for stress relief, and, most importantly, for fun.
Women are also increasingly responsible for the growing attention paid to transportation cycling at national and regional advocacy levels.
On a national level, the League of American Bicyclists launched the Women Bike campaign in March 2012. Just one year after its launch, more than 350 community leaders gathered in Washington, DC, in March 2013 to discuss the importance of promoting cycling to women. Emerging themes at the National Women’s Bicycling Forum included equity, empowerment, and inclusion. Discussions that resonated most strongly for us demonstrated the need for the bike industry to invest in the women’s market, and for bike retailers to learn to better engage more women customers.
At the local level, Veronica O. Davis, an inspirational speaker, community leader, and motivator, co-launched the Black Women Bike organization in May 2011. Her goal in Washington, DC, is to mobilize and motivate black women to use bicycles for transportation. Davis understands that visibility is key for encouraging more women, particularly black women, to ride. Davis’ work has struck a chord in her local community. Within 48 hours of a story running in the Washington Post, and just two weeks after its formation, the group grew to 360 members. And the movement keeps growing. Davis now offers support to women that want to start similar groups in their own communities.
The growing importance of women to the bicycle industry means that we need to see product lines expand to offer a greater selection of bikes and accessories suited for daily use by women and families. We need bicycle retailers to reimagine their retail spaces in hopes of attracting more women customers. Local, regional, and national planning and advocacy conferences need to include more women to showcase and highlight how we can make significant changes and make bicycling more inclusive to everyone.
As women make their way to bike lanes and podiums across the nation, the next generation of bicycle users are leading the way towards a more inclusive bike-friendly future. Now it’s up to politicians, planners, bicycle manufacturers, and retailers to support, encourage, and embrace changes that recognize women as integral to the future of bicycling in North America.
Mia Kohout & Tania Lo, Publishers, Momentum Mag
Women & Bikes
60 percent of bicycle owners between the ages of 18-27 are women.
45 percent of bicycle owners between the ages of 28-45 are women.
49 percent of bicycle owners between the ages of 50-68 are women.
Source: Gluskin Townley Group “The American Bicyclist Study: On the Road to 2020”
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