Women-Only Rides Get Women Back on Bikes

How do you motivate women who may not have been on a bicycle since childhood to ride again? The growing trend of women-only rides hopes to provide this inspiration.

How do you motivate women who may not have been on a bicycle since childhood to ride again? The growing trend of women-only rides hopes to provide this inspiration. These rides aim to show all types of women at all riding levels that the bicycle is a viable transportation option.

Women-only group rides provide an environment meant to empower and encourage, not intimidate. “Women-only rides make a welcoming and non-competitive space for newbie and veteran cyclists to come together,” said Hyedie Hashimoto, organizer of Cupcake Rides in Toronto, ON.

These rides have the power to inspire women to contribute to creating livable and vibrant communities and cities. “My favorite experience,” recalled Rebecca Serna, executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, while discussing the local Heels on Wheels rides, “is seeing women who’ve never done a group ride, and often have never ridden on the street, experience city cycling for the first time.”

A growing focus of many women-only rides is to make them even more inclusive. “We’re seeing many more women on bikes,” said Serna.

“Now we need to make sure that women in communities of color feel welcomed and able to bring their talents, style, and interests to the cycling experience.”

Be sure to look for 2 Wheels & Heels events in Columbus and Cleveland, OH, and Chicago, IL; Cupcake Rides in Toronto, ON; and Heels on Wheels in Atlanta, GA.


  • Jean

    Good that Portland is doing their thing, April. Each city has their own culture and waves of leaders.

    Where I am now in a prairie city over 1 million people (Calgary), I see a lot more male bike commuters and this is on a bike path area. A major one leading to the downtown area!

    It is changing but very slowly. I just ride my bike nearly daily. Even at -25 degrees C which I never did in Vancouver nor Toronto where I lived and cycled also.
    Jean @ http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com

  • Karen

    Really? You couldn’t come up with a better name than Menstrual Monday? 18 years riding and racing in Seattle… I would have hoped for more. No wonder the gender pay gap in Seattle is the biggest in the U.S. You don’t even respect yourselves.

  • April Streeter

    Hey, Jean!
    The spirit of Women on Wheels is alive and well and living in Portland! We have the Women on Wheels meetup group http://www.meetup.com/womenonwheels, with almost 500 members, and we do fun city rides of 10 miles and under. On May 12 there’s the national CycloFemme ride and WOW will have a fab 5.1 mile ride to Portland’s East Sunday Parkways and a 2 mile parade ride, and cupcakes! Register your own ride May 12 at CycloFemme.com

  • Kristina "The Chubby Cruiser"

    WEBIKENYC.org is a women powered group based in NYC, to which i am a proud member!

  • Jean

    For 5 years I was one of the organizing committee members in Toronto 1988-1993 for Women on Wheels, a non-racing/non-competitive women’s cycling organization that advocated on encouraging women to cycle for transportation, fitness and touring. We had workshops for women on bike maintenance, fit, skills, etc. Also a conference every 2 years. Organized rides once per month in Toronto. I did lead and sweep some rides. Our rides ranged from 30-60 km. Other women on the organizing committee: Jeannie Lee (a policy analyst with Ont. Ministry of Transportation), Shirley Lum (who started up her local walking and biking tour company after W.O.W.), Lianne, Dale… So it was also ..an ethnically diverse group of women. :) Even back then. For conference, it drew up to 200 women from southern Ontario.

    We had to fold the organization since we were burnt out and didn’t have any new members, new blood at that time to carry W.O.W. onward. I bet there must be water bottles and T-shirts still with our logo on in a closet somewhere.

    So for the women cyclists in Toronto, carry on!

    See you at: http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com

  • Anne-Gigi Chan

    Cycle the WAVE is a women-only noncompetitive ride that raise funds and awareness for domestic violience program.

    This year, there will be the Inaugural Ride in MA on Jun 23 and the 6th Annual Ride in WA.

    Check out our website: http://www.cyclethewave.org


  • Deborah Merriam

    the original Critical Lass ride in Edmonton, Alberta.
    Critical Lass in New Haven, CT.
    Critical Lass in Sudbury, Ontario.

  • Sarai

    On May 12, 2013 We Ride Together! Check out the ride list, join in on an already scheduled ride or create your own! http://cyclofemme.com/2013-rides/

  • Holly

    Chicago Critical Lass. Find us on Facebook.

  • Momentum Mag

    Thank you LethaColleen. We encourage everyone to share their ladies-only ride suggestions in the comments here. Please include links where available. Ride on everyone!

  • LethaColleen

    Critical Lass in Seattle!!

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