Fabulous Lady’s Ride Success!
On the night of Wednesday, June 24, I led my first ride with our local Portland bicycle festival, Pedalpalooza: The Fabulous Lady’s Ride. See the proposed route here.
Highlights: The ride was fairly small, so everyone got to know each other and hang out. This led to some great conversation about bike safety and livable cities. (More on this later.)
Since the group was small, I opted out of doing some strutting through town and we rode to get beers at Bailey’s Taproom first instead of up Broadway and through the Park Blocks.
|Racking up on SW Broadway|
|Scenes from the Fabulous Lady’s Ride|
This is how the ride ended: The Fields Park, an electric bicycle to try for a spin, and sparklers at dusk.
So why are bicycle festivals important for women?
1. It’s about safety.
2. It’s about diversity.
Promoting a healthy lifestyle to people of all genders and races is extremely important for creating a society that meets the needs of everyone, and this is a big reason why cities all across America hold special bicycle festivals just for women. On July 18, Boston Women Bikes will hold a bicycle festival for women-identified only, with 50, 32, and 10 mile rides.
Only days ago, Citi Bikes in NYC was the subject of a New York Times article on gender inequity in the bike share program, after launching a campaign to get more women involved. This was based on the shocking (to them) discovery that only 25% of riders using the program were women.
Without women in the streets on bicycles, no one is there to make the needs of women known, and that was another big conversation we had on the ride. “You just don’t know until you’re out there,” was a quote we agreed upon. What if there are dark areas of a bike path where you can hardly see what’s around you beyond your light? What if there is a scary blind intersection? What if the city is piling wet leaves into the bicycle lane leaving a major slipping hazard? Or a common annoyance, what if you find a busy intersection in which motorists/pedestrians/other cyclists are super rude? (That last one is more of a deterrent than you might think!)
Getting everyone out is the best way to find out whether current conditions are actually meeting people’s needs, and if not, exactly what needs to be done.
3. It’s about activism. Really!
The streets are yours to use, and bicycle festivals like Pedalpalooza encourage you to be yourself and enjoy your city in a way that promotes health and sustainability. After seeing cyclists everywhere for a month, sometimes naked or dressed in wild attire or blasting music or with glowing lights or on some rides all of the above, motorists will learn to watch for cyclists on the road. You are changing people’s perspectives of cyclists, and this will go a long way toward changing the world.