CycloFemme: A Global Day of Women’s Cycling, May 13

Ride to support women on two wheels.

Want to honor the favorite women in your life this Mother’s Day? Get on a bike.

On Sunday May 13, 2012 Cyclofemme, presented by Girl Bike Love, is bringing together women, children and men around the world for a global day to support women’s cycling.

Created to “Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, Empower the Future of Women in Cycling” Cyclofemme invites women, children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends join together to celebrate the bike and the possibilities it brings.

proven tool for change, pairing cycling with women’s empowerment makes sense. As Susan B. Anthony once famously said, “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

That sentiment holds true for CycloFemme founder Sarai Snyder who says, “Women have had very strong ties with the bike since its inception. For women in the 1890s the bicycle was a form of independence, which helped lead to the emancipation of women and the opportunity to wear pants. Today, women’s cycling is gaining momentum worldwide, with more emphasis on women’s racing and encouragement to get more women and youth riding bikes.”

To learn more about why we should be promoting women cycling, we caught up with Snyder, who is also the woman behind cycling website, Girl Bike Love.

EcoSalon: What first got you on a bicycle?

Growing up in the hills of Kentucky, my sister and I rode our bikes on country roads and farmland. At 19 I moved to the city and decided a bike would be a fun way to get around. A couple of guys I worked with were mountain bikers and promised to show me the local trails if I opted for knobby tires over slicks. The first ride I was hot on their heals and completely hooked. I literally couldn’t think about anything else for months. We rode together twice a week for years. A few years later I started working at a bike shop and it was all down hill from there.

Why do we as women need to support other women on bikes?

First, I believe that women are the future of a healthier cycling culture in the country. Not only are women the most targeted demographic since men’s cycling trips outnumber women’s 2 to 1, but also because women are change makers. When women rally behind an issue or a movement, things happen. Women are also the greatest influencers of future generations. If a woman is a cyclist, she is much more likely to encourage her children to ride to school. If she sees it isn’t safe for her kids to ride to school, she will do something about it.
The culture of cycling in this country can be very hard, fast and aggressive. This isn’t the message that typically gets a woman out riding for the first time. As nurturers, teachers and mothers, sharing cycling with other women is the best way to see it grow. Besides, its so much more fun to share a ride with a good friend.

Can bikes change the world?

I can’t think of any other thing that has as much potential for change as the bicycle does. Riding a bike keeps kids and adults healthy, it helps us stay connected to our communities and saves money. Riding a bike has much less environmental impact than driving a car. These are just the simple, obvious ways that bikes are better. Riding a bike changes lives. But a bike is just a tool, we still need the engines to keep them rolling. It is people that have to pedal for change.

Who’s your own female cycling hero?

I have so many. Annie Londonderry maybe. Honestly, every woman who chooses to ride a bike is a hero to me. It’s not hard to ride a bike, its fun and it puts a smile on your face, but making the choice to get on and pedal can be a challenge, no matter how far you have to go.

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Over 130 rides in 11 countries will help make CycloFemme a reality. And if there’s not one happening close to you, you can register your own. Can’t ride? Sport one of CycloFemme’s temporary tattoos to show your support. Tattoos are $10 and proceeds benefit Mountain 2 Mountain.

Image: CycloFemme

 

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