Why would we need a forum just for women who bike? I think before we think of anything else we need to really think about that question. What is it that makes biking different for women than men? What is it that makes biking so different for individual women?
We all have such variable reasons for biking. Someone just needs to get from point A to B and someone else wants to take long leisurely rides a few times a week, and others want to bomb around the city. Either way, any one who rides a bicycle at some point finds it necessary to take care of their bike, buy equiptment, and feel confident when they are riding. For women, the experiences surrounding these seemingly mundane concerns can be quite complicated. Thus, we need a forum to discuss and come together to increase our understanding of bicycling needs in all of their diverse forms.
Why only women, you say? If anyone out there is like me, I had never held a wrench until well into my first summer of biking. I'd grown up able to cook a meal for 8 people like it was easy but not used to tools, mechanics, understanding balance or how to keep myself safe on the road. I feel like I never had the chance to really bike due to my own family's culture and a lot of fear about letting a young girl go out alone on her bike. I also didn't have male friends or anyone female who had the adventurous and independent spirit it takes to get on a bike and test the limits. I think this is a pretty common experience!
But once I got on my first bike, my good old Raleigh Rapide with the bent fork and terrible seat, I felt so strong and enjoyed going so fast! And as I determined what I could fix on the bike myself and started finding people who could help me and were into bikes it became a way of life. I also noticed that going to mechanics was intimidating and a lot of times I felt stupid for getting things fixed that I knew I should do myself but just didn't know anything about. I also noticed that most of my friends who were really into biking were dudes.
In the past couple of years, though, there has been such a rapid increase in not only bicycle traffic in general, but especially women on bikes that I think it is past time to come together and think about how our needs are different as cyclists in terms of why we bike, what our expectations are and how we feel about biking.
Event for July 7, 2009!
Do you have questions about how your bike works? More importantly, have questions as to why it doesn't? Want to fix your own bike in a supportive and social environment with other women?
Where: Sunrise Cyclery, 901 W. Lake St.
When: July 7th @ 7pm
Come out for a short ride at 7pm and then from 8-9:30pm we will work on our own bikes, courtesy of Sunrise! Erin and Cali will be there to answer your questions and help you fix those problems that just aren't fixing themselves. This is not a standard curriculum for beginning mechanics- we want to fix the things that you need fixed NOW so riding your bike is safer and more fun!
Everyone is welcome at dusk for an after dark movie in the parking lot behind the shop- Invite your friends, fellow bikers, and anyone who loves bikes to come see "Quicksilver", the penultimate 80's movie about NY messengers!
Keep your eyes open for our flyers posted on http://mplsbikelove.com and around town for this and future events.