In 2009, women accounted for just 24 percent of all bike trips in the U.S., but a groundswell of local and national efforts is working to close the gender gap in bicycling in communities across the country.
To seed and support this growing momentum to encourage women from all backgrounds to become engaged in bicycling and the bike movement, the League of American Bicyclists’ Women Bike program has awarded $7,500 in small grants to innovative, model campaigns in four cities.
WE Bike NYC: Engaging Latina Women Through Bilingual Outreach and Resources. $2,000
Breaking down barriers for women cyclists, WE Bike NYC realizes the importance of creating a space where new riders feel welcome and understood. "Engaging Latina women is done by creating accessible resources where these women can literally and figuratively see themselves—or people who look like them," says Liz Jose, a bilingual organizer and founder of the group.
"Our goal with this grant is to create outreach and educational materials in print and online that encourage Latina women to join the bicycle movement. By compiling existing Spanish language resources as well as creating new, downloadable documents, the work created under this grant will create a model for language inclusiveness for groups across the country, as well as materials such as a Spanish-language ‘Fix-A-Flat’ book featuring Latina women and a Spanish-language ‘Club Pack’ that can be used to begin work in local communities."
Women Bike PHL (Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia): Girl Scouts on Wheels. $1,500
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s Women Bike PHL campaign is working to get more women and girls on bikes in Philadelphia. Their innovative "Girl Scouts on Wheels" project is developing and promoting a Biking Basics patch, as well as offering Bike Rodeos and Learn-to-Ride classes to Girl Scout troops. "I was a Girl Scout for 10 years, and know from experience what a positive impact that organization has on youth," says Katie Monroe, Women Bike PHL coordinator.
"If we’re serious about getting more women riding, we need to start young—and Girl Scouts seems like the perfect platform for educating and inspiring girls to get pedaling. It’s also a powerful national network, so ideally this partnership between bike advocates and Girl Scouts could be replicated around the country." Learn more about Women Bike PHL.
We Are All Mechanics: Scholarship Program. $1,500
A women-owned and operated initiative since 2003, We are All Mechanics has been teaching bicycle maintenance courses to women in the Madison-area community for 10 years. The grant from the League will enable us to offer scholarships to women who would otherwise not be able to participate in our Basic Bicycle Maintenance Course," says Ali Dwyer, a co-founder of WAAM.
"Participants in our Basic Course report that they are excited to share what they know with others, and they report riding more often, for more reasons, and with more confidence after taking our course.Our successful program, and our original materials will serve as a model for other programs and bicycle educators."
Marin County Bicycle Coalition: Women on Wheels in Spanish. $2,500 (Special Smart Cycling grant)
Marin County Bicycle Coalition’s Women on Wheels was developed in 2011 to provide classes for women to ride together and provide other shared information. "The classes are designed to help women gain the confidence and skills they need to ride a bicycle for errands, to get their children to school or for recreation," says MCBC’s Wendi Kallins.
"With this grant, we’ll be able to offer these classes in the low income, predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of the Canal area of San Rafael – and make the curriculum for Spanish-speaking women available to other communities around the country."
Learn more about Women Bike at bikeleague.org/womenbike.