Why does it matter if women ride bikes? Because I firmly believe women are the future of cycling. Why do I think you should ride? For a whole host of reasons, chief among them, because it’s fun. It takes you places—new and unexpected places—places you would never dream of going on foot or via automobile. Riding makes you feel good—really, really good. (It’s called an endorphin “high” for a reason.) It makes a healthier you—a benefit for not only you, but for your loved ones as well. And finally, because you can!
Why is it important to bolster the ranks of women riders? Common sense informs us of the incredible impact cycling can have on our health, our communities and our environment. Simply put, biking makes the world at large a better place. Women are natural influencers. The more women are comfortable with riding and understanding the health and environmental benefits of riding, the more women will pass cycling on to others… especially their families. Women who ride bikes are going to teach their children, their friends, and their friends’ children that cycling is important. Women who ride are going to encourage children to bike to school, thereby creating the next generation of bicycle commuters. When women see that the roads aren’t safe for children to ride, they’re going to do something about it. Do you know that women are inherently great advocates? Invite a woman out on a ride and the first thing she’ll do is ask her friend to come along. Invite two women out for a ride and you’ll have an amazing group ride. Invite a dozen women out for a ride and you may have to close the trails/streets because it just might get a little crowded. By engaging women in biking we have an amazing opportunity for impact. Women can aid in building strong cycling communities, with a very real potential to grow into a cycling nation. From these communities–this cycling nation–we can expect a dramatic improvement in society’s overall health and wellbeing, a greater connection to the places and people around us, and thereby, an inherently positive impact on not only our own little world, but the world at large.
Why not encourage a friend to come along for a ride? You might even suggest she bring her kids along too. I’m not referring to road racing or aggressive mountain biking of course, but riding for fun or transportation—to get from point A to point B. Get involved in your local biking community. I don’t know if it’s the endorphin rush that envelopes riders or what, but folks who ride bikes are positively the nicest people. And whatever you do, make certain you strike up a genuine and meaningful relationship with your local bike shop (LBS). Believe me when I say you’re going to need them. And if you ride like our family rides, you’re going to need your LBS A LOT. Get to know the shop’s owners and employees. They are vital to your bike’s (and thereby your) health. And, when (not if) they do you a solid, bring them some pizza and/or a couple of six-packs of fine IPA. Everyone likes to know they’re appreciated, and they’ll love you for it. And finally, if you have an opportunity to attend a repair clinic, please set aside the time to do it. Not everyone should know how to overhaul their entire bicycle, but it makes sense to know how to do minor adjustments and fixes, including repairing a flat tire. It’s also a good opportunity to meet likeminded riders, use tools and ask questions.
You can thank me later.