“I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by . . .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.” Susan B. Anthony
Let’s talk about Chicks, man. Chicks that cycle. I’m a chick, I cycle some, and I always see other chicks out there pedaling too. But if we are riding in a group, we are typically riding co-ed. Every once in a while I see a few women riding together but more often I see couples or co-ed group rides. I admit it; I’m one of those “couples” riders. I don’t get to ride as often as I’d like and to keep cycling from interfering with or taking time away from my marriage, I choose to use cycling as time to fit the workout in without sacrificing bonding time with my husband. Would I ride with a bunch of chicks if I could find a regular group? Yes.
Willa Williams, a League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor and North Little Rock’s Fit2School program coordinator and Aly Signorelli from the Little Rock Bicycle Friendly Committee and organizer of the Central Arkansas Bike Fair have joined forces to bring ladies together for lessons in bike maintenance in a boy free environment. Sometimes we ladies tend to shy away from the mechanical end of things, especially if there are men around. This is a great way to get your hands dirty (literally) with a group of like minded women. The first class of 12 women met at River Trail Rentals on Tuesday August 7th from 7-9 p.m. After a lesson in bike vocabulary, parts and components, we were given instruction on how to repair a flat tire.
Some of us have never had reason or opportunity to fix a flat but it is one of the most common mishaps out on the trails and roads so it’s important to be able to take care of it yourself and to have all the right tools.Tools won’t be a problem for any of the attendees. We were each given a giftbag with a multitool, a patch kit and a tire lever.
We all had a chance to take at least one tire off our bikes and change a flat tube out. This led to a lot of greasy hands and sometimes a group effort to get tires back on. While we snacked on food that some attendees brought to share, we talked about how to take care of our bikes after riding. Specifically washing the bike and lubing the chain. I think everyone learned something, even the veteran riders in attendance.
If you would like to attend one of the women only bike maintenance classes there are more coming up on Friday August 24th (location to be determined) from 7-9 p.m. and on Tuesday September 11th (location to be determined) from 7-9 p.m. There will also be another chance to take part during the first Central Arkansas Bike Fair on September 30th at the River Market Pavilion in Little Rock. If you would like to participate the cost is $20 and a reservation is necessary. Please email Aly Signorelli at firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations and more information.
The schedule for the Bike Fair, another cooperative effort by committees, government programs and cycling advocates from around Central Arkansas, is still under construction so be watching here on Arkansas Outside and on their facebook page for information. We’ll be there and we hope you’ll come by.
Willa will also be teaching a co-ed Bicycle Skills 123 class during the Bike Fair from 1:30-3:30 p.m. This class is co-ed and designed for adult cyclists.
If you need practice navigating your bike in traffic, programs sponsored by the North Little Rock Fit 2 Live will provide classroom style online training followed by on the road skills training. The class Traffic Skills 1o1 is available online. Road skills classes will be available on Saturday August 25th, a program just for women on Saturday September 22nd, and a class for those interested in becoming League Cycling Instructors on Saturday October 27th. All classes will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The road skills class begins with breakfast at the Argenta Market followed by parking lot drills then traveling the trails and roads in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock ending with lunch or a snack during a course review session. For more information you can contact Willa at email@example.com or at 501-350-7682.