Heels On Wheels: How to Get Women to Ride

Cyclofemme Central Arkansas 2012

Cyclofemme Central Arkansas 2012

The League of American Bicyclists website is a treasure trove of information for cyclists and people interested in making our streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.  The largest national advocacy event of the year, the National Bike Summit is coming up March 4-6 in Washington D.C. This year, for the second year in a row, the Summit includes a forum on Women’s Cycling . Why a break out session dedicated to women only? Because when women bike, families bike. When women bike, they tend to get involved in advocacy. When women bike, women and families are healthier. But men make up the majority of both recreational and competitive cyclists. Let’s change that. We have some friends who can help.

Willa Williams is a League Cycling Instructor. She is also employed by Fit2Live NLR. In addition to community health and fitness programs, the Fit2Live team works on helping North Little Rock continue to shine in Central Arkansas’ effort to become  more bike friendly. North Little Rock recently promoted the “3 feet law” for passing cyclists with new billboards and bumper stickers.

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Willa teaches classes on bike maintenance,  traffic safety and encourages others to become League Cycling Instructors as well. Her recent Safety 101 classes have led 15 people to taking the 3 day course to become League Cycling Instructors soon. This will bring Central Arkansas from 4 LCIs to 19, half of them are women.

Bernadette and Willa from North Little Rock Fit2Live demonstrating how to use a balance bike.

Bernadette and Willa from North Little Rock Fit2Live demonstrating how to use a balance bike.

If you’re looking for support learning to use bicycling and outdoor time to increase your fitness, there’s a new business about to take off in Central Arkansas. Local triathlete and soon to be LCI, Marianne Park, has formed Beyond Fit LLC to help women realize their potential by “Making Fitness Fun, One Friend at a Time.” Most of us enjoy exercising in a social forum. She wants to help women get fit while having fun and to encourage them to exercise outside.

Victoria Crumpton, a relatively new cyclist, is interested in helping other women feel more confident riding in groups and in traffic.  She is beginning to organize social rides and is providing a forum for women to talk about cycling via social media through her Facebook Page, Arkansas Heels on Wheels. Check out her page and be watching for the next ride. Victoria and Willa will be hosting a ride from the Arkansas Arts Center on Wednesday, March 13th at 5 PM to the River Market area for dinner, then riding back. This is a social ride but will also be an introduction to bike safety and riding in traffic.

Marianne will be attending the National Bike Summit and Women’s Bicycling Forum as will Willa.  And while they are there we hope they find the time to connect with Cyclofemme and GirlBikeLove founder Sarai Snyder who will be moderating a panel on getting more women into ride events and races. We’re going to claim Sarai as our own since she was born in Arkansas even though she moved away as a baby. Surely Arkansas is in her blood. You may remember Cyclofemme from our ride last year. We will be helping to organize a ride again this year on May 12th.

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We want to empower women to get on two wheels and ride. You can help. Click on the Pledge, print it out, Instagram a photo of you holding the pledge with #iCyclofemme, then come Ride With Us. Or, just hold yourself to the commitment to get a woman you know on a bike this year. Whether you’re a female rider who wants more friends to ride, or you’re a guy who has a girl in your life you would like to ride with, sign the Cyclofemme pledge to Inspire One More Woman to Ride a Bike.

 

 

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