I have a dream that women will take to the streets on two wheels wearing skirts or jeans. They will wear pretty shirts and long flowing scarves and carry loaves of French bread and fresh flowers in a basket on the front of their bikes. They will pull trailers full of sweet babies and teach their young ones to ride to school. I also dream that at the next criterium or mountain bike race I go to, the women won’t be so much in the minority. I wonder if maybe those dreams are the same? Women start riding for fun or function while gaining the confidence to move on to racing.
There is a new group forming in the Little Rock Metro area hoping to encourage women of all skill levels to gather and ride for fun and companionship. By doing so, there is a hope that new friendships will form, women will find training partners who are willing to lend their expertise and those of like mind and skill level might find more women with whom to ride.
On Wednesday March 13th, a group of eleven women met in a downtown parking lot for a very short ride to sit down, enjoy a meal, and to discuss how we can help women’s cycling in Arkansas. The group ranged from a long time bike commuter to an experienced triathlete, a mountain biking and cyclocross phenom to a woman who just bought a new bike. We also had two League Cycling Instructors to give an intro to safe riding in traffic. Safety is one of the issues many women cite as a deterrent from riding city streets. This group hopes to change that by helping women become more comfortable riding with traffic.
What is planned for the future of Arkansas Heels on Wheels?
Organized social rides: riding to dinner, brunch, or museum outings. Riding in neighborhoods to improve safety skills and as public relations, showing our neighbors that riding a bike for transportation and fun is possible! Training rides for events, such as charity fundraising rides, that we might participate in as a group. Skill building rides for those who want to try something new or to improve skill and speed.