A wonderful tool for building confidence, friendship, and strength, cycling is an empowering endeavour for anyone who climbs into the saddle. Unfortunately, as is the case in many other athletic, professional, and social environments, women continue to be underrepresented in cycling. Although as a society, we largely acknowledge that all people are equally entitled to ride a bike, it is simply a fact that the undoing of historic and cultural norms takes time.
Thankfully, many organisations are working hard to remedy this lack and become part of the solution. Whether you’re looking to support or join an organisation, get inspiration to start your own or simply learn about some of the wonderful people working to promote women’s cycling – here are just a few of our favourites.
The Amy D Foundation
A U23 National Champion in road, mountain, and cyclocross, Amy Dombroski was only 26 when she tragically died while training in Belgium. A rising star in the cycling community, despite the fact that her career was cut short, Amy nevertheless touched the hearts of many in her short but full life. Inspired to continue to share her love of cycling, the Amy D Foundation was created in her memory.
Encouraging and supporting young women through cycling, the foundation now works to promote the sport and help women cyclists pursue their dreams, offering support for mountain bikers, road cyclists, and cyclocross. Although their 2020 events are currently postponed, they’re maintaining an active social media presence promoting women riders and posting everything from training advice to recipes for pre/post-ride treats.
Black Girls Do Bike
With the tagline “It’s like a pep rally for black girls on bikes,” BGDB is dedicated to growing and supporting women who share a passion for cycling. Although they champion efforts to introduce the joy of cycling to all women, they address the fact that cycling continues to have a significant diversity problem by focusing their effort on women and girls of colour.
They have built a comfortable place where women cyclists can offer support, advice, organize meetups/rides and promote skill-sharing. As a means of transportation, self-care, and ultimate empowerment, they’re committed to getting more women on bikes. All about advocacy, education, and safety, they’ve been hosting many virtual events over the last several months and are committed to doing so until we can all take to the roads together again.
Little Bellas is a mountain bike organisation whose goal is to help young women realize their potential through cycling. Sisters Lea and Sabra grew up in Vermont loving the outdoors and knew they wanted to share this experience with other young women. Their passion project has grown into an established organisation that brings together girls ages 7 to 16 with female mentors. Little Bellas programs use mountain biking as a vehicle to teach the importance of teamwork, goal setting, and fostering a healthy lifestyle.
They run both weekly summer sessions and multi-day camps that are all built around improving skills and participating in teambuilding activities. With an emphasis on making friends and having fun, they hope to establish a positive association with cycling and help to cultivate confidence in young girls from an early age.
Get Women Cycling
With the mission to elevate and sustain female bicycle ridership through engagement, education and service reform, GWC provides members with the services, education, and support they need to get riding and to keep riding. Based in New York City, they offer consultations, repair assistance, safety demonstrations, and educational workshops. They also organize and lead guided bicycle rides to give new cyclists the opportunity to meet other riders and discover new neighbourhood destinations.
For those of you in need of assistance with your bike commutes call our toll free number (888) 632-3435 for 1:1 help with bicycle and accessory purchases, maintenance/repair knowledge, street safety tips #AloneTogether #FlattenTheCurve @NYC_DOT @TransAlt @StreetsPAC
— GetWomenCycling (@GetWomenCycling) March 21, 2020
Focused on empowering and educating commuters, they’ve built a presence rooted in conversation generation, activism, and policy change. In addition to getting more women on bikes, they’re working towards making transit safer and more efficient for all.
Cycling without age
Although Cycling Without Age is not an organisation exclusively for women, they deserve a special mention for the wonderful work they do. A grassroots initiative to help give more elderly people the opportunity to ride bikes, they believe that everyone has “the right to wind in your hair” and they’ve made a huge difference for many women and men in communities around the world.
Looking for a way to help elders get back on their bicycles despite having limited mobility, CWA uses trishaws and a volunteer network to connect cyclists with local nursing homes. They now have more than 33,000 pilots helping to ensure that the elderly get out of their nursing homes and out on bikes to enjoy the fresh air and the community around them.
Of course, these are just a few of the many organisations that are helping to get more women on bikes. There are hundreds of local grassroots events, organisations, campaigns, and clubs that are dedicated to giving any woman who wants to the opportunity to ride. Everyone deserves the chance to discover the joy of cycling and we’re always on the lookout for people finding new ways to help make that happen.