Rolling Beyond Barriers with Women's Cycling Group WE Bike NYC
Image c/o WE Bike NYC.
In honor of Women's History Month — and to highlight women's contributions to NYC each and every month — BikeNYC is spotlighting the entrepreneurs, athletes, activists and moms who are helping realize the bike's revolutionary power and growing the ranks of women on bikes, two wheels at a time.
For the second installment of the Women BikeNYC series, T.A. passes the mic to WE Bike NYC: a group that's helping to close the gender gap in the city's bike paths by offering rides, workshops and scholarships which embrace the bike as a healthy, practical and above all fun means of empowering women.
Read on to learn about these leading ladies of NYC bicycling and follow their takeover of T.A.'s Instagram feed from March 26th - 31st.
March is Women’s History Month, a time we emphasize women's contributions through the past and present. But celebrating women – their accomplishments, their influence, their commitment to making the world a better place – isn’t something that should commence and conclude only in March. It’s something WE do every day.
WE Bike NYC (the "WE" stands for women's empowerment) is a volunteer-run organization for women, female-identifying and gender non-conforming people in the New York City area who ride bicycles, or think they might want to ride in the future. While it may sound modern, women using bicycles as a means of empowerment and an agent of cultural change has over a hundred years' precedent: “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel,” said Susan B. Anthony in 1896, a vocal champion for women cyclists.
Advocates of women on bicycles have long recognized how bikes engender freedom, power, mobility, health and happiness. Yet in many places, celebrating and embracing women on bikes is still a novel concept.
WE Bike NYC founder LIz Jose (image: Steven Laxton / Bicycling Magazine).
Seeing the need for a New York City-area group that would embrace these ideals and support a new generation of women riders, founding member Liz Jose coalesced WE Bike NYC a few years back. Thanks to the dedication of an amazing group of leaders, our organization has flourished and continues to grow, helping engage women who are not often seen in the cycling movement.
“It’s not that they are absent, only invisible. From the start, our goal has been to create an inclusive environment that feels comfortable for all types of women," stated Jose. Included in WE Bike NYC's programs are Moms on Wheels, a group that supports mothers and children, and Mujeres en Movimiento, a group of Spanish speakers in Corona, Queens.
WE Bike NYC is committed to breaking down barriers and empowering women through a supportive environment. As part of that objective, our group organizes social rides that don't require any specific equipment and encourage riders to move at their own pace. In honor of Women’s History Month, WE organized a Women History Scavenger Hunt. The Scavenger Hunt is part race and part historical tour through Manhattan, designed to celebrate the contributions of women to our great city, while supporting our work.
Queens-based Mujeres en Movimiento brings together Spanish-speaking women bicyclists (image c/o WE Bike NYC).
"The inspiration for the ride came from bopping around the city and being in awe of the history in our streets. We thought it would be super fun to put together an event that celebrates the incredible work women have done to build and strengthen our communities. And there's no better way to do that then by bike," said ride organizer Kristina Sepúlveda.
The Women's History Scavenger Hunt happens Saturday, March 28. Learn more about the ride and register here. WE are also really excited to take over Transportation Alternative’s Instagram feed to showcase ladies who ride. Follow us there from March 26th - 31st and stay tuned for other women guest curators, continuing through May as part of T.A.'s #WomenBikeNYC series.