This is a guest post from Bike Fed board member Cassandra Habel, who also runs Spoke Haven
The common questions that comes along with any women’s event is, “Why does it have to be women only?” or “Why do women need their own cycling events?”. If we take a look at research that has been conducted by the League of American Bicyclists and Gluskin Townley we see that there are major gender gaps in activities such as bike commuting.
Only 34% of all bike commuters are women versus male commuters that make up the remaining 66%. Ideally the split should be an even 50/50, which is more common in Europe in bicycling hubs such as the Netherlands.
The gap doesn’t stop at commuting, it is also quite noticeable in the world of bicycle racing as well. At any given local race the men’s field grossly outnumbers the women’s field and in some cases women will have to race against each other en masse, even though their race categories vary from category 4 (beginner) all the way up to cat 1 (professional level). It can be an intimidating feeling having to line up with a competitor who has been racing for several years and it being the start of your own racing career.
Thankfully the cycling industry, bicycle advocates, and race promoters are starting to take notice and are taking action to correct such disparities. The Wisconsin Bike Fed had even launched its own Women & Bicycles program in 2014, modeling itself after the highly successful Washington D.C. program of the same name.
Cyclofemme is an amazing example of how a simple grassroots movement can help change the lives of women across the globe. It is a socially driven event where women plan rides in their local communities and get women out on bikes.
The ride taking place in Madison on Mother’s Day- May 10th. Is open to all women identified individuals and has a no rider left behind policy. The ride will be led by two seasoned cyclists with a marked route, cue sheets (directions), and there will be two distance options.
There will be a 10 mile option where riders can ride to the 5 mile marker, turn around and head back to Capital Brewery (our starting point). The other option is a 20 mile loop that is a bit more challenging. At mile 15 there will be a few hills that are waiting to be climbed or walked up if that’s how they need to be tackled!
On the ride there will also be two additional sweep or caboose riders who will stay at the back of the pack and make sure everyone is accounted for.
The ride will be at a social pace, it is not a race. We have designed it so you can hold a conversation if you so choose. Cyclofemme is a great way to make new friends and many of the ladies participating have been with the ride since it’s inception two years ago!
After the ride will be a fun post party fundraiser at Capital Brewery. For $25 ($15 for Bike Fed Members- check your e-mails for the discount code we sent!) attendees receive a free Cyclofemme commemorative pint glass, a free beer from Capital Brewery, pizza/salad from Roman Candle, a raffle ticket, and music thanks to Saturns 8.
Let’s also not forget to mention the fun mini-expo on site including Chrysalis Hair, Body, & Wellness, Paceline Indoor Cycling, Chainstay Jewelry, Team Luna Chix Madison and more!
The after party is open to EVERYONE and kids under 12 get in FREE. Festivities start at 1pm on May 10th at Capital Brewery on Terrace Avenue in Middleton. All funds raised will benefit the Wisconsin Bike Fed.