Celebrating Women's Bike Month
By Jenee Malloy, Graduate Assistant, NYU Rudin Center for Transportation
In honor of Citi Bike’s Women’s Bike Month this September, I decided to celebrate by finding women who bike, and get their advice on cycling in NYC. I jumped into a women’s group ride hosted by Get Women Cycling (GWC), an organization to encourage, grow and sustain female ridership. GWC hosts group rides and educational workshops and ensures that they have the tools and confidence to navigate the city on two wheels. After reading up on the organization, I was eager to attend the event and meet some of the ladies in person.
I met up with the GWC Happy Hour at Veselka, a bicycle friendly Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village. Angela Azzolino, the Executive Director of Get Women Cycling; member and group ride leader Clara, her sister Maria, and another GWC member, Judy answered a few questions about cycling in New York.
What do you love most about cycling in NYC?
All - Being outdoors and getting fresh air. When you are on a bike you get a different point of view of the city.
Judy - It’s just a faster way to travel. I don’t have to deal with getting stuck on the train.
Clara - There is a lot of flexibility and freedom on a bike.
Do you commute to work by bike? If so, what is your technique or routine?
Clara - Yes, I get everything ready the night before. I bring a change of clothes/shoes and wipes for when I arrive at the office.
What is the worst part about cycling in NYC?
All - Distracted drivers! No matter what you do or wear to be seen, drivers always claim they didn’t see you.
What are some tips you have for women who bike?
Judy - Try to be proactive and do everything to be seen by cars. Talk to the driver, signal, thank them, and communicate because they always claim they don’t see you out there - make it easy for them to not hit you.
Angela - For women already cycling, I would say don’t stop. Speak out about it and be a role model for other women cycling. Understand the influence that you have as a female cyclist. For women with an interest in cycling, I would say don’t let inhibition or fear stop you. You don’t have to have the perfect bike, special clothes, or be afraid to ride around cars.
Maria - Visibility is so important. Be sure to wear reflectors, vests and use lights
Following the happy hour, we prepared for the group ride at NYC Velo, and several more riders joined us. The ride led to the main attraction of the night, a production of The Curly Monologues. This show featured 12 women performing self-written monologues about personal stories, hair journeys, and unique life experiences. Each story explores what makes us human and ways of celebrating individuality.
The ride itself was brief but fun. I was thrilled to learn about a progressive and inspiring organization while meeting some awesome women in the community. Personally, I could not think of any better way to wrap up this year’s second annual Women’s Bike Month.
So, from all of us at the Rudin Center, we celebrate and encourage all the current and future #WomenWhoBike!