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Archive for the ‘2 Wheels & Heels’ Category

The weather for our ride was perfect, the evening of our Halloween Ride.  And to make it complete, my pals from Paradise Garage let me use their awesome Surly to which we strapped a wireless amp to the front and we jammed to music through the streets of Columbus.  Below are just a few of the incredible images that the amazing Jennifer Grimm took of our evening.  Our costume theme was simple:  black skirts and fun, crazy tights!  The girls had a blast and now I’m hooked on having music on every ride :)

Keep riding and be safe.

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A handful of months ago, I was on the bus and my phone rings.  It’s my friend Ruth.  Here’s a summary of that convo:

Ruth:  Hey, what are you doing Oct.11th?

Me:   Volunteering for you, for Tedx.

Ruth:  How would like to be on the other side – speaking?

Me:  Don’t tease me.

Ruth:  I’m not.

Long story short, I spoke at this year’s 5 year anniversary TEDx Columbus on Oct. 11th.  My talk was exactly the subject line of this post.  Women and families are going to be the determining factor in how cities can really gauge if they are thriving bike-friendly cities.  If cities really want to know how bike-friendly they, they need to quit with the surveys and get out onto the corners and start counting how many women are riding bikes.  

Thank you, Ruth for believing in me to speak about my passion.  TEDx has been successfully accomplished.  Next:  TED Talk :)

Be safe and keep riding

Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0afgDTQw2os

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I’m late but I have a good excuse:  grant writing, presentation building for public speaking engagements and…. naps :)

July’s ride was super duper fantastic.  This month’s ride supported the one and only – Grass Skirt Tiki Room.  Easily 40+ women showed up on a glorious evening for our ride.  We slow biked from Grass Skirt and explored the Bexley neighborhood and it was one of the prettiest rides we went on.  The evening temperature was perfect and the Bexley streets were so quiet and filled with beautiful landscapes and extroardinary homes.  We made our way back by biking through Franklin Park Conservatory, Olde Towne, East, Downtown, and ending at Grass Skirt.

This random route was some of the ladies favorite thus far.  Among the wonderful comments of the evening, I received one that really stuck out.  One woman said she loved my rides b/c she gets to see neighborhoods she’s never been to nor biked through.  She loves seeing all the personalities of the neighborhoods on bike.  I loved hearing that b/c I always wonder if the ladies are enjoying the routes :)  The bicycle is so awesome in so many ways.  Bringing diverse women together, building women’s confidence to ride more frequently.  Creating friendships.  Exploring neighborhoods and getting a taste of local businesses they may never have heard of and now would go back and support :)

This is a good transition into another reason why my ride always supports 1-2 local businesses.  We still live in the mind frame where a car parked out front of a business means economic impact.  I want these businesses to have that light bulb go off and see that 16 bike riders parked in a parking spot brings a business more money and from a visual perspective, it adds life in front of that business and it peaks spectators interest who are driving past as well.  We need to let go of this idea that parking is ‘end all be all’ of businesses succeeding.  It can also help ease concerns from business owners should a nearby street be redesigned with bicycle facilities.  Any interest in joining this incredibile and diverse group of women on bikes, shoot me an email :)

Enjoy the beautiful pics taken by the lovely and awesome Jennifer Grimm

Be safe and keep riding

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ride 22 wheels & heels july ride ride 3

 

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We had a fantastic evening ride last night.  We began at Camelot Cellars (thanks, Janine) for our ‘meet & greet.’  As we rounded up, I walk outside and look to both my left and right and bikes were locked up to meters, trees, you name up; up and down the entire block.  It was a beautiful sight!

We rode about 9 miles and through a variety of neighborhoods.  As we were biking east on Long St. I stopped and counted 51 women riders.  I’m really excited to watch the ride continue to grow throughout the summer and beyond.

Enjoy!

Be safe and keep riding

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About eight months ago, I had my two friends Mimi Webb and Jeannie Martin join me for a beer so that I could present them with an idea.  I went to California the end of last summer for two separate Bicycle Conferences.  At both conferences, there were specific ‘women forums’ to continue to forward efforts of increasing women ridership here in the U.S.  Leaving California, I was both inspired and new what I had to do in Ohio.  Fast forward to the evening with Mimi and Jeannie.  I told them I planned to organize the first statewide ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit’ and would they be interested in joining me in this effort.  Immediately, they said ‘hell yes!”  So, for eight months, Jeannie, Mimi, and myself met and planned out this Summit.

Interest and excitement generated, immediately.  Our main sponsors, ROLL and Trek were absolutely incredible.  Then, Detroit’s ‘Autobike’ got in touch with us.  ARC Imaging donated printing costs for us.  And last but not least, food trucks!  OH! Burgers! and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams sponsored and killed it during lunch time :)  Green Bean Delivery covered all of the yummy fruits during the Summit.  Thank you to all the talented and incredible speakers:  Lisa Hinson, Tammy Krings, Marjorie Shavers, Lindsay Sherman, Lindsey Bower, Emily Burnett, Ohio’s First Lady Karen Kasich, Julie Walcoff, and Rep. Teresa Fedor.

72 women from around the state of Ohio and two women from Indiana.  The overwhelming positive responses from both the attendees and the presenters was absolutely amazing.  The Summit ran without any huge hiccups.  Women were learning, asking questions, laughing, meeting new women, and just enjoying themselves.

I’m grateful for such an amazing first Summit.  This will turn into an annual event.  My main focus is making our city inviting and safe to more modes of transportation.  Men, women, and children deserve ‘choice’ to be able to move about our cities and feel safe doing so.  Us advocates can provide the education; can organize bike rides to build confidence; but there are other components in making people feel that ‘choice,’ in moving around is priority:  political will and infrastructure.  Our wide, arterial streets need to be road dieted and designed with protected bike lanes.  The perception of safety is what I feel a lot of our engineers are missing.  I’ll say it until the light bulb goes off, ‘sharrows do not invite families to ride and feel safe on arterial streets that are four + lanes across and each lane 12+ wide.  Road diets, the narrowing of lanes, and an integrated bicycle network of green lanes, protected lanes, bike boxes, etc. will announce that our leaders are serious about inviting people of all ages to move around the city.  Our leaders making decisions need to be okay with hearing complaints instead of trying to please everyone.  When you create change, you’re gonna hear complaints but the only way to change behavior is to change the infrastructure.  You’re NOT changing the infrastructure when you lay down sharrows.

We have a long way to go and we’re doing better but…  we could be doing even MORE.  We can be building and piloting innovative and bold infrastructure that IS WORKING in other cities.  If we continue to remain status- quo as a city, we’ll continue to get left behind.

Some photos from the first ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit.’

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Be safe and keep riding!

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I’ve been sexually harassed, I’ve had a water bottle thrown at me, I’ve been driven off the road, I’ve been hit, I’ve been door’d, I’ve been cut off and this past weekend, I can add that my life was threatened-verbally.  I was riding east on Gay St. with a friend.  Gay St. is a two-way street; one travel lane in each direction and I maintained my lane.  A pick-up truck behind me was revving his engine; speeding up and slowing down to get my attention and probably to get me to move to the right but I had no intention b/c I had every right to maintain the lane.  At the red light, he sped up beside me, proceeded to spit on me and said I should ‘share the fucking road.’  I said, ‘how do I do that, I am legally allowed to take this ONLY lane?!’  He continued to be antagonistic, wanting me to ‘hit’ him.  I said, ‘I’m not going to hit you.’  He said, ‘I’ll end your life, you white bitch.’

A few more words were exchanged, the light turned green and since he was finally ahead of me, he was able to again maintain his driving cadence of 25 mph as oppose to my 15 mph.

I got home and couldn’t shake this particular instance.  I’ve had ppl intimidate me with their cars and I’ve never had anyone verbally threaten that they’d end my life.’  I rang a friend of mine who really helped me put this situation into perspective.  I could have handled the situation differently and I was beating myself up for it.  But, my friend told me that that person was my teacher – teaching me how I can improve myself the next time b/c there WILL,  inevitably be a next time.  Thank you, JLa.

I’ve written a ‘Will’ in case I die and its b/c I ride a bike.  How many drivers have written a ‘Will’ b/c they drive a car?  I bet I could gamble and say ‘not a whole lot.’  I constantly think and obsess over WHY, we are in such hurries that when we are slowed down, it infuriates us.  Why, as drivers, when we are slowed down, we have such anger and violence within us that we want to kill, intimidate, drive off the road, spit and harass.  How did we become so disconnected with each other and we don’t see the ‘human being’ component.

I am a daughter, a twin sister, an aunt, a cousin, a best friend, a human being.  When did we as human beings become so transparent that our destinations became more important than the safety of human life?  You’re wanting to END MY LIFE b/c I slowed you down for less than two minutes?  Let’s take a moment and really digest that sentence b/c that’s what I deal with on a regular basis.

Why is it drivers have more patience for school buses or public transportation buses when they make frequent stops yet they are ready to cut off and /or harass a person on a bicycle?  What is the difference?  The operator in any of these mode of transport is still a human being so why the fortitude with one and not the other?

Our streets began with people owning the streets – not cars.  Now, driving has become such a part of our DNA that this sense of entitlement and ownership has taken over our streets and our neighborhoods to where people will kill over it.

I’m willing to die in order to change this mentality.  I have been brought up to be a leader, not a follower.  Streets are suppose to be mini theaters- acting out life experiences and this can’t happen when cars control streets.  Families should want to take their kids on walks after dinner.  Families should want to sit on their front porch or stoop and talk to neighbors about how ridiculous ‘Honey Boo-Boo’ really is.  Nobody wants to do this when their front yards are three lanes wide and cars speeding at 40 mph.

I look forward to the day when we realize that some congestion isn’t always a bad thing and that life WILL NOT END if you have to slow down.  I look forward to the day when more people see change as a good thing and not fear it and react recklessly.

 

 

 

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So, back in November, I organized my monthly ’2 Wheels’ night to be a basic mechanics evening.  Ladies were very interested and asked if I could set something up and of course I did.  It was a super successful evening at Paradise Garage.  Emily Burnett and Sarah Elizabeth were fantastic in teaching the ladies the basics about their bicycles.

Well, post holidays, I received requests about another basic mechanics evening since folks missed the first one as well as folks just learning so much from the first one – they wanted another.

So this time, Trek Bicycle Store off of Lane Ave hosted us.

42 women showed up last night.  Women ranging from 11 yrs old to 50′s and older.  Numerous ethnic backgrounds and riding abilities.  All women wanting to know best practices, the ‘dos’ and ‘don’t’s’ when riding your bike.  Trek’s Raeda and Rhonda took the ladies through the basics of changing a flat, shifting gears, lubing your chain, cleaning your bike due to weather, riding clothing, as well as a few safety tips.  I’m very conscious of ending these events around 9pm.  We’re women and we have numerous responsibilities let alone, we seem to always over extend ourselves.  Well, last night women were asking such wonderful questions that even after the event, women stayed to continue to ask questions.

This kind of an environment was so humbling to be a part of.  It was comfortable, and nobody felt foolish when asking their questions.  The environment and the experiences that took place last night are exactly why I do this.  There IS a need for empowering women and providing women with these kinds of environments so they can build their confidence to ride more.

I feel like women left last night really excited about what they learned and about what’s to come for Women on Bikes -2013 in Columbus.  I look forward to weather being beautiful and the ’2 Wheels & Heels’ ride being out of control, over populated with women coming from all over wanting to become more confident in their riding.

Women make up over 85% of the decision making within families today.  We are the majority when it comes to volunteering in our communities as well as when it comes to taking our kids to school.  If women are confident and excited about riding their bikes, its going to be that much easier to funnel that excitement to their kids.  The bike needs to be ‘normalized’ and women will be the one’s to do this.

Enjoy the photos from last night’s mechanics.  Thanks again to Trek Bicycle Store of Lane Ave.  If you’re a fb user, be sure to search ’2 Wheels & Heels’ and ‘LIKE’ us.  Also, search for ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit’ as myself and two other colleagues are organizing the first statewide women’s bicycling summit – here in Columbus, Ohio.

Be safe and keep riding.

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One of the handful of phrases a bunch of us learned last night at the ’2 Wheels & Heels’ Columbus Ladies Night.  Last night, I organized this month’s ’2 Wheels’ event at Paradise Garage.  A handful of ladies have brought up how much they would love to learn more about their bikes.  So, with winter surely upon us, why not learn the basics about your bike so that you can be prepared and as safe as possible.

Emily and Sara of Paradise Garage were pumped to educate these women.  Immediately, when I walked into the shop, I felt comfortable and welcomed as I always do at Paradise.  Women of all ages and backgrounds started showing up and the ‘meet and greet’ hour began.  Right around seven, twelve of us women went into the back repair area where chairs and pairs of tire levers were laid out for all of us.  The backroom setup was immediately inviting and it made me even more eager for the education session to begin.

The 1.5 hr session went through everything from PSI pressure, to brake pads, to chain lube, frayed cables, to learning how to fix a flat.  Fantastic questions were asked throughout the entire session.  I would look around and see women taking notes and being completely focused on what Emily or Sara were saying.

After the session, the girls changed a few flats and realized how easy it is to take the back wheel off if you have your chain in the smallest ring :)  It was such an empowering evening for everyone and again, SUCH a comfortable and inviting environment.  If all bike shops provided this type of comfortable and relaxed feel, women feeling intimidated when in bike shops would be minuscule.

Last night was another absolute pleasure.  Enjoy these incredible and empowering pictures.

Be safe and keep riding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So, the weather has been a bit of a roller coaster for us.  I personally love it that its mid – high 50′s during these months.  It makes winter less ‘meh’ for me.  Every year I think I say, ‘I need to move’ and each year its been staying milder and milder so we’ll see.

Anywho, through out the awesome rides we’ve done, I’ve asked a handful of ladies if they’d appreciate a ‘basic mechanics’ class and each of them RAVED.  So, before winter DOES hit (if it does), I thought it would be swell to hold a little class for ladies to get to know their bicycles a little more.  Like I always say ‘knowledge is power.’

This Wed. we’ll convene at the lovely Paradise Garage in the Short North where I asked a couple of my favorite bicycle ladies to teach the ladies a thing or two.  We’ll meet at our usual time – 6pm at Paradise Garage.  You can bring your bike or not.  There is a parking lot just South of Paradise Garage as well.

If you have any questions, shoot me an email.  My email address is found under the ‘About’ tab of my blog.

Be safe and keep riding!

New air pumps have been installed at certain bike shelters around Cbus.  I LOVE it.

 

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Opinions are like assholes – everyone has one.  When it comes to bicycle infrastructure, assholes seem to be the reigning force.  I, of course have my opinions as well.  However, a big deal for me when I discuss my ‘opinions’ is that I do the research first.  I ride the current topic of infrastructure discussion instead of just ‘winging’ it.  I’ll go to that area, ride around, sit and look at human interactions with that area, desire lines, parking, signage, lighting, speeding, speeding, and speeding.  Once, I’ve finished my research, I’ll make my conclusions and give my ‘opinion.’  I’d rather give you m opinion based on actual experience than sitting behind a desk and thinking I know what I’m talking about b/c I live in the next neighborhood over and drive through it everyday.

Change is the number one constant in life.  People HATE change.  People get really sensitive when you come into their neighborhoods advocating for better streets; safer and slower streets.  I’m car-free and so are many of my friends and more and more are choosing to take this way of life.  I can’t live in all neighborhoods but I sure as hell bicycle through many of them.

I don’t think I need to remind anyone who reads this that we have an obesity issue here in our city; adults AND kids.  When it comes to playing outside, its night and day difference when I was young.  Its sad.  I work with youth therefore, I’m attending Elementary Schools and Middle Schools regularly and there are days I’ll get home and just become a pile of sadness b/c of how overweight some third grader is and they are already getting their fair share of fellow student heckling.

Our streets in our neighborhoods need to be updated so families and kids can feel safe playing and WANT to be outside.  Bicycle infrastructure helps.

If you all have been asleep with regards to what I’m passionate about, open your eyes and read this:  I’m passionate about making our streets enjoyable, slower, and safer in order for more families and women to feel confident enough to make the choice to ride their bikes to the YMCA instead of driving (arbitrary destination I chose).

Engineers still design roads in the mindset of men, why – b/c most engineers ARE men.  Another profession still heavily dominated by men.  We need to alter that to where they are thinking:  Will my grandmother feel safe riding this street to get to church?  Can Molly take her two kids on this street to get to Magic Mountain?  8 to 80 – the age range that engineers need to have burned in their brains when redesigning streets.

So…..  along with my bigger ’2 Wheels & Heels’ ladies ride, I’ve come up with another more intimate ride.  Lots of new infrastructure is being built here in Columbus and a lot MORE will be popping up -very soon.  I thought a good idea would be to take small and intimate groups of women to experience the new infrastructure around town.  I take them there, we ride and then at the end we discuss.  They discuss.  They tell me how THEY feel – as mothers, as sisters, as grandmothers – as WOMEN.  I actually write up their experience as detailed as I remember and submit them to our city engineers which they HIGHLY appreciate.

This recent ride was experiencing the newly built and very contested Tamarack Circle roundabout bike lanes.  Residents are saying that congestion is happening b/c a travel lane has been removed in order to have a dedicated bike lane built.

I’m from this area, I was raised on the north side of town.  When the new infrastructure was built, my mum drove me over here so that I could see it.  Again, driving next to it and actually experiencing it – two different animals.

So, this past Tuesday, myself and four other women were able to make time and ride over to the area to get a feel of this new infrastructure.  We parked at the YMCA and rode down the new lanes on Sandalwood and then took our time and rode the roundabout. The final result in our evening was overwhelmingly unanimous.  The ladies were extremely pleased with the infrastructure.  The bike lanes were a comfortable six feet in width.  There is a buffer throughout the roundabout that separates the parked cars from the bicycle lane.  That buffer is a comfortable six feet.  This gives not only the person on a bike comfort that they won’t be door’d but it gives peace of mind to the driver who gets out of their car as they have ample room to get out and not immediately be in the bike lane and worry about any conflicts.  The cars were courteous.  They slowed and yielded to us when they needed to make any right turns.

I think the successor of the evening was the buffer.  Normally, you see three feet buffers between parked car lanes, bike lanes, and / or travel lanes so have six feet of buffer was like riding on puffy clouds.  Buffers give off that extra sense of safety that so many folks are looking for.  Again, this isn’t just directed towards people on bikes, its directed towards the drivers exiting / entering their cars as well. The drivers who need to keep their door open to strap in their child to the backseat child seat.  Even with three foot buffers (which is about the length of a car door) they don’t need to feel rushed in order to not impede a bike lane.

We all rode with leisure.  We rode slow, with no feeling of having to ‘hurry up’ for the cars behind us.  I rode with my hand in my back pocket.  We took our time and laughed.  When you create streets in which people riding bikes can ENJOY, that street then becomes a  destination.  And yes, the street will be the destination and not a ‘pass through.’  That’s what makes city streets come alive – when you make the streets themselves a destination place of their own.

Be safe and keep riding

The lovely ladies who joined me.  Thank you

 

Shot of the six foot wide bike lane down Sandalwood.  ROOMY

 

Clearly marked.  Proper boundary width.

 

Entering Tamarack roundabout

 

You can see above the parking lane and the six foot wide buffer and the bike lane.

 

We all pulled over and discussed how we were feeling and now we’re hoppin’ back on our bikes.

 

 

A shot of the girls with a car next to them.

 

Six foot bike lane with the buffer to the right

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