This Saturday, the 2nd Annual ‘OWBS’ will take place at the awesome Strongwater Food & Spirits event space. Two years ago, I was at a bike advocate conference in Long Beach. At this conference we held a ‘Women’s Forum’ discussing ways in which we can engage more women in the U.S. and Canada to ride bikes. Currently, women commuting on bikes only make up just over 25%. Some women feel intimidated b/c they rarely see others ‘like them’ riding. Some may want to ride but they aren’t sure where or how to begin. Some want to be educated more. Some fear of being harrassed. This list can go on. So, during this ‘Women’s Forum’ in Long Beach, we all started to shout out our goals once we’d return to our home base. My pledge, ‘I will organize the first statewide ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit’ in 2013!’ With some help from co-organizers Jeannie and Mimi, we made this happen. Over 70 women from around Ohio (and two from Indiana) and nine presenters attended and presented at the ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit.’
In my opinion, it was very well received. We got great feedback to where this Saturdays’ Summit, all of the topics are based upon what the attendees wanted to hear more about or become more educated in. I worked extremely hard of the financial sponsors for this years Summit. We have over 14 sponsors who believe in our mission and understand that when more women ride, the ripple effect of kids, families as a whole, happens. This Summit does not exclude men. Men are more than welcome to join us (we have a gentleman speaker) this Saturday, however, it is women-specific. Why? Because there is still a disparity out there. There are still many women who better identify when hearing similar experiences…from a woman instead of a man. You don’t hear very often men being sexually harrassed while riding their bike or that some women have unfortunately been the victim of men actually driving by and touching them and slapping them. These are two examples I’ve just recentlly heard.
This past Saturday, myself and fellow bicycle enthusiast Marjorie Shavers were asked to speak at Bike Indy’s Summit. Our topic: Engaging Women. We had a wonderful discussion and what I really appreciated was how many men stayed and were actively involved in this particular topic. Men from the bike shop world to engineers to husbands and fathers. They understand the importance of having more women be seen riding bikes and what that says about your city.
Do I want more people to ride, collectively? Heck yes! I know what riding a bike does to one’s life. Do I want a platform for women to come together to hear about best practices, hear stories, meet others with similar situations – absolutely. Women empower one another. There’s a ripple effect that happens when women build upon each other’s strengths and experiences. If you’re interested in joining us at the 2nd Annual ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit,’ you can register here: http://bikecleveland.memberlodge.org/events. Consider biking has partnered with BikeCleveland this year for our registration so don’t get confused with the link :) Thank you, BikeCleveland!
Quick details: 2nd Annual ‘OWBS’ Saturday, May 3; on-sitre registration and mingle 8am-9am. Summit begins 9a-5p with post-celebratory libations to be had.
Location: Strongwater Food & Spirits event space. 401 W. Town St. Columbus, Ohio Find us on Facebook at: facebook.com/ohiowomensbicyclingsummit
Summit details on topics and speaker bios can be found on the Facebook page as well as: http://www.considerbiking.org
Here a couple pics from last year’s Summit:
These two ladies: Lisa Hinson and Tammy Krings are the Webster definition of ‘badass.’ Two incredible business women whom have taken a leading role in creating a female groundswell for one of the nations biggest Cancer Rides: Pelatonia.
A great shot from behind as the first two speakers, Lisa and Tammy set the stage.
I was thrilled when Marjorie accepted a speaker position for our first ‘OWBS.’ She was very nervous since she had just become re-aquainted with bicycling however, I felt that Marjorie embodies what the future face of bicycling should look like. Now, she’s a beast to help engage more women to ride! SO PROUD!
An ariel shot of most of the folks from the Summit. Some were still eating, some had to leave back to their jobs, but this is a pretty great shot!
Lindsay Sherman of Trek will be giving a much more indepth and hands-on workshop that you can choose from at this year’s Summit. We thought she had enough time last year. We were definitely wrong. Trial and error, right? The attendees loved it. She’ll have a great session this year and we’re excited she’s coming back!
Lastly, I wanted to post a snippet of all of our sponsors. I’m so grateful at how excited and supportive ALL of these businesses have been.