Later this month, two Philadelphia women will pack up their bicycles and head to New York for a “purposeful adventure:” #WEBiketoDC. This 262-mile, 4-day ride from New York City to DC is organized by the New York group WE Bike NYC. The ride brings together ten women who are innovators in women’s bicycle outreach and programming, representing five organizations: WE Bike NYC, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Black Women Bike: DC, and, from Philly, Gearing Up and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. Philly’s contingent is Katie Monroe, founder of the Women Bike PHL program, and Kaelin Proud, Program Director for Gearing Up.
The ride, conceived at last year’s Women’s Bicycling Forum, aims to raise the profiles of the various organizations and programs that the riders represent. More broadly, it hopes to raise awareness of the importance of bringing new voices into the bicycle advocacy conversation — especially women, but also people of color and people from disadvantaged backgrounds: We all ride bicycles, but we aren’t all a part of the bike advocacy movement. This trip will be the kickoff event for continued work in 2014 to create more opportunities for new voices to join the national cycling and transportation conversation.
Kaelin Proud is the Director of Programming at Gearing Up, a Philadelphia nonprofit that provides women in transition from incarceration, addiction, and abuse with the skills, equipment, and guidance to safely ride a bicycle for exercise, transportation, and personal growth. Since May 2009, 80 women have graduated from Gearing Up’s Earn-a-Bike program. In 2013 alone, Gearing Up programmed with 154 women and pedaled 2,064 miles. Learn more about Kaelin and why she’s riding here.
Katie Monroe is the Founder of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’sWomen Bike PHL program, now heading into its second season. The program has the goal of getting more women of all ages and backgrounds comfortable riding a bike in Philadelphia. In 2013, Women Bike PHL held over 30 bike rides, bike-related classes, and workshops to build the Philly women’s bicycling community. Learn more about Katie and why she’s riding here.
In just a month of fundraising efforts, #WEBiketoDC raised $7,000 from over 150 individual donors and attracted generous sponsorships from Transportation Alternatives, Bicycle Times Magazine, Woman Tours, Bike New York, Pearl Izumi, Velojoy, Swift Industries, Intandem Bike, and Kind Bars. Their cause is gaining steam and the support of the bicycling community shows that. The money raised goes toward lodging and other needs along the way, as well as registration for the Bike Forum and Summit.
#WEBiketoDC Philly Ride-Out
Interested in meeting the women of #WEBiketoDC? Philadelphia’s bicyclists — of all ages and genders — are invited to ride with the group as they leave Philadelphia on Friday, February 28th. Meet at LOVE Park at 7:30 a.m. for a meet-and-greet followed by a 5–10 mile, slow-paced bike ride to see off the group. A ride leader (not from #WEBiketoDC) will be in charge of leading the group and making sure everyone gets back to LOVE Park after the ride. The Facebook event for this ride can be found here.
Stay tuned for an article by Kaelin and Katie in March about their experiences on the #WEBiketoDC ride and at the National Women’s Bicycling Forum. They can’t wait to bring back lots of inspiration and ideas for Philadelphia!