More Ladies on city streets is always better.
Check out the new data from the League of American Bicyclists. Ladies (and Lady-lovers) commuting by bike are on the rise!
So hop atop two wheels and join the rest of the fabulous Ladies and Lady-lovers experiencing the beauty of commuting by bicycle.
As always, from coast to coast: remember to enjoy the ride, Ladies & Lady-lovers! XOXO
Poised pedaling, lovely locks of all lengths billowing in the breeze, wafts of wildness and blooming and pot, the sensation of sunshine warmly embracing cool, wintry-white skin that has longed for sheer exposure: nothing compares to the loveliness of summer riding!
As the skies clear and temperatures finally rise to a heat conducive to unbuffered flesh-air contact, shared city spaces and streets bud and burst with life of all kinds. Seeing people gathering, walking, biking, and just generally grasping the opportunity to experience the world beyond interiors makes this Lady’s heart well-up and ‘splode all over its wonky self.
Summertime means a public realm packed to the brim with citizens enjoying and living in shared space, not to mention an overflowing and wonderfully expanded community of active commuters just enjoying the ride.
Seeing more fair-weather Ladies (and Lady-lovers) take to the streets atop two-wheels provides a glimpse of what our neighborhoods and streets COULD be, of how much more enjoyable, useful, connecting, and beautiful streets and city centers have the potential to be. It also reminds me of what, besides the fabulous forecast, makes summer riding more enticing to those who forgo the enjoyment of riding year-round: casual accessibility.
No new-fangled, neon-yellow jackets (which ultimately don’t make a big difference in visibility, anyhoo), no waterproof glorified-trash-bag outwear, no elasticized booties or so-many-rear-lights-you’ve-become-a-land-bound-lighthouse. The temperature and physical activity dictate lighter layering, and for most people that means riding in average daily attire. For shorter, slower jaunts to the store, that often means the provocative exposure of scalps, too.
When average people look out on the streetscape, they see something they can relate to; something they could actually be comfortable becoming a part of. The gear-attire mentality does a huge disservice to us Lady’s (and Lady-lovers) trying to expand the joy of riding to more people, by making it feel like a club you need an obnoxiously bright card to be a part of. It also makes cycling seem incredibly uncool. And honestly, what young Lady-in-training wants to be lumped in with predominantly male baby-boomers in bright spandex on flagged recumbents?
All riders are welcome on the roads, and I have a special place in my heart for the geared commuter kind (my bikey heart has space for EVERYONE!), and you should wear whatever the hell you want when you ride. But when the landscape is monochromatic and aesthetically dismal, it becomes harder for average people used to wearing what they’d like and driving a steel-box they’ve customized to their liking to place themselves alongside their two-wheeled neighbors. We become more and more “other”, and less and less understood.
What can every Lady do to support her fellow riders and neighbors in their pursuit of happier, healthier streets? Ride like you’re living, not like you’re “cycling”. Increase your “picnic riding”, or slow, leisurely, helmet-free (whenever possible) jaunts to the neighborhood market, school, and other short daily trips. Encourage your friends to come along, no special-attire required.
Keep smiling, riding, rocking skirts & dresses, and loving the sunshine, Ladies!
Lovely! Converting what we have into what we can imagine. More examples of great planning and adjusting exisiting infrastructure to benefit the city and community.
Increased foot traffic to businesses, decreased pollution, improved smile-to-frown ratios, and the added potential for street tango all night long.
See an area in your city that could be transformed for the better? Tell us your vision here. And while you’re at it, tell us why you ride, because sharing stories helps us all connect over shared experience, and helps inspire others to get out and ride, too! We’ll be sharing best ideas and stories from around the globe right here on the blog.
Stretch of urban highway that could be transformed into a waterfront park ala Portland’s Waterfront Drive? Maybe a busy street with potential to become a vibrant business district with a pedestrian walking plaza? The sky’s the limit (well, actually the pavement, but you get the idea)!
Keep dreaming, riding, and smiling, Ladies!
Today in East Portland, a family is receiving the news no parent is ever truly prepared to receive. A tragedy of which no sense can ever be made: the death of a child.
Last night in East Portland, a 4 year old girl was killed by no fault of her own other than walking in her neighborhood and living east of 82nd Avenue, where “back to basics” doesn’t include the basic safety of sidewalks.
What is more basic than a child’s life? Than the health and safety of those most vulnerable?
The young girl was killed by a car on 136th Ave; a stretch of road in a neighborhood often neglected and ignored, and the very street where a basic sidewalk project was slated by the Hales administration to be cut from this year’s budget.
This death was preventable. It is shameful that it takes a tragedy such as this to demonstrate the budgetary value of infrastructure for active transportation.
Our legislators and Mayor are currently pressing for an over $3 Billion highway expansion, but are willfully placing our children’s lives at risk by denying the necessity of basic infrastructure for all road users in all neighborhoods. Just how much is a child’s life worth? Ask their parents. Ask yourselves.
What are our priorities as a city? If we can’t afford to provide for the safety of our children, it’s time to reexamine where and how our money is being spent.
Thoughts and hearts are with the family, the poor children who witnessed what happened, the driver whose life is forever changed, and the little girl who passed. In the days ahead, we need to do everything within our power to ensure that this heart-breaking tragedy is not repeated. That her life and legacy will serve as an impetus for safer streets. That she did not die in vain.
This is a solemn wake-up call. Let’s hope our representatives are listening.
Ride and walk safely out there, Ladies (and Lady-lovers).
This Lady originally wrote this article for BlueOregon.com.
They’re aggressive, sometimes dangerously so, and destroy our air quality, communities, and planet.
They’re in the way, run stop signs, and ride without regard for others on the road.
Regardless of which trench (or, god forbid, in the inhospitable in-between of No Man’s Land) you find yourself, you’re likely tired, frustrated, angry, and just looking to get home alive.
In the lengthy and unnecessary war between car drivers and bike commuters, no real progress has been made. It’s time to draw down forces and start working together towards a more prosperous future for everyone.
I often hear gripes from the bike community, admittedly at times my own, that car drivers are inconsiderate and dangerous. I have indeed been harassed on bike boulevards (streets supposedly dedicated to people on bikes), drivers laying on the horn and riding behind me for block after block, perhaps not realizing that their momentary expression of annoyance has permanently damaged my hearing. Or those, too many to count, on their cell phones, putting all road users at risk.
Or the driver who followed me for an entire mile, pulled up alongside riding slowly with his window rolled down, yelling expletives, taunting me, and threatening my life for no reason at all. Some of these interactions have made me deathly afraid, and these sorts of actions are completely inexcusable, but I’ve had just as many drivers stop to let me cross a busy street, smile and wave, pull over to apologize for almost hitting me (she was so sweet), or do nothing at all except drive the speed limit and pass me when it is safe.
I love to ride my bike. It is safer than most believe, it costs the city less in upkeep costs (so more of our taxes can go to schools, paving roads, etc.), I actually meet and interact with neighbors and strangers along my ride, plus I save lot of money every year. Not to mention I save myself years, and everyone else money, in healthcare costs by staying active. I’m no better than anyone else, nor am I worse. I’m just a person who happens to love riding my bike. I’m glad I can choose to do so, and hope more of my community members will choose to ride along, too.
Yes, cars break down roads faster than bikes and they pollute our air and water with some pretty nasty carcinogens, not to mention the detriment to the cohesiveness of communities that lie along busy roads and highways (they’re linked to increased crime, too). But in many communities, we’ve left people with almost no option but to get around by car. In fact I was a car driver until the last few years, my Ex-Husband, a dear friend and wonderful person, drives a car to get to his job where no public transit or bike lanes go, and my parents, also lovely and caring, drive, too.
Does that fact that they drive a car in a culture where most activities for the past 50 years centered around cheap oil make them bad people? Why wouldn’t one try to have understanding for people forced to pay extra thousands of dollars a year to sit in polluted air?
Bike commuting is incredibly enjoyable, and it is a failing of our government to not provide safe routes that are available to everyone in all of our communities, but since the 1950’s our government has invested in unsustainable expanses of highway and suburban development while dismantling and defunding public transit, all of which normalizes and encourages driving for trips that the automobile is not best suited.
Driving as primary transit has come about through a combination of cultural norms, government inaction, short-sighted planning, and lack of understanding of personal responsibility/impact, and that’s my point: If you live in East Portland, of course you drive your car. You likely can’t even walk your child to school, since your neighborhood probably doesn’t even have sidewalks.
And waiting behind a cyclist when you commute to work downtown, after driving that expanse because there is no other feasible option… I can understand your frustration. Violence and aggression are never justified, but frustration? Who wouldn’t feel it. In fact our roads aren’t streets anymore; their design feeds into the perceived but inappropriate unwelcomeness of people on bicycles.
And yes, some cyclists blatantly run stop signs, which is not OK (I generally end up with a rolling stop, and I think most car drivers, if honest, do, too.), but just as many and more, myself included, follow posted traffic signs. And all of us, regardless of mode, make mistakes.
Streets used to be designed for horses. Then some were designed for bikes. Then public transit. Then cars. In the last iteration, room for all other modes was wiped clean, in fact sidewalks were reduced in size to make way for parking, making it less hospitable to exercise your innate proclivities to WALK. A driver’s natural tendency to see the bike as unwelcome and out of place? It’s rooted in our poorly planned and usually myopic street design.
A SYSTEM FOR EVERYONE: PROVIDING MORE OPTIONS
People on bikes are obnoxious vagrants who don’t pay their fair share. People in cars are dangerous jerks who ruin everything wonderful about our communities.
The truth is that at these extremes, we lose sight of each other. Our anger and fear and frustration have prevented us from seeing another human being, now merely a projection of past grievances and caricature rooted in daily emotional fluctuations. Take away the car, take away the bike, and you have two members of the shared community just trying to get home alive and unmaimed.
I believe that we all want the same thing: a transportation system that is speedy and efficient, doesn’t cost too much to maintain, and gives us the opportunity to enjoy our commutes and communities. Realistically, our current system is unaffordable, and it will take people thinking beyond the car for the majority of trips, especially inner city travel, to create transportation budgets that are financially sustainable (and happen to promote public health, the local economy, and environmental protection).
But for right now, let’s rise above the few things that separate us and see our commonality. Put aside your frustrations and anger and be kind to each other out there. Drivers: try taking one or two trips a week by foot or by bike (like to the store or taking your kids to school) and be patient with pedalers and pedestrians. Cyclists: ride respectfully and respond with kindness, not anger.
I’m ready for an era of peace and prosperity, and I think Oregon is, too.
Porn for a witty-Lady’s brain
The multitude of benefits for Ladies (and Lady-lovers) from simply enjoying life atop two-wheels. From creating more jobs per project than steel-box expenditures, to maintaining your fabulous figure and coordination. Not to mention the sheer joy of casually pedaling through the streets of your city.
Keep riding, reducing back pain, and smiling, Ladies!