THE HISTORY OF LADIES AND BIKES

This is an excellent article detailing the history of Ladies and bicycles.

A match made in history :)

The idea of Ladies riding bicycles was quite uncouth back in the day. Actually, the idea of Ladies doing anything other than magically producing male heirs was generally discouraged. From the article on Patch.com:

[Riding bikes], of course, caused great consternation among the men folk, who were not keen on change. Lawmakers, doctors and busybodies of all stripes fell over each other to line up on the wrong side of history, railing against the decline in moral fiber posed by women on bikes, not to mention the ill effects on women’s health and all manner of hogwash that scared little people spew when staring into the business end of democracy.

The backlash was rooted in the fear that women might actually get out of the house where they might talk to other people or, gasp!, other women. They could, perish the thought, start getting ideas. Then what? Anarchy, blast it, anarchy!

Women who rode were sniped at and talked about, their morality and their sexual orientation were called into question, often quite publicly. Cycling women were labeled loose, unwomanly, possibly lesbian.

[…]The bicycle was a vehicle for change, forcing an unprecedented change in women’s clothing, attitudes and empowerment. And those in the early women’s liberation movement were among the first to recognize the revolutionary power of the simple machine.

And the rest, lovely Ladies, is history.

The more we ride, the more we assert our rights to equality, all while adding joy, health, and fun to our lives and our community.

Bikes and Ladies: a love story for the ages.

Keep riding and loving, Ladies!

XOXO

FORMERLY ILLEGAL STREET BIKE RACE OK’ED BY THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES

Another win for cycling Ladies in the city of angels!

Site of a LEGAL bicycle drag race: the 2nd St Tunnel in Los Angeles! Photo courtesy of http://wolfpackhustle.com/

The Midnight Drag Race: Codename ‘The Final Effin Sayso’, a previously unsanctioned and often police-targeted bike race through the streets of LA, was a spectacular success this past Saturday! And all with approval and permits from the city; an implausible scenario only a few years ago. Nice work bike Ladies (and Lady-lovers) of LA!

Around 200 Cyclists, cheered by over 2,000 spectators, raced through the 2nd ST tunnel in downtown Los Angeles for the love of bikes, speed, and fun!

From the article on LAtimes.com:

“This will be the first time in the city of Los Angeles that it’s actually been permitted and legalized with sponsorship from the City Council,” Helper said, noting that “an underground race can be broken up at any time.”

Many at the race said they didn’t think Saturday night’s event would have been sanctioned a few years ago. They said it showed how politicians and local authorities have changed their attitudes about bicycling.

“L.A. cycling culture has developed to the point where this event has been able to shut down a street,” said 25-year-old Stella Ngigi of Inglewood. “And that’s not just a typical thing, it’s a huge thing, because before the cops would try to shut down rides.”

“This is a big thing because it legitimizes L.A.’s cycling scene,” Ngigi said. “Takes it from the underground to mainstream.”

In a city known for its steel-box congestion and lack of cycling accessibility, this signals a huge shift towards love and acceptance of cycling Ladies (and Lady-lovers)! And we can always use a little more love :)

LA continues to expand their bike infrastructure, which, having been a Lady in Los Angeles and experienced the achingly absent bikeable roads, leads a Lady to believe that the dawn of a new, cycle-friendly revolution just may be underway in the states.

If it can happen in LA, it can happen anywhere.

Way to go Ladies (and Lady-lovers)!

XOXO

HAPPIEST CITIES ARE THOSE WITH THE MOST CYCLISTS

The amazingly potent positivity & sheer joy of riding a bike experienced by us cycle-commuting Ladies is apparently a sustainably-transmitted-disposition (STD)!

More of these = more happiness

According to a Happiness expert from the University of British Columbia, cities with the happiest residents also happen to have the highest percentage of Ladies (and Lady-lovers) commuting by bike.

And happiness, my Ladies, is nothing to be scoffed at! It can lead to increased productivity, improved economic health, decreased medical costs, decreased violence… the list goes on! (A wonderful presentation from Enrique Penalosa, the former mayor of Bogota and proponent of active and public transit, mentions the importance of happiness in his recent speech in Portland.)

From the article on Yahoo.com:

According to a 2010 Stats Can survey of 6.988 respondents, Canadian commuters who used “active transportation” — the term includes both walking and cycling — were overwhelmingly more satisfied with their daily commute than those who drove or took public transit.

Sixty-six per cent of active-transportation users considered themselves “very satisfied” with their commute, whereas only 25 and 32 per cent of transit and private-vehicle users, respectively, felt the same way.

Only 6 per cent of cyclists and walkers were dissatisfied with their commute to work.

Heightened happiness? Increased sense of community and connection with your surroundings? Lovely Lady gams? Yes, yes, and yes, please!

Keep smiling and riding, Ladies! Your community thanks you!

XOXO

 

PARKED AND DANGEROUS: HOW NOT TO GET DOORED

Cycling joyfully in gorgeous attire? Fabulous.

A car door to the face? Not so fabulous.

A recent blog post over at The Guardian UK points out the inherent danger in the design of most currently implemented bike infrastructure: cycling Ladies are forced to ride precariously close to parked vehicles.

And, as the post points out, the dangers of being doored while riding in a designated bike lane actually outweigh the risks associated with riding in traffic by taking the lane.

A door to the face? Non me gusta :(

I once attended a cycle instructor training course, where one of the first things we learned was to ride “a door and a bit more” away from parked cars, even on narrow roads. To many cyclists this is counterintuitive as moving cars can feel – and act – like the most threatening thing on the roads.

The danger comes either from hitting a door or swerving to avoid one and falling into the path of oncoming traffic […]

In London in 2007 cyclists swerving to avoid car doors accounted for 8% of cyclists who were killed or seriously injured. This year a Beckenham cyclist died from head injuries after hitting a car door, the latest of three cyclists to die in London of dooring injuries since 2010.

So how do you, lovely Ladies, avoid a disastrous dooring? From MyBikeAdvocate.com:

1. Don’t ride too close to parked vehicles: This can be tricky. Your ability to ride outside of the “dooring zone” will depend upon the amount of space between parked vehicles and moving vehicles. That space will depend on factors such as whether the roadway contains a shoulder or bicycle designated lane. If conditions permit, you should ride at least three feet away from parked vehicles. Doing so will probably not take you out of the door zone (the average car door is nearly 5 feet wide), but it should help you swerve to avoid contact with a swung open door.

2. Give taxis a wide berth: When at all possible just stay the hell away from taxi cabs. Exiting passengers do not have mirrors with which to see an oncoming bicyclist, and few will crane their necks to look before opening the door. Any stopped taxi is a dooring incident waiting to happen. If at all possible swing way wide of them.

3. Look for signs: There are tell tale signs that a door may be about to open into your path. Look inside vehicle ahead of you. Look for figures moving inside that mean that the vehicle is occupied. Look in the side view mirror. You may be able to see the driver of the car, and whether he or she is looking at you.

4. Announce your presence: To help avoid a dooring at night you should ride with a blinking yellow or white light mounted on the front of your bicycle. A blinking light will help distinguish you from all of the other sources of illumination that exist in an urban setting. With a light, those drivers who do choose to look before opening their doors will have sufficient warning of your presence. Also, when riding day or night, if you see a door creeping open don’t be shy about giving a loud holler to the doorer (doorist?). Do whatever you can to announce your presence.

5. Control your speed: Alter your speed based upon the risk posed from dooring. If you are riding through a tight spot with numerous parked cars to your right, slow down. Sometimes you just will not have the space to swerve away from an opening door and you will need to stop to avoid a collision. Be aware of the potential for danger and act accordingly.

And perhaps, Lady (and Lady-lover) policy makers, it is time to reconsider prioritizing private-storage-in-public-spaces (aka parking) over the health and safety of our citizens by eliminating parking and creating physical separation as a part of all future bike lane implementation.

Safe and lovely riding Ladies (and Lady-lovers)!

XOXO

SEPARATED BIKE LANES IN SALT LAKE CITY

Fabulous cyclist Ladies in Utah, your dreams have come true! No, the mormons aren’t leaving, but now you can pedal your gorgeous self around town along some separated bike lanes!

One more small victory for USA cycling Ladies (and Lady-lovers)!

The city recently implemented a pilot project of bike lanes buffered by paint and separated by parked cars, the project being only the beginning of proposed cycling infrastructure additions to SLC. From the article on CityWeekly.net:

The pilot program is one the city initiated thanks to funding from REI which received a grant from Bikes Belong a national bicycling nonprofit advocacy organization. The $25,000 grant helped cover the majority of expenses for the pilot lanes and the city is hoping that feedback on the lanes could help them plan and prioritize expansions of the Cycle Track program throughout the city when planners update the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan in the coming fall.

“National studies have shown that by separating cyclists we improve comfort and safety,” said Salt Lake City Transportation Director Robin Hutcheson.

And they even designed the lanes to accommodate snow plowing, so Ladies: you can now put on your winter best and ride all season long. Lovely!
Ride on, Ladies!

XOXO