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Nothing Could Rain on Our Wine & Chocolate Parade

14 Feb

After four bone-dry winter months and declarations of the most severe drought in 500 years, a healthy rain storm blew in three days before the party. Before the drops even hit the ground the question came in: “Is the party still on?” “Yes,” I said, “Unless the governor declares a State of Emergency the party is on. And unless the weather service declares a Severe Weather Alert the ride is on too.” Or as Adina quipped, “Apocalypse cancels. Or in case of apocalypse the four horsemen will join our ride.”

The rain was heavy elsewhere around the bay, but in San Jose there was little more than a few sprinkles. No horsemen of the apocalypse joined our pre-party ride, unless they were in the back of the pack riding sweep.

Virginia Bike Share

Fifty women had RSVP’d for the party, but given the 60% chance of rain I only expected a dozen or so to show up at Diridon Station for the pre-ride to the party. I should have known better. After all, women who ride are built tough, whether it’s dealing with hostile traffic on their commutes or soldiering on through wind and fog on century rides. Especially when there are others along for moral support and tasty treats waiting at the end.

Bike Statue

The fortitude of women who ride doesn’t stop when they dismount. The party attracted women who seek change: better bike routes for themselves and their families, better bike parking at workplaces and shopping destinations, better support from law enforcement to keep our streets safe. That doesn’t come easy.

But when you get determined women together, great things happen. Candice and Carmen’s home runneth over with strong women in influential positions like: Sally Lieber, former California House Speaker pro tempore; Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development for San Jose; Shiloh Ballard, Vice President of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group; and Ellen Barton, the new Alternative Transportation Coordinator for San Mateo County.

At the same time there were inspired leaders of grassroots efforts like Wendee Crofoot, co-founder of Great Streets Mountain View; and Adina Levin, co-founder of Friends of Caltrain and the Drive Less Challenge. Plus a half dozen staff and board members from the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, our event sponsor.

Garden Party

Who knows where a little networking over wine and chocolate will take us? I’m hoping very far, and by bike.

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8 Comments

Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Around Town, Women & Bikes

 

8 responses to “Nothing Could Rain on Our Wine & Chocolate Parade

  1. Susanne Wright

    February 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    You ladies are so flippin’ cute! Hope the wine and chocolate and networking really does take you far!

     
  2. Lizzy

    February 15, 2014 at 3:51 am

    I wish we had that kind of gathering for cycling women here. Looks like so much fun. Glad to see women of all ages on a variety of bikes.

     
    • ladyfleur

      February 15, 2014 at 9:28 am

      This was only our second such gathering. We started with a Ladies Tea in a garden picnic area last summer. We had only 14 women RSVP but we ended up with 20 showing up. Word got out at the last minute. http://ladyfleur.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/hats-on-for-a-rolling-ladies-tea-party/

      After that, another volunteer and I led a couple of low key rides (mine was a “city cruise”) which generated more interest. So for this party we sold out of the 50 spots in very short order. I suspect we could have gotten 65-70 there if we hadn’t capped it.

      The lesson here is that if you start small with a few women you already know and get the support of a local club or bike coalition to promote it to their members, you never know where it will go. Oh, and using fun stuff like chocolate as a draw always helps.

       
  3. jillycube

    February 20, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I really enjoyed this event even though I did feel awfully shy @w@;; ehehehe~ I’d love to go to another one of these events!

    Also, I remember one of the ladies talking to me about an event that relates to bikes and fashion thing in Palo Alto and she mentioned bike pretty being part of it… I’m just remembering this now and I’d love to go to it. If anyone knows about it please let me know :O I am hoping I don’t have a schedule conflict.

     
    • ladyfleur

      February 20, 2014 at 11:21 am

      I don’t think I’ve heard about that. I’ll have to ping Bike Pretty and see what she knows about it.

       
  4. Jean

    February 22, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    What a wonderful ride and day for all of you. I’m sure the cycling ladies will remember this ride on a day of cycling love together!

     
  5. Jean

    February 22, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Here’s my dedication to cycling and women worldwide I wrote last year:
    http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/cycling-lifestyle-living-an-unconscious-feminist-life/

     

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