Hats On for a Rolling Ladies Tea Party

18 Aug

What happens when you invite ladies who love bikes to a garden party on a warm summer day? Laughter, stories, advice and new friends. Cucumber sandwiches, macaroons, cookies and fruit. Nicely hot tea poured from real tea pots in tea cups of all shapes, sizes and styles, just like the women who rode to the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto for the Ladies Tea & Bike Social I hosted Saturday with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition.

Did I mention hats? From floppy cloth to prim straw, plus gloves and even a parasol for dramatic flair.

Monica Portrait Fun

I was a little nervous before the event. Would the 15 women who RSVP’d show up? Since few knew each other did we need a game to get the party started? Would the tea, prepared at home, stay hot in the insulated pitcher I MacGyvered? And would I be able to squeeze it all in my little trailer and ride without dumping it over? I didn’t weigh the load but I’m guessing 60-70 pounds. Eleven quarts of tea and water is not light!

My fears were for naught. Twenty women arrived for the tea and a few more stopped in for a quick visit. Nine women rode to the garden with me and my little trailer and escorted me back home afterward. Cheryl kept riding past her house. I guess she wasn’t ready for the party to end. The happy faces are evident in the bike portraits.

Tea Table

My great-aunt always said that food tastes better when you eat with a sterling silver fork. Maybe that’s why I don’t like paper plates and cups, especially at parties. I didn’t plan for the party to be low waste per se, but since we used cloth tablecloths, ceramic tea pots and cups, and leftover reusable plates, the waste was little more than paper napkins and some packaging from the snacks. The party’s “green-ness” went beyond the fact that almost all of us arrived by bike, transit and walking. All because ladies prefer real tea cups and linens.

The number one question at the end of the event was the same one I got from women who couldn’t attend: when will you do it again? I can’t say today when exactly it will be, but this party is sure to be the first in a series of grand affairs. Hang tight, sign up on the SVBC mailing list and follow this blog for the next party invitation.

Ladies, are there group rides or other activities for women in your area? What kinds of themes or other special focuses do they have? What makes them fun (or not)?

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Posted by on August 18, 2013 in Around Town, Women & Bikes


13 responses to “Hats On for a Rolling Ladies Tea Party

  1. whisksandchopsticks

    August 19, 2013 at 12:12 am

    What great idea! Look like you all had a lovely time. 🙂

  2. anniebikes

    August 19, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Thanks for sharing your tea party ride. We are starting a series of womens’ rides here in Burlington Vermont, primarily focused on the novice. So far there’s been a well attended flat maintenance gathering and two sparsely attended hour long rides: one on flat rail trail, and one a hilly ride with a ferry ride to a lunch spot Hopefully, my upcoming garage sale ride will attract riders of a different sort. Since we are still navigating the female group ride waters, it’s an ongoing exploration into theme rides. If the weather is nasty, an event is poorly attended so we aren’t taking no-shows as indicative of what works and what doesn’t.

    • ladyfleur

      August 19, 2013 at 9:00 am

      There were a couple of key things that made this event different than most women’s bike activities. First, it was primarily a party/networking event for women who bike with the ride being a “bonus” activity that was not at all focused on improving skills or strength. I suspect the vast majority were riding at about 2/3 their usual speed so they could chat, and the route we chose was supported that.

      Second, the ride was broken down into two halves of about 30 minutes on either end of the party. That also made it more fun-oriented than exercise-oriented and much easier for women who may not have the endurance or desire for riding for a full hour.

  3. Trisha

    August 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Looks like an amazing event! Well done.

    • ladyfleur

      August 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks, Trisha. We did have fun. I owe you ladies at Let’s Go Ride a Bike so much already, and now for the great idea of having a bike gathering vs the traditional ride-focused events.

  4. jwhitnewp

    August 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    What a cute party, wish I could have made it! Any plans to host another in the future?

    • ladyfleur

      September 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      I thinking the Ladies Tea will be an annual summer event. But I have an idea for a winter bike social with a chocolate theme, say around Valentine’s Day. I’m also planning an art tour & city cruise on Saturday October 19 that will be co-ed. Sign up for the SVBC newsletter to stay tuned.

  5. l

    August 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Just beautiful ! Congratulations and may you have many more joyful get-togethers.

    “Ladies, are there group rides or other activities for women in your area?” -> Yes I have a group of friends doing this either once a month or twice a month (Saturdays). I would join them whenever I’m back (u.k.) ( We started this some 6yrs. ago – my home is the gathering point for the start of the ride … even when I’m away (which is often now) on business because it is the nearest among our homes to town (where the cafes and restaurants are – abt. 6 mi away) or the sea ( 2-4 miles away).

  6. Cheryl

    September 3, 2013 at 10:13 am

    This was a super fun event and great conversations were had. The goodies were so tasty and the flowers and vegetables beautiful at the Gamble Gardens. I really liked the connection with public transport too! Thanks for organizing Janet:-)

    • ladyfleur

      September 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks, Cheryl. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I know I did. And thank you so much for promoting the event in your neighborhood newsletter. Was it you who also posted it on Western Wheelers?


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