It takes a village to raise a child, they say, and a community to build a movement. But is bicycling a movement? I’ve always bristled at the idea. When I think of movements I think of protest rallies and marches with grand speeches that lead to counter-protests and sometimes violence. Like the unrest that came with the Civil Rights, Women’s Suffrage and Antiwar Movements. That’s not what I see for bicycling, nor do I hope to see.
Maybe I’m thinking too narrowly. Social movements spring from a new perspective and people’s desire for change. That’s what I want for bicycling: that we see it differently, that we move bicycling beyond just sport and recreation to integrate it into our daily lives in a way that’s healthier for us, for our cities, and for our planet.
If we accept bicycling as a movement, then which communities will build it? Will it be the bike advocates, who push for bike lanes and legal protections? Will it be city staff and elected officials who design and approve the streets and trails we ride? Will it be the bike industry, who manufacture and sell the gear? Will it be businesses, who know that bicycles can bring in more customers or more employees at a lower cost?
Or will it be people like us, the women who came together at the Wine, Women & Chocolate gathering to share the joy of bicycling: college students making their place in the world, women retired from careers in business or raising children, and women who juggle one or more roles every day. We are women who are just getting comfortable riding on streets, women who bike every day, everywhere, women who unwind with a spin down a trail, and women who push themselves longer, harder or faster. There may have even been a racer or two.
Community goes beyond living in the same place, it’s a feeling of fellowship with others that comes sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. I saw community at our Wine, Women & Chocolate gathering, and I believe communities are what will build our bicycle movement, along with help from the bike advocates, the city staff and elected offiicials, the bike industry, and local business leaders. It takes a village, after all.
What bicycling communities do you belong to? What kind of movement are you all building?
It takes a crew to throw a party. Many thanks to Candice and Carmen for opening their home to us, to the half-dozen volunteers who checked us in, parked bikes, poured wine, kept the food table neat, and to the handful of party-goers who took the photos in this slideshow. Finally, thank you to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition for sponsoring and promoting the event and loaning us the nifty bike racks. If you’re not a member, become one today.