Last week Women Bike celebrated one year of inspiring more women to ride bikes at
an anniversary event held at Portland Community College Cascade Campus.
Over twenty women joined us to celebrate our first year of the program, and enjoyed food and drinks, a presentation on our accomplishments and then participated in two activities to help inform Women Bike on women’s goals, interests, needs, and inspirations when it comes to biking.
Women Bike’s Program Manager, Nicole Davenport, kicked off the event with a short presentation about the accomplishments of the first year. In it’s first year Women Bike:
- Grew our online Facebook Group to over 925 women
- Led 17 rides engaging 150 participants
- Held 13 educational workshops and clinics engaging 105 women
- Tracked 130 attendees at Coffee Club and Happy Hour social meetups
- Overall Women Bike reached over 300 participants at in person events
Nicole also introduced the launch of our Women Bike Roll Models program. Our Roll Models are women who have a love a biking that they want to share with other women in their lives. They don’t need to be experts, road warriors, everyday commuters, or elite athletes (though some of them might be), they only need to possess a passion for biking and the desire to share the gift of biking with other women. Roll models provide mentorship and peer support to the “interested but concerned” women in their community. Currently, we have selected nine women to act as our first team of Roll Models. Profiles of each woman will be posted later this month, and their photos and bios will be featured on our new Women Bike page.
The program got a little emotional with the next slide, when Nicole introduced Elizabeth Cabral as the new Program Manager. At the end of the month Nicole will end her three and a half year journey with BTA. “The past year has been exciting, inspiring, and tons of fun,” Nicole said. “It has been a wonderful experience to provide a space for women to connect through biking and to experience new things on their bike. I’m looking forward to where the program goes next with Elizabeth at the helm.” Nicole will be taking a year off to help with family, but will remain based in Portland and is excited to watch the program grow under new leadership. Elizabeth Cabral will take the lead on Women Bike programing beginning in October. She plans to approach the program through an equity lens, and will use her skills in community partnership building to help bring the program to more women of color, low-income communities, and communities outside of the central city that have been historically underinvested in.
After recapping year one, attendees participated in two activities to help inform the program of the needs of women in our community as they relate to biking. Attendees introduced themselves to each other and then using post-its answered four questions:
- How does a bike fit in your life?
- What are your biking goals?
- What barriers do you face with biking or meeting those goals?
- What resources or assistance would you find helpful in overcoming those barriers?
While themes of transportation, fitness, safety and community emerged, the diversity of answers also drove home the reality that bikes are incredible machines that we use in a variety of ways. However, women found that one or more women in the room shared the same goals or barriers when it came to biking, which helped us all recognize that we are not alone in our biking dreams nor biking fears.
In our second activity participants helped Women Bike brainstorm events for year two. Once again common themes emerged: Family friendly rides (that include education opportunities and riding opportunities), safety (learning rules of the road), multimodal trips (and learning to put your bike on the MAX or bus), more social events, and focusing on equity and inclusivity.
The night wrapped up with cake, a raffle, and gratitude for all who came to celebrate and help inform the next year of programming.
Weren’t able to make it to the event? You can give your feedback to the program by taking this short survey here.
Keep in the know with Women Bike:
Thank you to our event sponsors Portland Community Colleges, TriMet, BIKETOWN, and New Seasons Slabtown. Additional thanks to Metro, Women Bike is made possible with support from Metro and the Federal Transit Administration, supportive donors, and BTA members.