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Portland women team up for 'Let's Race Bikes!' initiative

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 12th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Racing at PIR
A member of Sorella Forte racing at PIR.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A new initiative launched in Portland aims to get more women racing bikes on the road. Let's Race Bikes! is a coalition led by local teams that want to see larger women's fields at races throughout Oregon.

"Basically, a group of women have joined together because we saw a need to "market" Road racing in Oregon," says Let's Race Bikes! Board Member Karey Miles. "Over the past few years we have seen drops and inconsistencies in numbers of women racing their bikes, especially on the road."

The effort has kicked off with a website and the support of four major teams: Therapeutic Associates; Sorella Forte; West Coast Women's Cycling; and Upper Echelon Fitness. The objectives of the group (according to their website) are:

Screen grab from LetsRaceBikes.com.
  • To encourage new and former racers to come out and enjoy road racing with their friends.
  • To make racing more accessible to more women of all abilities by providing numerous skills practice opportunities througout the year.
  • To support womens racing by raising funds for women's race prizes and other efforts throughout the year.

Miles says their focus on Portland, but they are planning to branch out and create "focus groups" in Eugene, Bend, and other areas. Interested teams can designate a representative to get involved by emailing hello [at] letsracebikes [dot] com.

A big launch party is planned for December 8th at 7:00 pm at PACE Fitness (4829 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd). Learn more at LetsRaceBikes.com.

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Comments
  • john November 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I noticed Track racing had quite a good group of women racers this year! (Ok compared to when I was last there, which was 4 or 5 years ago).

    Track racing is IMHO perhaps the easiest way into racing (rental bikes are available) and I also think the most safe, and by _far_ the least expensive. And if you get dropped, or had enough for the night, you are never more than 1/12th a mile from the start finish line :)

    And they also have Training classes ! every Wednesday evening (during the dry season:)

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  • Steve Scarich November 12, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I have been involved in bicycle road racing for nearly 30 years. The issue of women sticking with it goes back decades. I actually do no know why women give up racing, but they do. My experience is that they try it, many like it, do it for a few years, and then quit. Men, on the other hand, seem to stick with it quite a few more years. I suggest that this group poll 'former' women roadies and find out why they quit. Marketing to a cohort that is just not interested could be very frustrating.

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  • takeaspin22 November 13, 2012 at 10:16 am

    It's great to see an organized effort to bring more people into racing.

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  • Nadrich & Cohen November 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Awesome to see people come together for a cause! Keep it up!

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  • grannygear November 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    No dis respect... but why race bikes?
    I race bikes, but that was my own desire.
    It was never suggested that because of my gender I ever should race bikes.
    May I also ad that bike racing is not the only way to "take my road riding to the next level, Make friends, or learn new skills."

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  • jenn November 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    The ladies in charge of this movement have done a fair amount of research and conversation based around what brings women to road racing, what keeps them there, and why people leave. For many of the women who have left racing, the main reason was family and work pressures vs the time it takes to train and race. However, the main reason people stick with racing is the competitive nature of pushing yourself and also the camaraderie that comes as a result. We can't do anything about the pressures of work and raising a family, but we can do things to help new racers meet other racers and help them face some fears and uncertainties they may have about racing.

    Oh, and we're all about more ladies riding bikes, but we selfishly want to see more women racing them too. And not just at Cross races.

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  • 007 November 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Good idea, however, seeing "LADIES" on their website at first made me wonder if a man designed it, because what enlightened woman would use an antiquated word which in the bad-old-days was used to keep women in their "place." Would we be racing side saddle, I wonder?

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    • Kenji November 14, 2012 at 11:48 am

      The whole thing was created and is being run by women.

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  • Brie November 14, 2012 at 11:56 am

    The initiative, website, media flyers, etc were in FACT all made by women. Super proud to be a part of this initiative!

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  • Jan November 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Even if this does not add one more woman racer, (which of course it will)the enthusiasm and camaraderie this initiative has brought to the existing peleton is amazing to see. Thanks Jonathon for sharing the word.

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  • Don J November 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    We're proud to be supportive of bringing more women to racing! Go get 'em ladies!
    - Don Joling
    -TAI PDX Cycling Development Team Director

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