[This article was written by our Carfree Families columnist Marion Rice. For previous articles in this series, and for links to other articles and photos on family biking, check out the Carfree Families Page.]
Some of you may wonder what this post has to do with family cycling, but I assure you it has everything to do with family cycling and the particular challenges women bikers face.
“it’s not like I have to dress up to get to the office, but if I did, the potential for getting there in an embarrassing state might be enough to force me back into my car until the worst days were over.”
That said, most days getting on my bike is not a chore. As the post office says; rain, snow, sleet or hail (as long as anyone of those things doesn’t make cycling with my daughter unsafe), I’m biking.
But the one thing that can get me off my bike is that damn time o’ the month, if you know what I mean.
Yes, I am a mom and the lovely fluctuations of my body, in part, enabled me to have two awesome children — but now I’m done having kids. I don’t mean to rant, but the monthly personal oil change is messy, often leaky and the uncertainty of it all definitely puts a damper on my cycle commuting fun. I currently work from my home so it’s not like I have to dress up to get to the office, but if I did, the potential for getting there in an embarrassing state might be enough to force me back into my car until the worst days were over.
Angela Koch of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance wonders about the impact of this monthly visitor on women bicyclists. She says, “You know, no one has really talked about this, but I definitely think it’s an issue. At least for me, I’m especially distracted when I’m standing to pedal with 100 pounds of kid, trailer and gear behind me, but all I’m worried about is the view for the cyclist behind me. It’s not like I can stop and do something about it – I have to keep right on going and hope for the best”.
My friend Olivia Rebanal says, “My husband is always amazed that I can’t seem to predict how prepared to be for whatever comes my way. It just doesn’t work that way, every month is different”.
O.K., so I have deemed an elective hysterectomy too irrational but anything that interferes with biking on the order of magnitude of menses could do with some group problem solving. So, all of you out there that can speak from personal experience please offer your ideas, advice, product reviews etc. to keep all of us bike sisters happily on the road.
Marion Rice has been producing educational media since 1993. She has been the Executive Producer of a number of web sites for PBS.org including The PBS Parents Guide To Talking With Kids About War and Violence, History Detectives and The New Heroes. Most recently she was the Co-Executive Producer of a web site for parents to help them support their children’s emergent literacy from birth to age 5.
Marion Rice started writing the Family Biking column for BikePortland in 2008. She is interested in developing stories that are relevant to families on all parts of the car free/ car light continuum. In addition to writing, Marion helps the BikePortland team with her experience in fund-raising and corporate development. If you have a story idea or would just like to get in touch, you can reach her at (503) 708-0707 or at marion[at]bikeportland.org.