A volunteer “Superhero” in action. (Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)
Sunday Parkways, the series of summertime open-streets festivals that starts next month, runs in large part thanks to volunteers. Today we noticed an interesting angle in a recruitment pitch for those volunteers.
The recruiter, Phil Barber of Axiom Events, called his appeal “a long-overdue first step toward trying to connect with wider circles of women interested in supporting Sunday Parkways.”
Here’s what Barber wrote in an email today to the Shift bike-fun email listserv, with emphasis added:
We shared the news in this week’s Monday Roundup that Levi’s has just launched some new fits, including a line for women, of their Commuter brand jeans. The jeans are designed for bike transportation with high-rise waists, skinny legs and slightly reflective seams.
And befitting a clothing line that’s built for everyday riding, the video they launched today bursts through a dozen dull stereotypes about both biking and about marketing women’s bike products.
Biking community leader Lisa Marie White, right, leading an advocacy discussion at a BikePortland Wonk Night in October. (Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)
Of all the conversations we’ve had on the site this week — there have been 1,100 comments on 27 posts — the biggest was about the line between journalism and community.
Many people who we respect disagreed with Jonathan’s decision to delete archived references in past stories to a man who, he’d decided, seemed to be using his perceived status to hurt other people.
The One of the most upvoted comments in the thread came from another reader and fellow community member who we respect a lot: Lisa Marie White, a prominent local biking advocate (most recently at Bike Walk Vote) and active community member. Here’s her take on Hart Noecker and, more importantly, on what Portland’s biking communities should learn from this conversation:
Portland has a new bike shop. But before you react with, “Really? Another one!?”, keep in mind that unlike any other shop in Portland, Gladys Bikes (Facebook) at 3808 N Williams caters specifically to women.
The shop is the work of 30-year old north Portland resident Leah Benson. I stopped by yesterday to check out the space and learn more about her.
A native of Wisconsin, Benson moved to Portland five years ago. She previously worked for Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., a non-profit that provides education and advocacy for women going into non-traditional employment (mostly building and construction trades). Benson has also been an active volunteer with the Community Cycling Center.
While she’s ridden her bike her entire life (“I grew up in the middle of nowhere, so I had to ride my bike if I wanted to do anything,” she said) and started biking to work in her early 20s, it wasn’t until she moved to Portland that biking became a larger part of her life. “This is such an easy city to become immersed in bicycles,” she said, “it became not just something I did to get from point A to point B, but so much an integral part of my life.” [Read more…]
Still, in a town where only 31 percent of people on bikes tend to be female (it’s about 25 percent nationally) we’ve got a long way to go until, as in Germany or the Netherlands, our biking population is evenly split by gender. Portland’s failure to change this ratio for 10 years can be discouraging to people who think everyone deserves to feel welcome on a bike.
That’s why there’s a lot to celebrate in a new report by the League of American Bicyclists that rounds up dozens of statistics about women and bikes. Culled from industry reports, political polls and academic studies, a few of the report’s figures are pretty surprising…
The Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has released a women’s cycling survey. The survey comes from PBOT’s Active Transportation Division and it aims to learn more about women’s current bike use and interest in cycling in general.
PBOT’s Women on Bikes program has been leading rides and creating resources for women since 2005. Currently, just 31 percent of Portland’s bike riders are women. According to the most recent City data, that number has not changed since 2003. Women are often singled out for promotion of cycling because it’s believed that they are an “indicator species” of a bike-friendly city.
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.” [Read more…]
The Beaverton Bike Gallery is hosting a big Women’s Night event this coming Tuesday (1/11). On their website, the shop says the event is, “The perfect opportunity to talk with knowledgeable staff, industry reps, and other female cyclists about women’s clothing and bikes, family riding, and more.”
I was curious about the event, so Beaverton store staffer Lana Pressey answered a few questions for us. Read her replies below:[Read more…]
The APBP says it help them in “figuring out what factors need to be addressed to encourage women to cycle more places more often.” The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and it’ll be open until May 15, 2010.
But even here in Portland, particularly in parts of the bike scene with a strong connection with sports and business, assumptions about gender often remain unquestioned.
February: I am asked to volunteer on a committee for a bicycle organization “because we need more women.” The person who invites me says that he had been frantically calling every woman he knows in the bike scene, and explains that at this point, expertise matters less than gender.
April: A local bike shop opens a new women’s section. I attend the grand opening and am one of only a few women present. The section has a separate entrance and features house and home decor and a selection of pastel hybrid bikes.
August: I email an acquaintance to tell him it isn’t okay to call other commenters “pussies.” He responds angrily. “Are you really that prudish? Seems like you’re just picking on me. Do you have some sort of problem with me?” he asks. Jonathan reads this and is surprised. “I don’t think he would have reacted that way if I’d been the one to tell him that.” [Read more…]