In a few weeks, I’m going to ride my bicycle from New York City to Washington, D.C.
I have never attempted such a feat before -- certainly not in the winter! But I'm not crazy, I promise. I'm doing this for a good reason, and so are the nine other women riding with me.
We are part of an event called #WEBiketoDC, organized by WE Bike NYC, a group based in New York City that works to make bicycling more accessible to women and female-identified people. The ten of us riding represent five organizations with overlapping missions, from three cities: WE Bike NYC, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Black Women Bike: DC, and, from Philly, Gearing Up and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. I work for both of the Philadelphia organizations, and am excited to have Kaelin Proud, Program Director at Gearing Up, representing Philly with me.
Our destination is the National Women's Bicycling Forum and National Bike Summit in Washington D.C., March 3-5. Women are underrepresented in the cycling and cycling advocacy community, and we hope to emphasize the importance of the work we are doing, and the need to bring new and diverse voices into the biking conversation.
We're taking four days to ride approximately 262 miles. Day 1 is the longest -- NYC to Philly, Day 2 gets us to Newark, DE, Day 3 we end up in Baltimore, and Day 4 we roll into our nation's capital. A crowd-funding effort to raise money for our ride in the last few months yielded $7,000 in individual donations, and generous sponsorships from Transportation Alternatives, Bicycle Times Magazine, Woman Tours, Bike New York, Pearl Izumi, Velojoy, Swift Industries, Intandem Bike, and Kind Bars. It's been a truly humbling show of support, and a sign that there is growing energy for our efforts.
Preparing for this ride isn't easy. I've spent hours on Google Hangouts figuring out logistics with nine other enthusiastic ladies. I'm pretty terrified that I won't have the physical endurance to make it -- especially after a bike crash a few months ago, and some recent snowstorms getting in the way of my training. But even if I end up freezing my toes off and panting through the whole thing, I am still incredibly excited. These women are some of my professional heroes -- we have so much to learn from each other, and there's nothing like a long bike ride (...or four) to really figure things out.
For Philadelphians interested in being a part of this first-of-its-kind bike tour: We'll be leaving Philly bright and early on Friday, Feb. 28th, and you're invited to see us off! Meet us at LOVE Park at 7:30 AM on the 28th. Check out the Facebook event for details.
The ten riders have been writing about our upcoming "purposeful adventure" at the WE Bike NYC blog -- visit it if you want to learn more about our efforts!
Wish me luck!