Introducing Women Bike Colorado
Fewer women than men ride bikes in the U.S.—a lot fewer.
I don’t like to admit it, but the stats don’t lie. In the U.S., male cyclists outnumber female cyclists by at least 2:1.
The reasons why women don’t ride as much are pretty logical. As a group, women get more groceries, schlep kids more and don’t feel as comfortable as men next to cars. Here are some interesting facts about the bicycling gender gap:
- Women make up only one quarter of all bike commuters nationally.
- Annually, women take an average of 110 more trips than men.
- Boys are twice as likely as girls to bicycle to and from school.
What are people doing about it?
People around the country are talking about this and starting programs that will—hopefully!—bridge this gender gap. Here are some examples.
- Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA): Women & Bicycles program provides a great toolkit for encouraging more women to ride through peer-to-peer mentoring.
- Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia: Women Bike PHL links women riders to classes and events and they also provide a Girl Scouts on Wheels curriculum.
- League of American Bicyclists: The Women Bike program provides webinars, toolkits (in English and Spanish) and research.
- Marin County Bicycle Coalition: The Women on Wheels program provides classes for women, taught by women, in English and Spanish.
What about women in Colorado?
Unlike some other states, I would argue that in Colorado we have more opportunities for women interested in bicycle racing or trying bicycle events to find opportunities to explore these activities in a safe and supportive setting. Awesome. However…
I believe that we are missing efforts to promote women riding bikes for transportation and casual fitness (not wearing lycra).
How do we get women in jeans, wearing backpacks, maybe even schlepping their kids, excited about riding their bikes more often?
Starting a dialogue in our state
At our Colorado Bicycle Summit in February, we will be talking about this disparity. In fact, we will have a session dedicated to just this topic.
We will be hearing from a diverse group of women who found bicycling later in life due to economic and/or cultural barriers. In the session, we plan to come up with some solutions to get more women riding in Colorado more often. But before that, we have one thing that we want to get started on right away, and we can’t do it alone.
To all the ladies out there… we need YOU
Bicycle Colorado wants to get this party started. Like many other communities and advocacy groups, we are going to start with social media. We have launched a Women Bike Colorado Facebook group, but it will only be good if YOU get involved.
If you are reading this, please join the group today and get some female friends to do the same. (Note that we have set it up as a closed group—just put in a request to join and we will add you to the group.)
Once you join, please share your favorite bike photo and/or bike stories with the group. Our vision is that this will be a resource for all levels of riders with a focus on daily transportation trips. Above all, biking is fun and we want more women to join in!
We also want your input. Comment on this post to tell us what else we can do in Colorado and you can do in your community to get more women riding.