May 20, 2014
Hail Helmet Women (And The 303 Rides)

Photo credit: Cameron Adams

There are a lot of theories about why women ride bikes less than men ride bikes. There are just a few places in the world where as many women hop on their bicycle to get to work as men do – think Minneapolis, Minnesota, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and some German cities – and that’s a pity.

In general, women are considered more safety conscious than men, and unwilling to brave the mean city streets, especially if the designated bike lanes are few. Another theory is that women (still) perform the bulk of child-care duties, and the choreographed daily dance of school/work/school pick-ups makes it harder for women to make biking work for them. And then there’s the fact that cultural norms can make it hard for women to arrive on the job looking healthy, glistening, and slightly mussed rather than impeccably squeezed into corporate attire and with every hair in place.

All those reasons have their validity, and here’s another truth: once they start riding, especially with the initial support of others, many women find biking just too joyous to leave to weekends alone. From 2007 to 2011, the overall number of women who commute grew 56%; and in 2009 women took 982 million bicycle trips.

One joyous rider – Boulder, Colorado based cyclist Sarai Snyder, started the CycloFemme Mother’s Day ride three years ago. Snyder, who also heads up the Girl Bike Love advocacy site, wanted a way for women around the world, regardless of age, bike style or ability, to feel like they were riding together.
women on bikes
Sarai Snyder

On the first 2012 CycloFemme ride, 163 rides were registered in 14 different countries. Two years later and a total of 303 rides were registered world-round, in 248 cities and 25 countries.
Women on bikes
women on bikes tattoo
As the pics show, CycloFemme is a great chance to get out and ride, showing off great solidarity, tattoos, and incidentally, some good-looking helmets, too.