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Intro / Background www.austincycling.org www.austincycling.org ✤ Perspective comes from a background of ‘Social Cycling Austin. Evenings, urban routes,

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Presentation on theme: "Intro / Background www.austincycling.org www.austincycling.org ✤ Perspective comes from a background of ‘Social Cycling Austin. Evenings, urban routes,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Intro / Background ✤ Perspective comes from a background of ‘Social Cycling Austin. Evenings, urban routes, no spandex or computers, diverse participants: relied on Ride Leaders for route, marketing, support: unfamiliar with the term ‘getting dropped’. ✤ ACA Background - started as a ride club in Has grown and evolved into an education and outreach group, still 500+ rides p/year including a large fundraising ride. ✤ Other sources of insight come from city staff, male and female amateur racers (strong scene), ACA ride hosts and past board members, cycle-centered journalists, fabricators, athletic event planners, other club organizers, National Women’s Cycling Forum, and Kim Cross. photo by James Messinger

2 Some of Austin’s Regular Women-Only Rides ✤ Bikin’ Betties - Upper beginner to intermediate road riders and commuters. ~20 miles, activity and social centered ✤ Austin Bike Chix - Tuesday night ACA- Hosted all-female ride with clinics incorporated ✤ Ride Like A Girl - Mountain, all skill levels welcome, clinic beforehand, skill development centered ✤ Austin Flyers - Beginning and intermediate training centered club that ‘offers a social and recreational support network, and mentoring to those interested in racing’. ✤ Wednesday Night Ladies Ride - Shop- hosted ride, fixed gear focused, all types welcome. Short distance, fast pace, social after.

3 Universal Motivations ✤ In all of these rides, there is a theme of transition. They are good rides that take green riders to more experienced riders. Fosters autonomy by building confidence and supplying a support community, regardless if the confidence transfers to commuting in traffic, participating in races or charity rides, fitness elevation, or simply riding for longer periods of time. (ie mini-clinics and social time) ✤ This idea of fostering easy and communal transitions appeals to women; men tend to be driven more by challenging transitions and using results and comparisons to track progress. ✤ Length of < or = 25 miles is key to attracting women busy with life - school, jobs, family. Half hour to hour is ok! Getting out of mindset of ‘not even worth it to suit up’. Occurs weekly, frequency also lends to community growth. (ex Puppy Pedal)

4 Sexist, Elitist ✤ Just like ‘Bro-Time’ - people bond in like minded groups (MAMILs have time, too) - ex: wife at poker night / fantasy baseball draft ✤ Women-Only Dynamics - genuine change in communication with peers - relief of pressure or discomfort - more apt to try new techniques (allows women to delve deeper into skill sets and evolve their own riding style) ✤ Women have a hard time finding these groups or individuals. Not due to male vs female ability, simply because of the numbers - account for 24% of ridership. ✤ Women Making a Change - so many females in positions of change (ie Janette Sadik-Khan, Mia Burke, CoA Bike Coordinator and city staff) ✤ Side Note: The bicycle’s history is tied up in suffrage movement and attire change. Continues to be a symbol of autonomy and independence for females.

5 Setting Expectations ✤ Establishing a Culture - Activities before and after establish tone - Denotes the skill and style of ride, to a greater extent the culture of the club - Avoid riders getting left behind or held back by including route description ex: B (orange)– Moderately intense brisk paced ride for experienced, self-confident ri ders. (16-18 mph average speed on flat routes.) C (turquoise)– Intermediate level ride. Challenging for newer riders. Social pace for fit and experienced riders. ( mph average speed on flat routes.) D (fuchsia)– Beginner to advanced-beginner riders. Suits newer riders or riders seeking a leisurely pace. (12-14 mph average speed on flat routes.) ✤ Comfort Levels - Goes back to finding like-minded people. Be aware of varying personalities, skill levels, and interests. Many women want to start riding more, but we are not all the same. We do not always feel comfortable around each other.

6 Who’s Involved Very Important! Acts as face of your organization / ride / shop ✤ Sets up INCLUSIVITY, fosters a rotating community - Women don’t like feeling left out - Typical ride breakdown: 25% new to ride 50% occasional 25% regulars / ride leaders ✤ Mini-Clinics and post-ride socializing ✤ More than one person - have sweeps and intermediaries - avoid burn out - allows engagement - Allows you to anticipate problems ✤ ACA Example photo by Adam Rafels for Austin Cycling Association photo by Susan Beth for Bicycle Sport Shop

7 Recognize Different Personalities & Expectations ✤ Ride Leaders are key to the whole experience and inclusivity ✤ Be careful to match ride leaders with appropriate routes and audience. Make sure it doesn’t turn into one member’s training ride. ✤ Having multiple ride leaders allow for larger array of connections (ex many women have favorite yoga instructors, even if they aren’t close geographically) photo by Adrienne Whitehorse for the Bikin’ Betties

8 Things to Avoid ✤ Too large a group (charity rides exception) - Gets ‘cliquey’ - Hard to control, means more dedication from volunteers - 20 people or less, smaller in winter ✤ ‘Big Biker’ mentality leading group - Experienced cyclists tend to forget what it’s like to be a beginner, just being helpful - Need an understanding of what’s important at each skill level - Alphas - Practice in everyday to incorporate encouragement in everyday

9 Things to Encourage ✤ Building relationships with shops: incorporates local economy, builds up network of support for your club or organization, keeps a facility on hand ✤ Repetitive, weekly schedule: fosters a ‘hub’, participants don’t need to search for details every week, reaches a larger audience due to rotation of new riders (transitions) ✤ Practical and Diverse Rides: not all about single women in their 20’s. Encourage cargo bike rides, family rides where spouses take turns riding. Allows your club or org to tailor it’s ride culture to your unique city

10 photo provided by Adrienne Whitehorse for the Bikin Betties Many thanks for the candor to: Eileen Schaubert, Ira David Levy, Ellison Carter, Amy Gelfand, Natalie GoForth, Nadia Barrera, Annick Beaudet, Adrienne Whitehorse, Austin Ridge Riders.


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