August Happy Hour Recap

Welcome to September! The summer is still summery, but we’re looking ahead to upcoming events and gatherings. We hosted a happy hour a couple weeks ago and got some input from some lovely ladies. There is enthusiasm for political outreach, for learning how to bike, and more. It was also great to hear about some of the different activities you’re already into: tandem rides for those with sight-impairments, trail ranger-ing, a really hilly weekend ride that you conquered!

We hope to see you (and your friends!) again soon. In the meantime, let’s recap a little about us:

Who we are:
We are a group of women who live, work, and/or ride bikes in Alexandria. Or we want to! The members are from different neighborhoods, different riding styles (like casual point-to-point and weekend long rides), and different backgrounds. The organizers of the group is known as the “Hub.” Look out for more information on the hubbies soon.
How we do what we do:
We are a volunteer group based on our community. While some of us might wish we could quit our full-time jobs and spend time organizing daily bike rides, we can’t. If you really want to see something happen, maybe hub can make it happen for everyone. Or maybe we need you to take initiative and help make Alexandria a better place for women to bike (hint hint: we heard 2 people are interested in morning coffee get-togethers). We’re happy to help, including getting the word out or putting you in touch with people better equipped to help you.
Speaking of getting the word out:
I encourage you to follow us online: email listserv, Facebook, Twitter, and this website. I know everyone has preferences (e.g. don’t use Twitter, prefer email blasts, like to Like on Facebook) but we can’t accommodate all of it. Feel free to join some or all of our social media outlets, but understand that information and interaction varies from platform to platform.
  • Consider an email blast if you need help planning a route to work, or want ladies to join you on a ride to a beer tasting, or if your bike shop is offering a deal on sports bras and jerseys. There is an option to receive emails to your inbox so you can opt out of receiving emails in your inbox but you’ll still have access to the listserv.
  • Friend us on Facebook to get invites to our events. The events are public and will be shared across the Facebook universe so you don’t need to friend us to see events. We aren’t a Facebook group but if you want to chat on a Facebook platform, I suggest you check out WABA Women & Bicycles’ page.
  • Follow us on Twitter for short blasts like “we’re at happy hour right now” or “Alexandria PD is handing out bike locks at Braddock today.” Consider Twitter if you like hashtags. Suggested hashtags: #bikedc #bikeva #AlexandriaVA #biketobeer #DelRay @bikeshare @WABADC @AlexandriaVAGov @KidicalMassALX
  • This website serves as a gateway – tell your friends to visit this page to get started with us. This is where longer recaps of our events will be posted as well as the Save the Date and Resources pages which are handy if you’re looking for our calendar or for a list of local bikeshops.
  • And if you want to contact the whole hub, email alexandriaspokeswomen@gmail.com. We do check it every now and then.

Kidically Arlandria: a family-friendly bike ride

Alexandria has a new biking group! Bring your family and your kids to Kidical Mass Alexandria’s inaugural family biking ride, in partnership wih Kidical Mass Arlington.

Kidical Mass is a national and global community ride. Started in Eugene, OR, it has spread to DC, Arlington, and now Alexandria. The rides are safe and fun rides for kids and their families.

Join them Sunday, July 20 at 11am at the playground behind the Potomac Yard Harris Teeter off Route 1. The ride will be an easy 4 miles and on flat terrain, around Potomac Yard and Del Ray. The ride should finish by 12pm, in time for an optional pizza lunch in Crystal City.

Follow the group at http://www.twitter.com/KidicalMassALX

Information from Kidical Mass Arlington at http://kidicalmassarl.blogspot.com/2014/07/kidically-arlandria-kidical-mass.html

For more on the history of Kidical Mass, go to KidicalMass.org

kidicallyposter7202014

Recap: Women on a Roll

Last month, a bunch of women showed up at Jones Point Park ready to explore the city. The Women on a Roll ride aimed to introduce bike shops to their women-identified customers and women-identified customers to the bike shops. To kick off May’s Bike Month, we went for a 15-mile ride to do just that. The ride included rules of the road, peeks into the surprisingly extensive bike infrastructure, and a little bit of shopping and maintenance at the local bike shops. These 5 shops – Bicycle Pro Shop, Spokes Etc., Velocity Co-op, Wheel Nuts, and Big Wheel Bikes – are definitely assets to the Alexandria community with their generosity, enthusiasm, and willingness to listen. We wanted attract attention to the commonly complained about issue of women not feeling comfortable in bike shops – and we certainly did! Check out League of American Bicyclists’ shout out to us: http://bikeleague.org/content/showing-shops-women-mean-business

I find it hard to believe that it has been over a month since our event and I am still riding off the warm fuzzies. Better late than never, here are some pictures snapped on the May 4, 2014 Women on a Roll bike tour. In that vein, it’s never too late or too much to step up and say hey, are there pictures, where are those women-specific clothing lines you mentioned, how can I help, what can I do?

One major thing I took from putting on this ride is if I don’t do it, who will? I spent several hours biking around Alexandria, popping into shops to put up flyers. Sometimes I felt really awkward and uncomfortable: “Should I ask that barista if I can hang up this flyer? That gym looks intimidating so I don’t want to ask. Will anyone notice this flyer in this random Starbucks?”

I am glad I walked into those stores. I found a cool modern furniture store, an unexpected place selling wicker bike baskets, and many cheerful shopkeepers willing to share our flyer.  A shout out to everyone who helped and supported – including all the Spokeswomen, Alexandria’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, WABA and Women & Bicycles, everyone who got the word out, and that one guy on the road who shouted “is this the women’s bike shop ride?”

As for that one Starbucks bulletin board? One of our riders cited that particular flyer.

Thanks for coming out and we hope to see you again.

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These bike shops are enthusiastic about changing a common perception on bike shops for the better. Check them out, buy local, say hi:

Bicycle Pro Shop, 3240 Duke St, Alexandria, VA 22314

Spokes Etc., 1545 N Quaker Ln, Alexandria, VA 22302

Velocity Co-op, 2111 Mt Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301

Wheel Nuts, 302 Montgomery St, Alexandria, VA 22314

Big Wheel Bikes, 2 Prince St, Alexandria, VA 22314

Ready to Roll

Did you see us in the Express today? Thank you, Vicky Hallett, for the wonderful write-up. We are super excited for Women on a Roll this Sunday and hope you’ll join us.

Sunday’s weather is anticipated to be clear and in the 60s-70s.  We will meet at Jones Point Park at 9:30am and roll out at 10am. Look for the ladies in green! Bring your own green and helmet.

Wondering where we are? Follow @AlexSpokeswomen on Twitter for live updates

(Ben Claassen III/For Express)

Join us for “Women on a Roll: A Bike Tour of Alexandria for Local Ladies”

Women On a Roll banner

 
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to walk into a fancy car dealership (Maserati? Mercedes-Benz? Is there a Lambo dealership around here??) and ask to test drive that one. That shiny one right there. Of course I know it’s a limited edition series 5000Awesomesauce-fancy-thing-LE and has 10,000 horsepower under the hood… Actually, I would feel the same sense of dread and overwhelming anxiety if I waltzed into a used car lot selling junker cars or the trendy prom shop for girls on a high-school budget. I just don’t know the market and I fret that the salesperson is silently judging me – does this lady know what she wants? can she afford this? could she pull off this look?
 
This dread is also associated with bike shops and not just with me. According to the League of American Bicyclists’ August 2013 report,
 

Women are a powerful consumer force, but too often they do not feel welcome in bike shops or do not feel products address their desires and needs.

 
Have you felt this way before?
 
Sure Amazon Prime is handy, but it doesn’t cut it when it comes to trying on helmets or adding air to the tires. When bike shops — and all shops really (Google says there is a Lambo dealership in the area!) — are approachable by all customers, we see it as a win/win. Everyone feels comfortable buying their bikes, clothes, accesories, and tools from local shops. We get our shiny rides and the local economy is the better for it – and most importantly, the overall community wins too.
 
Ladies, join us on Sunday, May 4 as we take you on a bike tour of Alexandria. We’ll stop in local bike shops to get to know the lay of the land, to introduce ourselves to the salespeople, and to show the shops that we care and we need them in the community. We’ll learn what sort of products and classes the shops offer and see how friendly the people who work there are, and we’ll ask them to think of us next time someone, anyone, comes in with a flat tire or a need for a new bike seat.
 
We’ll meet at 9:30am at Jones Point Park and start our ride at 10am sharp. It will be a leisurely ride and we’ll make sure no one gets left behind or lost. Bring yourself, a bike and helmet, and your energy. Wear something green so we’ll recognize each other as Women on a Roll.
 
Please register HERE for this free, no-drop, women-only ride
Invite your friends on Facebook

Learning from Fionnuala Quinn

Have you ever wondered how roads work? Someone is making roads that engineer where we go and how we get there. How can we get in on that discussion and hold our own in a conversation with city officials and engineers? Last month, Atla Planning engineer and Fairfax resident Fionnuala Quinn lessened some of the mystery at her workshop “Facilities for Women on Wheels: A Workshop on Cycling Facility Design+Infrastructure.”

Fionnuala introduced about 20 women to terms like “sharrow” and “cycletrack” (respectively: a “shared road” with a painted bike with chevron arrows symbol on the pavement and a segregated/protected but still on the roadway bike lane). She also shared experiences in Fairfax on building bridges to connect kids to their school and demonstrated with toy cars and interactive posters. Thank you, Fionnuala! The information provides us a platform from which to learn more about  infrastructure, bike lanes, and how our own communities are designed.

Fionnuala Design Infrastructure Workshop

Facilities for Women on Wheels: A Workshop on Cycling Facility

Facilities for Women on Wheels: A Workshop on Cycling Facility Design+Infrastructure

Featuring Fionnuala Quinn, Alta Planning + Design

February 11, 2014
6:30pm-8:00pm
Room 1101
Alexandria City Hall
301 King Street, Alexandria VA 22314

Please join us to:

• Participate in an expert-led workshop about making our Alexandria streets safer

• Discuss bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure through visual hands-on demonstrations

• Meet other local women who are interested in bicycling and designing safer streets

• Join us for drinks and socializing after the workshop at O’Connell’s Restaurant and Pub

Fionnuala Quinn is a licensed civil engineer with over eleven years of engineering experience on environmental and land development projects and an additional five years advocating on road safety design issues.

Space is limited, please RSVP to Andrea Hamre (ahamre@gmail.com)

A primer on what can be expected from WABA’s Nelle Pierson: Women & Bicycles Tip: Know Your Bike Infrastructure

See who’s planning on coming on Facebook.