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

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