women on wheels

I just got home from Women on Wheels at Gregg’s Cycle in Green Lake. It was terrific! Huge turn out, many raffle tickets bought to support the represented non-profits, and a panel of five local female executive directors of bicycle organizations (Cathy Tuttle of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Deb Salls of Bike Works, Elizabeth Kiker of Cascade Bicycle Club, Holly Houser of Puget Sound Bike Share, and Barb Chamberlain of Washington Bikes).

I particularly like seeing a mixture of serious cyclists and transportation bicyclists. I even met a couple serious cyclists who have cargo bikes for carrying their kids on the side! I was a little intimidated, I have to admit. Yes, I own a serious road bike and a mountain bike, but only because Mr. Family Ride got them for me early on, hoping I’d take to cycling. And I did…but only once he added a beach cruiser to my fleet.

Nowadays, ten years later, I enjoy riding my road bike. I love a chance to feel fast and nimble compared to my workhorse cargo bike. Of course the road bike is usually encumbered with something kid-related, be it trail-a-bike and trailer to form Engine Engine Engine:

Or just a trailer (this is from a couple days ago, shaking crumbs loose…wish I could do this with the Big Dummy!)

Road bike and trailer

Or a hop-on kid:

The wrong bike

But once or twice a month I get to go out all alone. My last time out with the road bike was this past Saturday for a hair cut. I wasn’t in a hurry heading home, but it was drizzly and I was really cold, shivering at each red light. On a few solo occasions I’ve taken the 75-pound Big Dummy rather than the 20-pound road bike for the sake of staying warm, and probably would have this time, too, had I not been running late on the way down.

I caught up to lycra-clad man on the flat part of Dexter and would normally have hung back to not engage in the whole woman-passing-man rigamarole. Interestingly, I didn’t even realize there exists a woman-passing-man rigamarole until this moment. Sadly, it’s second nature. Very often, if I’m pedaling along faster than a guy, I’ll pass him only to be overtaken a moment later. Yet then he’ll slow down to his previous speed. I don’t think it’s ever intentional, but it is a bit annoying. So I usually just slow down if I catch up to a guy dressed in a lycra. This, too, I didn’t realize until the moment I caught the guy on Saturday. But it was much too cold to slow down. So I kicked it up to late-for-preschool-pickup pace rather than just-quick-enough-to-warm-up and all was good (though my legs were a bit sore the next day).

Road bike unencumbered

In terms of women on wheels in the general sense, Women on Wheels isn’t the only thing going on. The National Women’s Bicycling Forum is next Monday at the National Bike Summit. I won’t be there, but many friends will and I can’t wait to hear all about it.

And meanwhile, I’ll do my part to get more women out there on wheels so the novelty of being passed by and/or passing women wears off. This Sunday, join me for Critical Lass rides to Bike Expo where we’ll check out the Cycling Wisdom by Women, for Women panel. And Saturday, it’s Kidical Mass to Bike Expo.

2 thoughts on “women on wheels

  1. I’m happy to hear a “Women on Wheels” update. I went last year and had a fabulous time. This year I reserved a ticket but ended up skipping out at the last moment. Also I saw you on your big dummy with 1 wee-one in tow today on the Burke-Gilman. You were headed east just approaching the U. I was so star-struck and couldn’t remember your name to holler a “hello”, but it definitely made my day to see a local celebrity out and about!!!

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