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Women Riders Across the Globe Unite for Cyclofemme on May 13
When Sarai Snyder started mountain biking in 1995 she felt like the only woman on the local scene. A few years later, when she managed a local bike shop in Newport, Ky., she noticed the same lack of ladies: The vast majority of store customers and weekly ride participants were male.
"I said to myself, 'I don’t understand; this has got to change,'" she says.
So Snyder got to work. She took a critical eye to the merchandising and atmosphere of the shop — and how it could be more appealing and inviting to women. She got involved in local advocacy and co-founded Queen City Bike, which represents cyclists across northern Kentucky. And, slowly but surely, she started to see more women. More female customers patronized the shop. The number of women riders on the weekly rides grew from 10 to 70.
Now, Snyder has taken her energy and advocacy to a much larger scale by launching Cyclofemme: a global day of women's rides on May 13.
But that's jumping ahead in the story.
More than two years ago, Snyder moved to Boulder and started thinking about ways to mobilize and educate women nationwide. At the 2010 Sea Otter Classic — a massive gathering of the bicycle industry — she started a social media campaign that would blossom into Girl Bike Love, a website geared specifically for women who ride."The goal of Girl Bike Love is getting more women on bikes, creating a larger community and giving women a place and opportunity to connect," Snyder says.
As soon as the site launched in late 2010, she was flooded with messages from women thanking her for the new, welcoming resource. "Most of the women reading this stuff are beginners, they’re moms, they’re not athletes," she says. "They’re coming to Girl Bike Love because they realize the importance of riding bikes for their health, their community, their kids."
The next logical step: Cultivating that sense of community out on the streets and trails.
To build solidarity and create new connections among women face-to-face, Snyder launched Cyclofemme. The tagline is inspirational — Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, Empower the Future — but the event is simple. On May 13, women will come together for more than 80 rides in 10 different countries. And that's just the events registered thus far.
“My goal with Cyclofemme is to unify the voice of women in cycling and bring women together,” she says. “It doesn’t matter if you ride a mountain bike or a road bike, if you commute to work or ride to the store — it’s about starting that conversation that we need to be working together.”
Click here to find a ride in your area — or organize one to put your city on the map.