Women Cycling

My Twitter friend Patty (@pattyboge), who is very active in the Winnipeg bike community, shared a couple of thoughts about biking and feminism this week.

First was an excellent commencement speech at Smith College given by Reshma Saujani on imposter syndrome. “Imposter syndrome is modern day Bike Face, just another attempt to hold women back. Just ride your bicycle, pursue what you want to pursue.

“Imposter syndrome is just two made up words on the page. Start pedalling, feel the sun in your face, feel the wind in your hair, feel the joy, feel the freedom, feel the love.”

Sam wrote about Bicycle Face way back in 2013. She also interviewed lawyer David Isaac in 2020 about how safe infrastructure and women on bikes. His key point was that safe infrastructure that connects to places where women want to go is key to getting women riding bikes. And it is a feminist issue because it can make cities more equitable.

That brings me to Patty’s second thought: « Women’s Rights activist Susan B. Anthony says it best ‘Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel, the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood.”

Patty’s response to all the people who pass two close and try to intimidate women to try to get us “off the road, B!&%!” is to say “we can’t and we won’t stop. Our bikes are our freedom”.

One of my favourite pictures of Patty, swiped from her Twitter feed. She is wearing a hot pink mini dress, sunglasses and a pink helmet with a tiara. She is riding a white e-bike with a front basket decorated with flowers. And of course, she has a huge smile.
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