Why will Laura Solis of WE Bike NYC ride almost 300 miles to the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. on March 3?
Solis and nine other women from five different advocacy organizations will put their personal pedal power, passion — and perspiration — into supporting the League of American Bicyclist’s commitment to include underrepresented cyclists in the national conversation about cycling and transportation policy.The League-sponsored Summit, March 3 – 5, brings together more than 700 participants from all 50 states to support bicycling safety, funding and equity on Capitol Hill.
The ride will enable participation of 10 women from a variety of backgrounds who might not otherwise be able to lend their voices. The group needs your help to get there! Velojoy is onboard as a sponsor, and I hope you’ll join me in giving what you can to make this happen. Click here to contribute.
The Power of Two Wheels
For most of the riders, the multi-day journey to Washington represents a challenge, one that they embrace with the enthusiasm inherent in their love of two wheels and the desire to spread a message of community, empowerment and joy.
“This is going to be epic,” says Solis (right), a 27-year-old Bronx resident, who volunteers as outreach coordinator for WE Bike NYC. The not-for-profit organization, founded by Liz Jose, promotes women’s empowerment through cycling with a wide variety of regularly scheduled programming, including social rides, training rides, mechanics workshops and special events.
“I want to see more people like me at the National Bike Summit,” says Solis. “’People like me’ are people from low-income neighborhoods, with limited resources, with the odds against them, but with a strong desire to see beyond what’s at their immediate grasp. A machine as simple as a bicycle could inspire hope in many that find it difficult to do so for themselves.”
Solis started using a bicycle for transportation in New York City in 2011 and joined WE Bike the following year. “I’ve always felt compelled to connect people and create a family around me,” she says. “The cycling community is perfect for that!”
A Shared Adventure
Reflecting that spirit, the D.C ride will be a shared adventure among several women’s cycling advocacy groups. Joining WE Bike will be women from Gearing-Up; Black Women Bike DC; Washington Area Bicyclists Association: Women & Bicycles; and Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia: Women Bike PHL.
In addition to Solis and Jose, the WE Bike NYC riders include Casey Ashenhurst, Mary Shyne, Kristina Sepulveda and Ayesha McGowan.
The group’s participation in D.C. will kick off with the lead-in to the Summit on March 3: The day-long National Women’s Bicycling Forum, dedicated to engaging more women in all facets of bicycling.
Stay tuned for a report on their progress!
Photo: Dmitry Gudkov