Last Sunday, women in 14 countries gathered for 164 rides to celebrate cycling under the unifying banner of the inaugural CycloFemme. Among the events, organized to “honor the past, celebrate the present and empower the future of women’s cycling” on Mother’s Day, were three here in NYC, including a social ride organized by design firm Language Dept. Beginning at a downtown cafe on a perfect spring morning, and wearing CycloFemme temporary tattoos on arms and calves, they pedaled at a (mostly) mellow pace up the Westside Greenway to Central Park for a few rounds of the loop, followed by a rest stop — and Instagram photo op — at Strawberry Fields and then brunch at an open-air spot on the Hudson River.
A browse through the rides registered on the CycloFemme website — sunset cruises in California, road races in Texas, mountain bike excursions in the Czech Republic — reveals remarkable variety and vibrancy. From Brisbane, Australia, for example: “A very short, not very well organized, certainly not stressful ride to celebrate the women cyclists who came before, the amazing ones who are riding now, and the little sisters who are just getting their training wheels!”
In a post-event e-mail, CycloFemme founder Sarai Snyder of the website Girl Bike Love observed, “The beauty of CycloFemme is shown in the diversity of riders who joined us. We rode as casual riders, road racers, coffee sippers, cake eaters, gritty mountain bikers, mothers, daughters, fathers, sons and professional athletes.” Her reflection is echoed in myriad crowd-sourced photos and messages shared via social media on event day. It’s a compelling idea for its philosophy of unity — something of value to the wider cycling community, regardless of gender. And by the way, CycloFemme isn’t just for women. Supporters include Peter Sagan of Team Liquigas-Cannondale, who wore his temporary tatt across the finish line to capture the the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday. More photos of the ride, plus thoughts from participants on cycling in NYC:
Dafna Babchuk graduates from FIT this week. Her studies have kept her off the bike, but she says she’s eager to take to the road this summer.
At a meeting point at 54th Street, Janet Harris (right) joins the group and gets ready to apply her CycloFemme tattoo. Harris, who recently started riding a bicycle for recreation along the Hudson River Greenway, says she grew up loving cycling, but is uncomfortable riding with traffic. “Today was very inspiring, ” she said.
CycloFemme riders (left) join the flow of cyclists and runners on the Central Park loop.
Urcella DiPietro started commuting last year. To gain confidence in the bike lanes, she says she set goals for herself — first riding around her neighborhood, then over a bridge, and finally to her office. “You become part of a groove, the flow of the city,” DiPietro says.
Jenn Cash began riding her bicycle two year ago out of frustration with her cross-town commute in Manhattan, which required two trains, plus a walk to reach her office. She says cycling cut her commute time, but, even more valuable is the freedom of not having to rely on, or wait for, public transportation.
Sara Howard is a road cyclist and outdoor enthusiast, who also loves hiking and camping.
Tanya Quick, who organized the event, is a passionate cyclist who rides both for recreation and transportation. She is a partner in the NYC-based design firm Language Dept., which created the visual identity for CycloFemme. (In the background, poppies bloom at 26th Street and the Hudson River Greenway.)
The ride concluded with brunch at the Frying Pan on the Hudson River. Lizania Cruz (right) commuted by bicycle while working in Philadelphia. She rides for recreation in NYC, but is gearing up to begin commuting here, too. Cruz, who works at Language Dept., designed the Cyclofemme logo; she says she drew inspiration from vintage bicycle head badges and European cycling posters.