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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164

    Organizing a women's bike ride -- help me decide between two options!

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    So I reached out to my local bike shop to try to put together a women's ride for the Cyclofemme mother's day ride. The bike shop does a lot with the community but hasn't (yet) done any women-specific road events so they were pretty on board with the idea.

    We are going back and forth about picking a route, though, and I was hoping someone here could help me decide!

    Option 1: A ~15 mile local road ride originating from the bike shop. One road is somewhat busy but there is a shoulder nearly the entire way, and if there's a big group we could take the lane. (More experienced cyclists ride on this road all the time with no problems.) With the exception of that road, we would be on a combination of very low traffic cyclist friendly roads and multi user paths. There is one long climb out of the park but we can do this on a MUP and keep it slow. This is my preferred option.

    Option 2: A ~10 mile flat loop around the airport near us, entirely on a multi user path. This was the bike shop's recommendation although they are also open to Option 1.

    I prefer Option 1, because I feel that the real barrier to getting more women on bikes is not so much riding a bike at all (tons of families take kids out to the airport loop, for example), but graduating from paths to feeling comfortable riding on roads. That's where beginner-friendly group rides are useful, but when the rides mostly consist of men they can be too intimidating to women. That was my experience at least -- my husband had to basically drag me kicking and screaming to no-drop group rides -- and even today I worry about checking out new no drop rides because if its mostly men that means I will probably still be the slowest and will hold everyone up.

    So that's the gap I'd like to fill. But maybe I am drawing too much from my own experience. It's true that the airport loop would be more welcoming to beginners - I just don't know if that is needed as much. I'm also brand new to organizing things like this so I don't really know what I'm doing!

    Follow up question, are liability forms necessary? This shop does many community rides and no one ever signs anything. But I don't know if I could be held liable since I am working with them to organize it. I'd rather not involve forms, I think that is off-putting, but I also don't want to be sued if anything happens!

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,227
    Cyclofemme is a great organization!!! The ride here is on a bike path for beginners to feel more comfortable. They also give out info to new riders about organizations in the area like C.I.C.L.E. who have new rider classes. I’d ask Cyclofemme about liability issues

    Good luck with yours and I hope you get a good turnout and have a fun day!!!

    Cyclofemme tattoo’s ftw
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    I think I know the airport loop you're talking about, though I've never ridden on it myself. I tend to agree that folks who are new to cycling or just getting back to it after many years will find trails like that on their own. Can I ask what town the shop is in?

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,984
    Not sure the form offers a lot of protection, unless someone is willing to pay that organizational fee (the bike shop has it already? to their insurer?). On a MUP, it would less of a need to sign a waiver for a small group. Doesn't mean nothing can't happen.

    I had understaood Cyclefemme was just a loose organization to encourage other cities worldwide to get women riding. I did go on a Cyclefemme ride locally a few years ago. About 20 people with 2-3 guys. Our route was 75% on a MUP. We finished at a pub. It was the first one organized. Since then, I've seen the annual ride but didn't rejoin.

    Presumably this ride would tend be in earlier in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday on a road...which might have less car traffic? A whole group taking up a lane, is not necessarily an ideal scenario with beginners since they might be misled to believe it's "safer" or appropriate behaviour to chat side by side while taking up a moving car lane. (I hate cyclists riding side by side, and taking up a moving car lane, while they are chatting.) However I agree, that getting used to riding on a road with others is a useful leg up for wannabes.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 04-25-2015 at 11:34 AM.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    Quote Originally Posted by shootingstar View Post
    Not sure the form offers a lot of protection, unless someone is willing to pay that organizational fee (the bike shop has it already? to their insurer?). On a MUP, it would less of a need to sign a waiver for a small group. Doesn't mean nothing can't happen.

    I had understaood Cyclefemme was just a loose organization to encourage other cities worldwide to get women riding. I did go on a Cyclefemme ride locally a few years ago. About 20 people with 2-3 guys. Our route was 75% on a MUP. We finished at a pub. It was the first one organized. Since then, I've seen the annual ride but didn't rejoin.

    Presumably this ride would tend be in earlier in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday on a road...which might have less car traffic? A whole group taking up a lane, is not necessarily an ideal scenario with beginners since they might be misled to believe it's "safer" or appropriate behaviour to chat side by side while taking up a moving car lane. (I hate cyclists riding side by side, and taking up a moving car lane, while they are chatting.) However I agree, that getting used to riding on a road with others is a useful leg up for wannabes.
    In Maryland it is legal for cyclists to take the lane when it is not wide enough for a cyclist and car to be side by side with 3 feet in between. It is not legal to ride two abreast if there is traffic being obstructed.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164
    @nybiker, I'm working with the Hub in Catonsville. The airport loop is the BWI loop. The loop is FINE but I'm just not really sure what the point is if we just go there. If you know Catonsville, the alternate route would be Frederick Rd (that's the busy road)->River into Patapsco, loop around the park, back through River to Frederick (all shoulder this portion) to the Trolley trail and then the bike lane on Edmondson home. Frederick Rd is the only concerning portion.

    @shootingstar you are right that Cyclofemme is just a loose organization -- or at least that's my understanding too! I just saw this as an excuse to get some more women cycling in my neighborhood (and hopefully meet some other ladies to ride with)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    I almost know that area -- I checked it out online and thought I might do some riding there because my nephew recently moved to Maryland and was staying in a temporary rental not far off Edmonson in SW Baltimore. But he ended up finding a more permanent place to live south of the city in AA County.

    This will probably not help you decide on a route, but I had an interesting experience last night. My LBS had a ladies' night, which they do monthly from spring through fall. There were a lot of women there, and we went around the room introducing ourselves and stating our favorite place to ride. Almost every one of them said her favorite place to ride was a local trail in the area. Some of them ride with their kids and others are just getting into cycling or getting back to it after years of raising kids, but I was still surprised at the lack of road riders.

    It could be that a women's event at an LBS tends to attract more women who are less experienced cyclists, for a variety of reasons. So maybe the trail ride would be a good way to start, and then you could gauge interest in a future road ride. Though on the other hand, a 10-mile trail ride might only attract women who are not interested in road riding. I don't know.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    My club recently had a beginner's instructional ride. Not beginner, as in teaching how to actually ride, but, a review of shifting, signaling, cornering, etiquette. I was disappointed to see that the 10 mile ride they took at the conclusion of the clinic was on a trail. I guess this provides a service, but *none* of our club rides are on trails (we really have very few here) and i fear that some of these people may show up for our New Members ride, which is in 2 weeks. They would end up with the slower group, but still, I don't want to inflict a bunch of scared, unprepared for the road riders on my friends who are leading that group. I looked at the pictures that were posted, and it was mostly women, a couple I recognized from our Basic Bike Workshop a couple of weeks ago. I am glad the club did the clinic, but I would have preferred they teach road etiquette and skills on some of the quiet country roads that are in abundance around here!
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,227
    The cyclofemme rides are on mother’s day. A lot of the rides are about mom’s and their children celebrating the day, which is what it is here…..i wouldn’t want the ride here to be on a street. I assume you aren't doing that kind of a ride and have talked about that with the bike store and in promoting it. Besides honoring mom’s it’s also about empowering the future of women in cycling….hence the inclusion of info about riding classes for both children and adults in the ride here....and children luv the tattoo's too
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,162
    Go with your heart - and do the 15 mile ride. Remember it is supposed to be fun and certainly a good chunk of the group will be experienced. Boise has a very active Bike Week with several events and the organizers do have folks sign a release, most people are used to doing that. I used to have a group called "Phatt Bottom Girls" we did a weekly ride and I did not have release forms, I did make it very clear that we were a group of women who enjoyed riding and all were riding at their own risk, we met at a bike shop but it wasn't sponsored by the bike shop. What's everyone else's thoughts?
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164
    Thanks for the input everyone. We went with the road ride -- it should be doable enough for everyone and I believe in stretching people's boundaries!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    Sounds good. I hope you have a great ride!

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

 

 

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