Bike Talk: How To Use Cycling To Save The Future

26 January, 2017

I went to the Women's March on Jan 21st, feeling empowered and sure that our voices would be heard. However, this week has been filled with harrowing news of erasing years of women's progress under the terms of "executive order". What was a loud roar from women was met with political leaders retaliation on all fronts. In these harrowing times, many of us have more to worry about. People of color. Immigrants. Refugees. The LGBTQ community. People with disabilities. Those who need access to affordable health care. Those who want a quality education for their children. This affects us all, most of us in more ways than one. With so much at stake, there are many questions we all have but more pressing, what can we as women in cycling do to save the future? 

It's time to stand up and fight. As female cyclists, we are tough as shit. We climb uphill, shred tracks, and dodge dangers on the roads. We sweat, we push, we dig deep to keep going. That tenacity is what the world needs from us now. 

This new political climate we live in stretches much further than the women's cycling advocacy I've been focused on for the past few years. This brings back the other causes I used to fight for: gay rights and equality, climate change, women's reproductive rights, immigration and refugees. In my own thoughts, I've often wondered what is the women's cycling community going to do. We have concerns that reach far beyond the bike. How do we protect the places we play and live? The friends and family we love? What do we do? We have been in this fight for long to know that we are equipped to adapt our lifestyle to accommodate the grit and tenacity to protect what matters.

There is a lot of work to be done and we have so much to give. But where do we start? I think the first thing to figure out is what issues matter to your group most. What do you want to invest your time and energy into? Is it climate change, reproductive rights, youth homelessness, safe streets, or sustainability? How about immigration and tackling racism, transphobia, refugee crises, saving the bees, saving the glaciers, endangered species, water, public lands, native lands, and fighting white supremacy. Pick your cause and then roll up your sleeves.

Here are a few ways to use your cycling group to be active:

You can't fight causes alone so join or build a cycling community. Reach out to friends, other advocates, join groups, marches, read books, organize. Through this, remember the value of each other and your experiences. Protect each other, support one another, care and love each other fiercely.

Give to organizations you support. I'm a big advocate for supporting research in climate change and sustainability and love supporting organizations like 350 Org, Cool Effect, Green Peace, and League of American Bicyclist. Sign up for memberships, donate $25 dollars once a month. I know it's tough to sacrifice our comforts but we cannot afford to destroy our planet and the public landscapes we love riding on.

Start using your social channels and rides for advocacy. Get loud and vocal about the issues you care about. Amplify your allies and support your community.

Express your disappointment to elected officials who aren't serving you and your community. Pick up the phone. Write a collective letter or individual to send out in a collective packet. Post messages and photos on social media to get your work out.

Attend Protests. March alongside your community. Make signs, sing chants, hold hands with people you don't know. Be present for the issues that matter to you.

Volunteer or work in a community organization you love. Contributing locally helps facilitate unity in your own community while helping each other remember there is light in the darkness. In the women's cycling community, there is often opportunity to host bike rides for causes or talks at a bike shop to raise proceeds to fund and support an organization that helps fight for causes.

It’s going to be a long, hard four years for advocates but we can do this. We cyclists know, we use our own bodies to go far distances, we push our bodies past our limits, we get out for the sunrise, we climb to the top, we refuse to fail. I never expected this outcome, but here it is. Here we are, in this new reality–and our only option is to fight. So let’s fight hard, together.

image courtesy @ptran_no_more

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