Sarai Snyder is the founder of Girl Bike Love, a platform for educating and empowering women in cycling. As a lifelong cyclist, she enjoys every aspect of riding bikes including road, mountain, cyclocross and riding for transportation. Sarai can often be found riding and advocating on the streets and dirt in and around her home in Boulder, Colorado.
May 13, 2012 marked the first celebration of CycloFemme, a tradition for women who ride bikes to Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, Empower the Future.
On May 13, we rode as one in 14 countries on 164 rides. We rode on dirt trails, gravel roads, bike paths and pavement.
After the initial announcement of the global celebration on March 2, the news spread like wildfire through social media. Given the opportunity to celebrate Mother's Day in a very unique way, women, men and children headed the call to "come ride with us".
It was easy to register a ride in observance of CycloFemme as there weren't any rules. The diversity of the rides and riders is apparent in the photo gallery available on Cyclofem.me, evidence of what took place around the world. Using the hashtag #CycloFemme, a quick search of Twitter and Instagram will begin to give you an idea of how the day progressed.
In preparation for rides, many leaders ordered CycloFemme temporary tattoos. The image is of a woman with wings and wheels, empowered and inspirational. Riders all over the globe tatted up as an outward sign of their ride for CycloFemme.
For almost 24 hours a wave of rides started around the globe beginning in Melbourne, Australia before spreading to six other locations on the continent. Next was Afghanistan, where a soldier rode with her friends. Later her sister-in-law would join her by riding in Jamison, Pennsylvania.
Then to Poland, Germany, Sweden, Italy and the UK. As the day progressed, rides began in New York City and Venezuela and spread across the US. There were over 100 rides in the United States alone. Mexico would soon follow.
It's heartwarming to see the photos of women bundled in the UK with skirts, dresses and heels while riders in California and Arizona dressed for sunshine and long rides. Everyone glowed. I don't think I saw a rider without a smile and a proud display of the CycloFemme spirit.
In Portland, Oregon, the ladies had a CycloFemme parade, complete with balloons and a CycloFemme cake. Women and girls were encouraged to tell the story of how the bike changed their lives.
From Berlin, Germany came photos of riders holding paper messages of how riding a bike make them feel.
Women have had very strong ties with the bike since its inception. For women in the 1890s the bicycle was a form of independence, which helped lead to the emancipation of women and the opportunity to wear pants. Today, women's cycling is gaining momentum worldwide, with more emphasis on women's racing and encouragement to get more women and youth riding bikes.
The goal of CycloFemme is to create a unified voice for women's cycling, taking the emphasis off of sport and the technical aspects of cycling, encouraging women to simply ride and celebrate together.
Our mission is simple and agreeable. CycloFemme was created "to honor the past and the emancipation of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, for the freedom to choose and the chance to wear pants. To celebrate the present and the riders who keep it rolling, bringing women’s racing to the forefront, pushing the limits, breaking down barriers and sharing the love of the bike with everyone along the way. To empower the future of women in cycling and the opportunity for positive social change. Teach women to ride and they will change the world."
Although this was the first year, it is evident that in a very short time, we did change the world. Women everywhere were empowered to ride their bikes like never before, joining a movement to encourage others to "come ride with us".
We are so inspired by what happened on May 13, 2012. Our vision for CycloFemme is being directed by all the beautiful stories of two wheeled celebrations. This is the beginning of a wonderful tradition that we hope will inspire more women to ride.
As we prepare for 2013, we are committed to keeping the spirit alive. We are still collecting stories and taking the time to articulate our vision for CycloFemme moving forward. By getting more women on bikes we see the opportunity for positive social change. It is our goal to use the momentum of our May 13th ride to empower this movement in our communities and around the world.