Women & Bicycling inSonoma County, CA Sandra Lupien, Outreach Director Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition
Sonoma County: The Scene • Population approx 500,000 • About 50/50 female/male • Suburban/rural • One-third live in unincorporated County • Great bike/ped plans for the future • Coast, forest, agricultural; wine country
Bike Scene • Cycling #2 tourism draw • Recreational road cycling • Mountain biking • Large fundraiser rides • Pro racer training destination/home base for several teams • Leisure cycling • Low transportation cycling
Organizations & Clubs • Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition • Santa Rosa Cycling Club • Petaluma Wheelmen • Bike Monkey/Velostreet • Sonoma Valley Cyclists • HillJillys Women’s Bike Club • Jill B. Nimble Women’s Bike Club • Many other teams/smaller clubs
Women & Bicyclingin Sonoma County • Sonoma County Transportation Authority 2010 bike counts: 21% women • Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition Membership: 46% women • Santa Rosa Cycling Club Membership: 30% women • Women’s shop rides • HillJillys • Jill B. Nimble • Biker Chicks
Biker Chicks Women’s Rides Supervisor Shirlee Zane got inspired by SCTA bike count! • SCBC, Regional Parks worked with Zane to launch Biker Chicks • Monthly, entry-level rides • Come as you are • Any kind of bike • Lots of mentorship/skills training • Social outing at the end!
Biker Chicks – an early success! • 35 – 50 women per ride • Many women over 50 • “I haven’t ridden in 30 years!” • “It’s great getting out with other women!” • “My husband/partner rides too fast!” • “I feel nervous because I don’t know how to fix a flat.” • “I love the social component!” • “I didn’t know I could ride that far!”
Women & Bicycling in Sonoma County: A closer look Survey conducted in June/July 2012 by SCBC • 269 Responses
Organized Rides comments • I spin at the club like a mad fiend. In class or alone about 100 miles/week. Want to ride outdoors but need help and fearful of accidents, clips, busted tire, etc. • I would like to learn more • I have done organized rides but I also ride more often informally both alone and with friends. • I am never quite up to the organized rides as they go further distances or are much too fast. • Biker chicks. So glad for a group to ride with that is open to all women of various shapes, ages etc.
Solo, or…? comments • I do all of the above ... hard to pick a "prefer" choice • I like to challenge myself by riding w/ others that are better than me so I can become a stronger cyclist • Usually they are faster than me, so it frustrates me! • I'm not a "talker" on the road~ I tend to like more of a quiet ride • I ride with my children and husband - family transportation • I'd love to ride with more groups, but its not flexible enough to have a full family schedule as well. • SAFTEY IN NUMBERS • I ride alone but would prefer to ride with a group
I would ride more if… comments • More Bike routes completely removed from car-populated streets • I would love to find more female riders my level and generally would like to feel safer on the roads. I recently moved from East Bay and see a unique anger from motorists toward cyclists in Sonoma County. • Learn to use all those darn gears! • I would need to re-order priorities. I just find that I have too many demands on my time to set aside enough for riding. • If it was encouraged by the workplace and/or the cities. • I am fit so I have been told the beginner rides would be a bit boring. I have limited time and I want to feel like I got a good fun work out • More bike safety laws for cyclist and motor vehicles • Would like more group rides at my level that are no drop I'm an A rider. • although i ride all over, i dont feel safe biking to many destinations in santa rosa with my kids • If I could get a really good bike with top notch components (hill climbing gears, all carbon, etc.) with hybrid handle bars because I can't bend over! • There was less air pollution from cars. • Really easy group mountain bike rides. • I think some sections of the Joe Rodota and Santa Rosa Creek trails are unsafe for women riding alone. • Emergency phone number to call
Do you ride with your kids? Why/not? • Yes. This is how we get to school, dance classes, viola classes, grocery store, library, friends houses, etc. • Not really--don't feel at all safe with kids on the roads & we are far from any bike paths • Yes. My daughter is 15 and on Team Swift, which is AWESOME! • My kids are 7 & 10 They grow too quickly I cant afford to buy them good bikes so they have trouble on longer rides. • I ride occasionally with my daughter, who is 9. She can do up to 12 miles pretty well, but isn't yet up for the more challenging (hills, longer distance) yet. • I wish. Younger teen daughter refuses to ride bike. Older daughter is a triathlete and is far too strong for me to ride with. • I don't yet have a seat on my bike for my child and don't feel that a trailer is very safe for kids on Sonoma county streets
Invited to ride? What questions do you ask? • "Beginners," and "casual" are often key words that catch my eye. I also love the concept of those rides to pizza or beer -- I like having a tangible reward at the end. • Length, how often one can stop, location, flat or hilly. I need to be able to go at my own fairly slow pace and accommodate health restrictions. • Who is going, how fast do they ride, how much climbing. Are there fun stops along the way? Are we riding TO a destination or just riding? • Is it "no drop"? What is the average pace on the flat? Are there regroups? Are people comfortable in a paceline? • Distance, cadence, and what they are wearing... I don't wear the spandex biking attire.
Invited to ride? What questions do you ask? • Key words for me would be: beginner, no one left behind, women, coffee and a chat, bikes available to borrow, etc. • Could someone riding a commute bike in regular street clothes ride with the group? How fast would the group ride? How hilly is the route? • Will I be left behind if my skill is not good. Are there a lot of cars on the street. don't like to ride with cars, know too many people hit or killed. • Speed is the big factor for me. Are the other riders fast? Are there steep hills involved? Will I feel like I'm holding people back? Even if it's a "no one left behind" ride, I don't want to be the one that the group is always waiting for.
What we’ve learned so far… • Short flat rides with an option of something a bit more challenging • Stops along the way • Social opportunity at the end • Experienced riders to mentor new and returning riders • Offer skills training for your ride group • Keep in touch between rides • Comfortable, fun atmosphere • Community leader involvement • Supportive, not coddling • Lots of press
Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition www.BikeSonoma.orgSandra LupienOutreach DirectorSandra@BikeSonoma.org, 707-545-0153