If you want to know whether your city is bike friendly, find out how many women are biking.
Safety is the most important concern for women when deciding to bike on the road, according to Pacific Standard. But the rush of fast-moving car traffic that defines Los Angeles might be stopping women from biking.
A homegrown team of environmental justice and bicycle advocates wants more bicycle, pedestrian and transit friendly streets in the San Gabriel Valley, and they believe one strategy is to get more women biking on the road.
The El Monte-based bicycle advocacy organization, BikeSGV, has a project called Women on Wheels that plans women-only rides “to create a safe supportive space for women to gain confidence riding bikes, and empower them to become bicycle advocates in our San Gabriel Valley community," said Amy Wong, BikeSGV’s outreach coordinator.
Women on Wheels is hosting a free group bike ride to Alhambra’s Certified Farmers Market on September 18, in which woman-identified folks will have the opportunity to connect with health, wellness and sustainability resources. The organization encourages women to join them on a 10-mile roundtrip ride that will begin in Rosemead Park at 9 a.m.
They will stop at Sapphire Dance and Fitness Studio in San Gabriel, meet folks from the Crossed Pollinations Exhibition which will be featured at the Alhambra Civic Center Library, and hear from API Obesity Prevention Alliance about their community-supported agriculture program.
“We chose [to start at] Rosemead Park because it is within five miles from Alhambra’s farmers market, which is one of the larger farmers markets in the San Gabriel Valley,” Wong said. “I personally have ridden from Rosemead Park to Alhambra’s farmers market before, so I thought it would be a safe, beginner friendly, women friendly ride.”
Ride marshals will monitor traffic conditions for riders who might not feel comfortable biking on busy roads. A stretch of their route will also feature the only protected bike lane in the San Gabriel Valley, which is located on Rosemead Boulevard between Las Tunas Drive and Broadway in Temple City.
“It can inspire women to get into bicycle advocacy and realize the importance of infrastructure, having bike lanes in their own city to get around, and knowing their community better," Wong said.
Attendees are encouraged to show up with their bike, helmet, water bottle, cash, and panniers. Monica Curiel, BikeSGV’s active transportation data coordinator, recommends riding on a cruiser or road bike for this ride. A mountain bike will not be as comfortable, but it is still suitable for this ride.
If Alhambra residents cannot attend the ride to the farmers market, there is another opportunity to bike on October 9 to the 24th Annual Pumpkin Festival at Cal Poly Pomona on the “Mammas and Me” ride. Bring any mother you know to this multigenerational women’s ride that has a 9 a.m. meet time at Thomas Plaza in Downtown Pomona.
Previous bike rides that Women on Wheels has organized this year include a May 1 ride to the Cogswell Dam and an April 17 ride to Fish Canyon in Duarte.