Celebrate Women’s History Month with Bikes!

This article was written by Margaret McCarthy and published in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Bike About Town column.

A recent San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency survey found that only a third of the people biking in San Francisco are women – higher than the national average of 29 percent, but not by much. Although women are a decided minority of riders nationwide, an August report from the League of American Bicyclists found they represent 47 percent of the paid staff at bicycle advocacy organizations. (Here in the Bay Area, 4 out of 5 bicycle advocacy organizations are led by women.)


March is Women’s History Month, and it’s shaping up to be a bonanza of bike events for women and transgender and femme people. With so many upcoming rides and classes focused on women and biking, the hope is there’ll be more ladies in the lanes faster than you can say, “Susan B. Anthony would be proud.” Here are a few examples:

Women Over 50, Pedaling With Gusto: March 9, 10AM-1PM

Gals With Gears is a group of 50-plus women seeking fun, healthy and practical bicycling in San Francisco. If you’ve been hankering for a friendly, noncompetitive women’s riding group, come be one of the gals. On March 9, they’re going to ride from the Ferry Building along the Bay Trail to Heron’s Head Park before returning to enjoy the first Sunday Streets of the year, which will extend from Fisherman’s Wharf to Pier 52. The ride will be approximately 10 miles. (10 am-1 pm Free. Meet at the Plaza opposite the Ferry Building, the Embarcadero at Market Street. http://bit.ly/1kHqhPB)

WTF Urban Biking? WTF Urban Biking: March 11, 6:30-7:30 PM

Gain confidence and learn the rules of the road in this Intro to Urban Biking class for women and transgender and femme people, taught by a female instructor from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. If you’re someone who knows how to ride but is concerned about how to ride safely in the city, this is the course for you. In 2013, the coalition taught more than 1,000 people in adult bike education classes. (6:30-7:30 p.m. March 11. Free. Good Vibrations, 1620 Polk St.www.sfbike.org/edu).

Bike the 19th Amendment: March 22, 2PM

The next time someone expresses surprise that you biked in a dress, try reminding them that women have been successfully riding in skirts for over 100 years. Get ready to nerd out on women’s history and learn more about the surprising and fascinating intersections of women’s suffrage and cycling in the United States on this fun, casual ride through various San Francisco neighborhoods. Will there be cupcakes at the end? There just might be. (2 p.m. March 22. Free for San Francisco coalition members; $10 suggested donation for nonmembers. Meet at San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, 833 Market St. http://bit.ly/1ez4dye)

Be Your Own Bike Mechanic: March 14 & 28, 6-9PM

The nonprofit Bike Kitchen hosts open workshop hours exclusively for women and transgender and femme people every second and fourth Friday. All volunteer mechanics present are female and transgender, and they can teach you how to work on your bike regardless of skill level. Let this be your chance to get up to your elbows in bike grease and to finally learn how to lube that chain. (6-9PM, March 14 and 28. $5 day-use fee. The Bike Kitchen, 650H Florida St. www.bikekitchen.org.)

Ride for the First Time: March 29, 1:30-5PM

If you’ve never learned to ride, make March your month. Start with the Traffic Skills 101 course, a four-hour presentation that uses the curriculum of the League of American Bicyclists. The in-class course – this month it’s for women only – is perfect for first-time riders or those hoping to advance their skills. (1:30-5PM March 29. Free. The Women’s Building, 3543 18th St. http://bit.ly/MS713h)

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