“Why do you think that organizing women around biking is important?”
It’s a question at the heart of our Women Bike SF program and one that inspired Timbuk2’s Marketing Manager Vanessa Christie to delve into the history of biking imagery.
“Very few women were historically shown or featured in aspirational photography, articles or advertising for bikes or biking, and although that is improving, there are still very loud messages out there to say that biking is a masculine or male activity that requires courage to do, especially in a city,” Vanessa told us. “Creating environments that show women who ride, is an important measure to counter this misconception and breaking down barriers for more women to think about biking.”
Vanessa is joining the party on Thursday, Oct. 22 to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our Women Bike SF program. We launched the program to create space for women, trans* and other female-identified individuals to come together and share their experiences biking around San Francisco. In our city, just 32 percent of people biking are women — better than the national average of 24 percent, but well below their share of the population.
“Empowering women to ride through specific organization will help create a critical mass of voices, leadership and beliefs to achieve more and safer bike infrastructure, thus enabling even more people to think about biking as transportation,” Vanessa said.
For Vanessa, Women Bike SF is a part of the solution to the problem that not everyone knows how to, or otherwise can bike. In addition to volunteering as part of our Freedom From Training Wheels team, teaching kids to bike at Sunday Streets events across SF, Vanessa is an advocate for biking accessibility in the Bayview, where she lives.
“There is an assumption that all people either know how to ride a bike and have the means to bike,” Vanessa said. “I’d love to address this in ways that are easier for residents in neighborhoods like the Bayview and Excelsior, which aren’t typically targeted for increasing ridership.”
For more from Vanessa on empowering people to bike, please join her and fellow panelists Supervisor Jane Kim and SF Yellow Bike co-founder Mary Kay Chin to celebrate the first year of our Women Bike SF program on Oct. 22.