[Philadelphia Inquirer] In a few weeks, I’m going to ride my bicycle from New York City to Washington, D.C.
I have never attempted such a feat before — certainly not in the winter! But I’m not crazy, I promise. I’m doing this for a good reason, and so are the nine other women riding with me.
We are part of an event called #WEBiketoDC, organized by WE Bike NYC, a group based in New York City that works to make bicycling more accessible to women and female-identified people. The ten of us riding represent five organizations with overlapping missions, from three cities: WE Bike NYC, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Black Women Bike: DC, and, from Philly, Gearing Up and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. I work for both of the Philadelphia organizations, and am excited to have Kaelin Proud, Program Director at Gearing Up, representing Philly with me.
Our destination is the National Women’s Bicycling Forum and National Bike Summit in Washington D.C., March 3-5. Women are underrepresented in the cycling and cycling advocacy community, and we hope to emphasize the importance of the work we are doing, and the need to bring new and diverse voices into the biking conversation.
You know what my favorite part is? This crazy, bike-loving psychopath leads off by saying that it’s “for a good cause.” I’ll be honest, I saw that and assumed that it was some sort of charity ride, and I’d have to tread carefully when it came to making fun of them. Nope. Not even a little bit. The “good cause” is apparently just getting to the “National Bike Summit,” which, until I read this article, I didn’t know existed at all, let alone that it’s being hosted in my goddamn backyard less than a month from now.
That’s the level of fantasyland delusion we’re dealing with when it comes to bicyclists. I used to get annoyed at these charity rides, because if we’re being honest, you know these pedalfuckers don’t give two shits about charity. They’re just trying to raise twenty bucks so they can slap a flyer in front of their handlebars and use it to deflect any criticism about their asshole behavior.
Because seriously: a group that “works to make bicycling more accessible to women and female-identified people?” Are you fucking kidding me? Look I’m not gonna take on the feminists here because that’s basically committing blog suicide, but this lady has to be fucking with me. We live in a male oriented society. I’ll give you that. Men tend to make more money than women. That’s an injustice, it’s true. But you’re really gonna sit here and pretend that The Patriarchy is running around denying women access to bikes? How in the name of fuck does bicycling become a gender-based issue? I’ve been sitting here for fifteen minutes trying to find some sort (ANY sort) of psychotic justification for segregating bicyclists along gender lines, and my brains are starting to melt out of my fucking ears.
But let’s just set aside this looming invasion of sociopathic, gender-obsessed sexists for a moment (let me tell you, I never would have thought such a horrifying prospect would be merely a secondary concern) and focus on the real issue here: the “National Bike Summit” exists, it’s in about three weeks, and it’s happening right under my nose.
On the one hand, I can’t really do anything. I’ve always been an advocate of nonviolence. I refuse to sink to the bicyclists’ level, and I refuse to endorse anyone else doing so either. It’s our duty to prove that we are the civilized party here. But on the other hand I can’t just let this stand, right? I can’t just let this convention of crazies go off without a hitch, can I? I mean DC is already in a swamp. Add in the hot air billowing out of this self-congratulatory circlejerk of a summit and the entire city of DC may succumb to global warming decades ahead of schedule. I definitely don’t want an entire city sinking into the mud on my conscience. I’ll have to sleep on this one and come up with a game plan. Maybe I can get a press pass and conduct some interviews when they’re off their guard? “National Bike Summit: the Inside Story.” Might as well buy a frame for my Pulitzer Prize right now, because that baby is going up on the wall for sure.