This morning I was reading Copenhagen Cycle Chic’s report on the véloculture in Paris. It’s so wonderful to read about the success of the Vélib program. Since the program was introduced last summer, biking has exploded in the city of Paris.
When I lived in Paris many years ago, transportation options were limited to
- Métro (efficient but underground so you can’t enjoy the scenery, also crowded and stinky at times)
- Bus (also efficient but always crowded)
- Walking (my preferred method of transport but took a long time to get anywhere)
Biking around Paris would have been so great!
Tim and I were there last July and we missed the installation of the Vélib bikes by one week. We saw the stations all over town, but they were all bikeless. We walked and took the Metro – but would have prefered cruising around Paris on bikes. I guess we’ll have to go back and give Vélib a try.
While Copenhagen Cycle Chic’s post was about biking culture in Paris – my key take away was this quote:
The key to any successful bike culture is to get women onto bikes. They are the group that is most likely to ride and yet least likely to actually do it, especially in urban settings.
In my urban biking travels I meet women every day who tell me:
- they love my bike
- they see me riding everywhere
- they are inspired by me
Yet they don’t ride.
Usually my response is: it’s fun, it’s easy, you should do it, you should ride, join me. Lately I’ve also heard a few say I’ve inspired them to get out and ride to work, the store etc. To which I say – way to go!
A few of our male readers have told us that they ride but their wife/girlfriend/partner doesn’t. Or that their wife/girlfriend/partner didn’t used to ride, but I have inspired them to do so. That makes me smile.
In my tiny corner of North Seattle, I occasionally see other women on bikes going about their daily business, but not very many. The majority of the female riders I encounter are students commuting to the UW. I also see female bike commuters riding to and from work. I don’t see many female bikers getting groceries, picking up library books, taking kids to soccer practice or riding them to music class. (I don’t see many men doing this either for that matter)
What if more women used their bikes for daily transportation:
- Would the volume of cyclists on the road increase?
- Would more women on the road validate Seattle or any other city as a bike culture?
- Do you think women are the key to a successful bike culture?
- Will Womankind save Mankind?
Any ideas about what it’s going to take to get more women riding bikes?