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‘Cycling Summit’ looks for ways to get more women on bikes

Andy Thompson

October 22, 2014 10:00am

Amy George has been part of RideRichmond since its inception in 2010. The non-profit, she said, was founded to help advocate for bicycle-related issues in the area. But since that time, a number of other organizations have formed with similar missions.

More of this is the idea behind the first Richmond Women's Bike Summit.

Encouraging more of this is the idea behind the first Richmond Women’s Cycling Summit.

“(They) started doing on a full time basis what we were just doing on a volunteer basis, groups like BikeWalkRVA and Ram Bikes. We we kind of stepped back in the spring or summer and thought, ‘You know, what is it that is not being addressed? Women’s cycling is definitely a hot button issue nationally. That was something that wasn’t being addressed in Richmond, so we decided to take it and run with it.”

Thus was born the first-ever Richmond Women’s Cycling Summit, which will take place tomorrow night at the Virginia War Memorial at 7 p.m.

George cited surveys showing that while 82 percent of women hold favorable views of cycling, 76 percent of bike trips (of any kind) were taken by men in the most recent survey year. The question is, “What’s causing that gap? What are the issues locally that can be addressed?

“Then we want to start providing information on how to get involved in different types of cycling. Where should you go to get the information to be confident on a bike?”RVA-womens-bike-summit-2014-578x889

George said the summit, for which 120 women have already registered, isn’t focused on any one type of cycling. “We want to talk about what the barriers are to getting on a bike and riding it more. We’re trying to reach your average community resident, a very broad section of society. We want to normalize cycling, to have it be something where it’s not an unusual part of your daily life.”

The summit activities actually start at 5 p.m. with a casual ride from Lamplighter Coffee to the War Memorial. From 6 to 7 there will be a social hour with refreshments provided by Lamplighter, and at 7 p.m. a panel of seven women, including George, will dive into the issues, hear from the crowd and come up with ways to get more Richmond-area women on bikes.

The event is free, George said, but registration is encouraged so organizers know how many chairs to set up and how much food and drink to make available.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?