05/14/2019, Women to women: Why I ride
Canyon Hosts Inaugural Women to Women: Why I Ride Symposium
Getting women out to enjoy the health and social benefits of cycling has historically been one of the biggest challenges in cycling. But what really are the barriers women face… and how do we break them down?
While study conducted four years ago by the nonprofit People for Bikes found the gender gap disparity between female and male cyclists wasn’t that large; 43 percent women, versus 57 percent men—a surprisingly positive finding— it doesn’t speak to many of the greater challenges that women across the United States face when getting in to cycling. From the prevalence of fast, male-dominated group rides (and lack of women-only rollouts) to general fear, to cursory reasons like fashion, it seems on its face that getting new female cyclists onto two wheels still has its uphill battles.
On Friday, May 10th, Canyon.Home in Carlsbad played host to the inaugural "From Women to Women: Why I Ride" symposium, providing a forum for women to address one another as cycling peers. Our panel of female cycling advocates—from pros to newcomers—were brought together to discuss challenges and victories as a females in cycling, and deliver a powerful message of female strength in our cycling community, all with the goal of finding ways get more women out enjoying this amazing sport we love.
It was a truly representative panel as well. Ahead of her race at the Tour of California, CANYON//SRAM Racing pro Alexis Ryan joined Priscilla Savord of Fizik, local North County San Diego fitness expert Rana Kennedy of Agility Studio, Kate Powlison of SRAM, Jenn Dice of PeopleForBikes.org. The panel also included Vicky Vante, an aspiring triathete who spoke as a representative of the new female cycling community. Cycling industry veteran Megan Tompkins of Crank Brothers moderated the group as it presented to crowd of women in attendance.
Before the panel talk, however, it only made sense to ride! About 45 women (and a few guys) headed out for a social ride from Canyon.Home in Carlsbad, Calif. south along the coast to Del Mar, returning to an array of hors d’oeuvres and beverages as the group continued to socialize before the evening panel session.
The panel then dove into topics ranging from the simple stuff (comfort in Lycra shorts!) to the complex, including safety on the roads.
The consensus? There’s too much good stuff on bikes for women to be missing out, so it’s imperative to keep driving the message that riding can be racing, and it can be commuting, but above all, it must be fun.
“To get more women riding, it really needs to be less grit your teeth, racing focused, and more, for many women, about just enjoying riding,” said Powlison.
Given the positive feedback from the event, we can expect the another symposium soon as we continue to support the drive to get more women riding!