Alternative title: “A Women’s Place in the Bicycle Industry”
In September of this year, I wrote an article titled “How Do We Make Women’s Cycling Better?”
It went viral. I received several emails and a ton of social coverage. Then I deleted it.
The article contradicting everything I believe can “fix” our broken bike industry. The now canned article was focused on singling out women to make biking better for women. That is not what we need. In the moment I got sucked into the mindset of “women need women” to make the world better. While I still believe communities of like-minded people are healthy, I strongly believe that we need everyone to pitch in, and it is a bigger problem than getting more women to bike. We need to be more inclusive to get more people biking We need better stories to tell, better businesses to grow, and BOTH men and women need to be apart of the movement.
Late last year I felt the imposter syndrome of calling myself “Bike Shop Girl” since I no longer work in a bike shop and that I needed to tailor my content to be focused on “women’s cycling” instead of my own point of view reviews and editorial of the biking world. I pushed Bike Shop Girl into an archive folder and launched a new site “Women’s Cycling” to focus more on a media outlet and less of an independent voice.
I was wrong. I made a mistake in thinking that my voice was somehow not valid because I didn’t actively work in a bike shop. And now, I am unwinding it with Bike Here. More than ever we need less media noise and more strong, trustworthy, voices. We need role models, button pushers, and fact checkers. In my specialty, we need someone advocating for a better bike community. So here I am letting it all fly and stepping up to bat.
I can’t sit here and say I know the solutions to everything going wrong in the US bike industry, but I can tell you where I can have the biggest impact. First a foremost, we will continue to develop Bike Here as an avenue for new riders to find a welcoming biking community and valuable resources. Second, I plan on continuing to help bike industry brands and bike shops expand their reach with a strategic business and effective marketing. The last step in my “better bike industry” plan is to bring together the best and brightest people I know in the industry for honest conversations on a podcast, Shift Up – Building a better bike industry, coming in January of 2018.
At the end of the day, I want a stronger and more inclusive bike industry. A world I would be proud to bring my kids into.
This bike life has kicked me down. I lost faith that the industry was where I belonged. I moved across the country to Colorado to find isolation in motherhood and separation from the trails I love. Instead of asking for help I stepped back and hoped these massive companies and associations were going to make it better for me. I thought I could turn my back on everything I’ve known to make a better life outside of the bike industry. Instead, I only found loneliness and a deeper need for the bike community and friends. When trying to find my way I realized that the bike life is at my core and being an active, trustworthy, voice is my calling. I’ve sat silently for too long.
Let’s make this bicycle industry better, stronger, smarter. If we don’t, who will?
You are going to see my writing and videos steadily increasing as I find my footing. I plan on going back to what I am good at, an editorial narrative to create a better bike industry.