Women In Motion: New Lady Riders Reflect on NYC Cycling
There are more cyclists in NYC than ever before, and an increasing number of women using bikes are part of the story. The reasons are many. For one, NYC has added over 200 miles of bike lanes in the last three years making streets safer. Mothers are biking their kids to school and bringing home groceries on the backs of their bikes. More women are commuting to work and enjoying nightlife by bike. All the while, these women are getting more exercise and increasing their energy, saving money, protecting the environment, and getting things done more efficiently than before. Yet there still remains a disparity in the numbers of women versus men cyclists.
So what's it gonna take to increase NYC's percentage of women riding bikes?
Streetfilms went out to talk to a few new-to-the-streets women cyclists and find out what got them cycling, what their biking experience is like and find out the role cycling has taken on in their lives. We hope you'll find their comments enlightening and thought-provoking.
Ro Johnson: [00:05] I would say I probably haven’t ridden a bike since I was a child. I haven’t seen the necessity for one, you know, there’s the subway, I had my car. I knew it was a possibility, but never even contemplated it as a realistic option.
Rachel Holtzman: [00:22] I took no issue with it taking me like half an hour, but within my neighbourhood and when you bike you realise that like it’s kind of crazy. My name is Rachel Holtzman, I am an editor and I’ve been biking for about two months, so I’m a new biker. It’s a means to getting around more efficiently, to… to plugging into community, and that was kind of my “aha” moment that biking was like this really cool thing that was a lot more than a sport.
Karyn Williams: [00:56] I am Karyn Williams and I work as a landscape architect.
Samelys Lopez: [00:59] My name is Samelys Lopez and currently I’m a project manager. I really started riding my bike religiously nine months ago.
Xue Yun Go: [01:07] My name is Xue Yun Go, I’m 18 and I’ve been bicycling since July this year doing the programme Bike Sploration.
Speaker: [01:18] Our mission is to introduce youth from underserved communities to issues in urban planning and we’re using bikes as a way to explore the city.
Samelys Lopez: [01:28] That sense of ownership which is linked to advocacy because we feel it’s a sense of entitlement and you feel comfortable with diverse groups, exploring different things.
Xue Yun Go: [01:36] It is like so much different, like as a biker, as a cyclist, it’s just totally different experience when you’re there.
Ro Johnson: [01:42] My name is Rose Johnson. I have been biking for about four months now.
Rachel Holtzman: [01:50] By seeing more women bikers I think it says to other women, this is something you can do.
Ro Johnson: [01:55] I started getting interested in biking when I noticed all the bike lanes and all the bikers, and I said, hey, I don’t necessarily need my gym subscription, I could ride my bike everywhere. You know when I told many of my friends that I was going to do this, they were like I wouldn’t even want to ride my bicycle in the street. And it just... it led me to like kind of face my fear and, you know, and conquer it.
Rachel Holtzman: [02:21] When I wake up in the morning, I can wear what I want to wear, I’m going to go do what I want to do, and now I have the means to do it.
Mythili Rao: [02:33] My name is Mythili Rao and I’ve been biking since May, so just a few months now. I notice when I bike to work, it’s about the same amount of time that I would spend sitting on the train anyway. And I’ve gotten half an hour of exercise that I wouldn’t have got at all otherwise.
Ro Johnson: [02:48] It’s a new thought pattern to think that… to think of bicycling as transportation.
Karyn Williams: [02:54] One thing I think is unique about New York is that in New York it can be beyond recreation. It’s another alternative to taking the subway or the bus.
Ro Johnson: [03:02] If you make use of cycling, you can, you know, supplement your transportation needs.
[03:09] I was so happy taking subway. I walked everywhere.
It was just something I like set aside time to do. You get used
to it, you get comfortable and it’s like it’s the same thing with
trying to get people out of their cars. It’s like this is the
way people have lived their lives. It’s going to take a lot
to make them see the light, a better way.