Reminding Ourselves of the Power of WE
By Maria Boustead, Editor and Casey Ashenhurst, Director of WE Bike NYC
WE Bike NYC aims to reflect the diversity of the cycling community in our city and considers inclusivity to be one of our founding values.
WE Bike NYC is an all-volunteer nonprofit, non-partisan organization. Generally, WE’re in favor of getting more women, female-identifying, non-binary, and gender non-conforming folks from all different backgrounds on bikes by breaking down barriers, building community, and supporting each other. WE believe it is central to our mission to approach this work through an intersectional lens, and do our part to make sure we’re working with awareness and care for all different facets of identity in addition to gender expression, including race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, caretaker status, immigrant status, and primary language spoken.
During this tumultuous time of national uncertainty, WE feel our work is needed now more than ever. In the coming months and years, WE are committed to keep doing what WE do best: offer free rides and workshops to all women, female identifying, and gender nonconforming people through our WE Ride, Moms on Wheels, and Mujeres en Movimiento programs. Everyone who attends our events is welcome regardless of race, religion, or cultural background. It’s always been that way and it always will.
WE will continue to be champions of inclusiveness and openness – no matter what you ride, or how you ride, you are enthusiastically and happily welcomed and encouraged to ride with us.
While WE Bike NYC focuses on programming for women, WE also collaborate with other organizations who share our belief that embracing diversity is necessary in building a bicycle community that feels home to everyone. Just last weekend, WE Bike NYC participated in the Bed-Stuy Bike Summit, a gathering of local bicycling community groups, clubs, and advocates, to discuss how WE could work together to affect positive change in bicycling in the neighborhood in 2017.
The topics discussed ranged from how to engage longterm residents of color in cycling, to improving bike infrastructure in the neighborhood, to educating residents on their rights as cyclists. WE look forward to collaborating with the community organizations like the Bed-Stuy Restoration Project, The Brown Bike Girl, and the Mechanical Gardens Bike Co-op this year to help grow the community of women in Bed-Stuy.
Do you have ideas for how to improve cycling in your neighborhood or want to plan rides or workshops for your community? We’re always recruiting volunteers to help us plan and execute programs and we’d love to have you join us. Email us for more info!
Speaking of improving bike infrastructure, you may have noticed that Transportation Alternatives has been busy adding new protected lanes throughout the city (hello beautiful Chrystie St bike lane!). Below are potential projects for each borough for 2017 – make sure to sign the petitions on their website to move the ones forward that you could see making a difference in your neighborhood.
Grand Concourse – a long, wide, and, frankly, terrifying street in the Bronx. 3 people were killed last year alone! Sign the petition.
Flatbush between Empire Blvd and Grand Army Plaza, making it easier and safer to get to Prospect Park. Sign the petition.
Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Manhattan to make it safer to bike in the heart of Manhattan. Sign the petition.
Queens Blvd Phase III will be a big project in 2017, putting an end to the “Boulevard of Death”. Sign the petition.
Van Duzer Street to calm this residential area that cars have been speeding through to bypass major thoroughfares. Sign the petition.
Have an idea of a street that deserves a bike lane? Start your own petition here. Remember that WE have the power to change our city!