Introducing: Women & Bicycles

Now that the weather is warming up we are beginning to see more than a few bicyclists out on the road. Bike racks are filling up at schools and businesses and you might have to be a little patient as you ride in bike lanes or bike trails as more people take out their bicycles and get back into the habit of riding.

The Alliance for Bicycling and Walking 2014 Benchmark reports that 0.7% people in Wisconsin commute to work. Our state  is ranked 13th in the country. Of those commuters, 31% of women. This number is up 28% from five years ago.

Census Bureau released a new report on U.S. commuting, heralding a 60% increase in bike commuting over the past decade. Men are almost 3 times more likely to bicycle to work.

In the Netherlands, women make 55% of all cycling trips; in Germany they make 49% of all cycling trips. By contrast, in the U.S. only 24% of all cycling trips are made by women.

Why does this matter:

  • Bicycling has a large impact on Wisconsin’s economy;  a greater number of women riders would be good for tourism dollars and bike shops, where women are more likely to make bike related purchases
  • Health cost savings; active commuting  improves  health and reduces health care costs
  • Budgets: commuting saves money; a 10 mile round-trip commute saves $10 a day
  • Women are concerned about the vitality of neighborhoods and communities where we can bike are where we want to live
At the Wisconsin Bike Fed, we see this all of these ideas as a good reason to engage more women in bicycling. We want more women as riders, leaders, and advocates to make our communities better places to live. We would like to see Wisconsin increase the percentage of women bicyclists to come closer to a balance.

We would like to utilize women from around the state who have found the joy of bicycle transportation and would like to share that passion with women in their lives who have not had the opportunity to experience bicycles to travel.

Last week I taught a Go by Bike Class at the La Crosse YMCA, where Lisa came to learn how she could get started riding from her home in La Crosse to her job as the Youth Coordinator  at the YMCA.  Her commute is four miles and she wanted to know some of the basic information about bike route planning, rules of the road, and how to make sure her bike would work for her trip.


Carrie, a seasoned La Crosse commuter, rides all year. As an ES-L teacher at the university, her daily commute is only a couple of miles.  She also uses her bicycle for all of her short trips around town. Carrie enjoys riding her bicycle for fun,  for the environment, for exercise,  and because it  is cheap. Bicycling helps her stay in tune with the seasons, hearing the birds after a long winter and seeing the  trees budding and then  later, the blossoms.


Wouldn’t it be great to connect these two women?  We know there are lots of women across the state who love to ride;

We are excited to launch our Women & Bicycles Roll Model Program where women will agree to be Roll Models to inspire women in their lives to try riding a bicycle.  The commitment involves:

  • Host one meet-up for ten women centered around a casual conversation about bicycling
  • Organize one workshop for women on your choice of bicycle content
  • Organize one social bicycle ride for women
  • Communicate about events and ideas through our Women & Bicycling Facebook Group

Claire loves to bicycle on cross-country cycling adventures during the summertime, but her bike remains her main form of transportation when she’s at home, too. She’s an  an active member of the cycling community in Stevens Point, advocating for safer bike routes and supporting local bike maintenance facilities. She’s  a constant advocate for choosing to ride rather than drive.


Maddy‘s family has been influential in her love of biking. Biking gives her an escape from everyday life as well as allows her to clear her head and really put things into perspective. There are very few obstacles on the road that cannot be maneuvered around and each one given Maddy. Maddy looks forward to sharing her  family’s love of biking with her daughter


Cassandra is a long-time resident of Madison.   It’s hard for here to imagine her life without cycling. But it wasn’t until she  started working in the cycling industry five years ago that she  realized the impact commuting by bike had! It’s a way to stay physically fit, a way to reduce traffic congestion, a way to relieve stress, and a way to bring people together. My regular mode of transportation quickly became a passion that she  want to share with others.

Are you interested in becoming a Roll Model in the Women & Bicycle program? Contact Carolyn Dvorak to find out more.


About Carolyn Dvorak, Southwest Region Director

Carolyn lives in La Crosse with her husband and two daughters. She has loved riding a bicycle throughout her life. She enjoys working in the La Crosse area helping to create great places to bicycle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *