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Santa Monica Bike Center to Celebrate Women and Bikes

SuffragettesBCThe Santa Monica Bike Center will host a “Cycles and Suffragette” Tea Party Thursday evening at Bird Pick Tea & Herb to celebrate Women’s History Month and the role played by bicycles in the struggle for equal rights.

At the event, Bike Center staff will also discuss their experience at the National Women’s Bicycling Forum they attended in Washington, D.C. as well as screen a documentary about Annie Kopchovsky, the first woman to bike around the world.

“We want to share all of the invigoration we got from participating in the Women’s Bike Forum in D.C.,” said Lyndsay McKeever, outreach coordinator for the Santa Monica Bike Center.

Thursday’s event will also give participants a chance to network and answer the question, “How can we encourage more women to commute by bike in Los Angeles?”

“There is a gender gap in bicycling,” McKeever said, adding that the idea for this event came out of a national movement called “Women Bike.”

According to the League of American Bicyclists, in 2009, only 24 percent of bicycle trips in the U.S. were made by women.

“Women Bike” aims to change that and McKeever hopes that Thursday’s event will not only encourage more women to bike but also explore the long history between women’s fight for equal rights and bicycling.

“At a time when women wore long corset dresses, restricting their mobility, and were expected to remain at home, the bicycle became the vehicle upon which Suffragettes were able to escape the house, meet and fight for gender equality,” Bike Center officials wrote on their website in a blog post advertising the event.

Participants in Thursday’s event, which runs from 6 to 8 pm, will get a chance to see The New Woman, a new documentary about Annie Kopchovsky, who circumnavigated the globe by bike over the course of 15 months at the end of the 19th century.

A Q&A session with Director Gillian K. Willman will follow the movie.

“It was important to us that it not be a ‘women’s’ event,” said McKeever, adding that though the event is motivated by encouraging more women bikers, it is open to everyone.

“We would like to continue to build the momentum to get more women to commute by bike,” she said.

Jason Islas | 

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