For me, the most inspiring and exciting moment of 2012 was standing at the podium at the National Women’s Bicycling Summit, looking out at a packed room of female leaders from across the country. I barely got the word “Welcome” out of my mouth when a woman in the crowd yelled, “It’s about time!” — and the audience exploded in cheers and applause.
The impetus for the League’s newest program — Women Bike — started with a conversation at the Alliance Leadership Retreat in 2010. But 2012 was the year the idea became a reality.
The first step was the National Women Cycling Forum at the 2012 National Bike Summit. Hosted in partnership with the Alliance and APBP, the two-hour panel drew more than 300 attendees and quickly became the talk of the Summit. Galvanized by the insight of leaders like Elysa Walk (General Manager, Giant Bicycles), Veronica Davis (co-founder of Black Women Bike DC) and Marla Streb (former world champion mountain bike racer), we knew this was a conversation we needed to pursue.
So, less than a week after the Forum, I started planning a full-day event: The National Women’s Bicycling Summit in Long Beach, Calif. Once again, the response exceeded even my high expectations. The six break-out session, ranging from Marketing to Political Engagement to Women in Bicycle Sports, included an incredible and diverse line-up of speakers and more than a few folks flew all the way across the country to attend the one-day event.
Seeing women at the podium, showcasing our expertise, was a powerful signal of our leadership in the movement and the energy and momentum were the perfect catalyst to launch Women Bike as a full-scale program in 2013. Watch a video about the event below.
Carolyn SzczepanskiCarolyn joined the League in March 2012, after two years at the Alliance for Biking & Walking. In addition to managing the League's blog, magazine and other communications, Carolyn organized the first National Women's Bicycling Summit and launched the League's newest program: Women Bike. Before she crossed over to advocacy, she was a professional journalist for nearly 10 years.