Sandy Frank is one of the Women & Bicycles program’s Roll Models. Her experience with biking in D.C. was jumpstarted when she won a free bike in a WABA giveaway. Part of her story is included in the Women & Bicycles booklet, which we’ll debut at the program’s open house tomorrow. We’re running the entirety of Sandy’s personal testimony below. It was a year and a half ago when I received an email about a free bike giveaway contest that WABA was hosting in wards 7 and 8. I thought to myself, “Who and what is a WABA?” but knew I would enter. So at 2 a.m., after night out bowling with friends, I wrote a short essay about why I should win the bike. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that everything I wrote would actually come true (such as discovering new parts of D.C., riding into the sunset, riding into the sunrise, riding for no reason at all, pushing my body beyond its physical limits, making a meaningful impact on the environment and encouraging others to ride as well), but I hadn’t owned a bicycle since I was a kid and I desperately wanted one. I thought, “What could I lose?” and entered. About a month after entering, I found out that I was a finalist and shortly thereafter that I had won. I won! From the day I received that phone call from WABA Outreach Coordinator Nelle Pierson telling me she was on her way to drop off my new baby, to the dance I did when she presented me with it, to right now, I am proud to say that I have logged many, many miles (only falling once!). I’ve cycled in the heat, in the cold, early mornings, very late nights, and even in the rain, might I add. I’ve met new friends, discovered a strength I didn’t know I had, encouraged friends to get bikes, and convinced a few to ride a bike after many years of not being on one. I have a few friends who are now interested in learning to ride. Most of all, I’ve discovered a passion that has been lost since childhood. While I’m still learning how to be a respectful, safe, and confident city bike rider, I can truthfully say that my life has been enriched and forever changed due to WABA, Black Women Bike DC, BicycleSpace, and Dandies and Quaintrelles. I’ll end with a quote I love and couldn’t agree with more. It says, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a bike and that’s pretty close.” Thank you to everyone at WABA! Stay up-to-date with the Women & Bicycles program through its Facebook page or subscribe to the email list.
After officially launching our Women & Bicycles Program, we’re ready to unveil the program’s 10 Roll Models! You likely already know this program is a season of workshops, rides, and meetups for women who already ride bikes to join together with women who are interested in bicycling. The Roll Models provide a critical link between these two parties, so we’re incredibly fortunate to have 10 women who are dedicating their time and energy to getting their peers on bikes. Mentorship is the core aspect of Women & Bicycles: Throughout May and June, Roll Models will host friendly, facilitated roundtable discussions with the help of the Women & Bicycles workbook. Throughout the season they’ll follow-up with these soon-t0-be bicyclists to the best of their abilities, and be the resource to keep them rolling. But our official Roll Models aren’t the program’s only mentors. We encourage all WABA supporters to reach out to women in their lives who might be interested in the program and encourage them to participate. The best way to do this is to get them signed up for the Women & Bicycles Bulletin to find out about upcoming events. Check out short profiles of all the Roll Models below the jump. Continue reading