Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal Helps Launch Women On Bikes SoCal From Long Beach with An Invitation to Local Women to Share Their Bicycling Stories
Date: Wednesday Nov 16, 2011
From: Melissa Balmer/Women On Bikes SoCal - T (562) 221-9672 email: email@example.com
Long Beach CA – Did you know Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal has vivid and happy memories of riding every morning on her father’s bicycle to school as a child in India and that those memories have a great influence on her current bike-friendly status today? “Bicycles hold a special place in our public psyche, which is why I’m so delighted to be a part of the Women On Bikes SoCal initiative celebrating the beauty and benefits of bicycling for women. As part of our launch from Long Beach we’d like to ask women and girls from around the city to share their bicycle love stories with us at www.womenonbikessocal.org.
An initiative of the non-profit bicycle advocacy organization Bikeable Communities and a collaboration with Bikestation, Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, Women On Bikes SoCal’s vision is “To encourage, engage and empower women and girls of all ages, races and walks of life in the Southern California region to enjoy the beauty and benefits of bicycling, and to help double the number of women and girls actively riding bikes here by 2016.”
Originated from a successful bike safety and bike scholarship program created by Women On Bikes spokeswoman and Bikestation/Mobis COO & President Andrea White-Kjoss in 2007, as well as the CYCLESTYLE Bike Fashion shows run in 2009 and 2010, the new Women On Bikes SoCal (WoBSoCal) marries focused advocacy with digital story telling, and fun fashion forward rides and events to normalize and humanize the concept of including a bike as a part of regular activity for women and girls. “Women and girls generally make up only a quarter to a third of the bicycling population. We need to spend some time focusing on meeting the needs and desires of women, since most of the improvements to date have focused mainly on men…and the results are in the numbers. We can improve this!”
Long Beach writer and bike advocate Melissa Balmer came up with the idea of combining bike advocacy for women with a website focused on 360-degree digital story telling after learning about Bikestation’s original “Women On Bikes” safety training. “I was very inspired by the Cycle Chic movement from Copenhagen and the truly dynamic female bike culture and bike advocacy talent I was seeing all around me here in Long Beach and Southern California. Every day I see a fascinating woman on bikes and I wanted to find a platform to share their stories in the hopes of inspiring others to ride.”
“We’ve tracked a substantial increase in the number of children walking and biking to school along the new Vista bike boulevard in just one year,” notes Bikeable Communities member Allan Crawford and WoBSoCal contributing photographer, “so we wondered what could happen if a local organization focused its efforts on safety advocacy and outreach to women with a new communications twist”
“We’ll double the number of women on bikes,” notes Long Beach Mobility Adviser Charlie Gandy. “It’s a fresh take on advocacy and it couldn’t come together at a better time.”
WoBSoCal “Health by Bike” columnist and Long Beach resident Kerri Zane says, “I became a passionate fan of Long Beach’s bike-friendly movement while creating the ‘Welcome to Bike Long Beach’ promo video in 2010, but as a TV producer I know that to make a real impact on the lives of women and girls we need female focused communication. As an Ambassador of Healthy Living for Single Moms I’m happy to play my role in Women On Bikes SoCal.”
The first issue of Women On Bikes SoCal is live now at www.womenonbikessocal.org showcasing the “Bikes Mean Business” column by April Economides of Green Octopus Consulting, a preview of Shereef Moustafa’s ongoing Long Beach bike portrait series in “The Artful Bike,” “Heels on Wheels” by Elizabeth Williams of Cali Bike Tours, and an array of “Bike Love” stories by Southern Californian women such as passionate newbie Zelico Humphrey, a recent graduate of a “Women On Bikes” safety training program. To submit your own “bike love” stories and images for possible inclusion please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WoBSoCal’s first fundraising event will be riding in the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade on 12/3 as a part of the Bikeable Communities group. There is space for 50 riders and those interested in participating are asked to rsvp to email@example.com and purchase a “Go Big or Go Home” t-shirt from Bikeable Communities for the ride. You can find all details here: www.womenonbikessocal.org/events/.
Media interested in speaking with Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal please contact (562) 570-6684, media interested in speaking with Andrea White-Kjoss please contact (562) 733-0106, media interested in speaking with Allan Crawford, Charlie Gandy, Kerri Zane, April Economides or Melissa Balmer please contact (562) 221-9672 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Women On Bikes SoCal
An initiative of the non profit bicycle advocacy organization, Bikeable Communities, Women On Bikes SoCal’s (WoBSoCal) vision is to encourage, engage and empower women and girls of all ages, races and walks of life in the Southern California region in the beauty and benefits of bicycling, and to help double the number of women and girls actively riding bikes here by 2016.
WoBSoCal seeks to normalize and advocate for a bike-friendly life for women, girls and families via fun, fashion forward events and dynamic digital story telling via our website at www.womenonbikessocal.org. Our goals are to create innovative and time efficient “low cost” and “no cost” safety programming for women and their families, and create bike scholarships programs for low income and at risk women and families in need of transportation alternatives.
About Suja Lowenthal – Vice Mayor City of Long Beach
Dr. Suja Lowenthal, Vice Mayor and Second District Councilmember, has been serving on the Long Beach City Council since June of 2006. The Second District includes much of the Port, Harbor and coastline area, as well as the downtown. Before embracing her role as councilmember, Suja served on the Board of Education in the Long Beach Unified School District.
Suja combines her experience in the community and on the school board with her education in business and urban planning to address issues such as parking, public safety, air & water quality and commercial development through sustainable, long-term policies. She has provided the political will and leadership to advance the City’s award-winning bicycle-friendly agenda, progressive strategies in animal care services and green policies involving plastic bags, recycling, storm-water runoff and alternative forms of energy.
Bikestation seeks to improve the quality of life in urban communities through the development and operation of bike-transit centers and related infrastructure. Modeled after European and Japanese examples, Bikestation Long Beach was the first facility of its kind to open in the U.S. in March of 1996. Bikestation Palo Alto and Bikestation Berkeley opened in 1999, Bikestation Seattle in May 2003, Bikestation Santa Barbara in 2007, and Bikestation Washington DC in 2009. Located on the same LA Metro line, Bikestation Claremont and Bikestation Covina opened in February 2010, creating the first end-to-end systemic transit line in the US. Bikestation Hillsboro, the first Bikestation in Oregon, recently celebrated its Grand Opening in October 2010. Learn more at www.bikestation.com.