An annual tradition I’ve got is to pull together ideas of presents for Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/holiday/birthdays etc for women’s cycling fans, and women who love bikes – but part 3 is especially aimed at everyone.
Part 1 of the 2016 guide was a book list, Part 2 was things we can buy or do to support professional women cyclists and teams, and now Part 3 is about things we can do to support organisations that are working to help increase “everyday cycling” for women.
It includes some gorgeous things that just happen to have proceeds going to good works – and ways to help women in developing countries, as well as the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. I’ve included ways to donate to all of these, either in your own name, or as a gift on behalf of someone else.
I love all these organisations, and it’s really helping my 2016 blues to think about the great work that’s going on. Like always, if you think of organisations I’ve forgotten, please do let me a comment, or tweet me, and I’ll edit it in – I’m especially interested in organisations working in non-English-speaking countries.
Things we can buy to support everyday cycling
Black Girls Do Bike is a fantastic USA organisation, set up with a pretty self-explanatory purpose:
“…growing and supporting a community of women of color who share a passion for cycling. We champion efforts to introduce the joy of cycling to all women, but especially, black women and girls.”
They run rides, meet-ups, skill-sharing sessions and more, and do a great job sharing positive imagery that proves that despite what the average portrayal of everyday cycling in the media, black girls do bike.
There’s lots more information on their website, including how to join in, and how women can start their own chapters, and some interviews with founder Monica Garrison on Bicycling.com and on Bike Radar – and we can all support them by donating directly to them, or through their online shop.
There’s cycling kit for women and men, tons of accessories like caps, arm-warmers and gloves, and tons more, including T-shirts, stickers, temporary tattoos, a bidon, a mug and more. I love the fact they have city-specific designs for Cleveland, Houston, Jacksonville, Dallas, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Atlanta, and one you can customise to your own city. And of course I love that a lot of the women’s cut jerseys, like this one, come in plus sizes right up to 5XL, and also come in cuts for tall women.
Wheel Women is a prize-winning Australian cycling organisation, set up “to provide a fun, social, recreational and non-competitive environment for women to learn to ride”. They run courses and rides that help women “Feel confident on your bike, learn some skills, make new friends, enjoy a coffee, and chat in the company of fellow female cyclists”, and I really love their work.
I love how their imagery shows women of all sizes and ages – and that philosophy follows into their shop, where their jerseys and bibs go into the plus sizes up to 5XL (it’s always been an issue for me that so many bike shops only make kit in the small sizes, when getting more exercise is a big motivation for women to start riding as adults), and they have a great sizing chart. They also sell all kinds of other things: backpack, mug, bike ear-rings and scarves, chammy butter, “don’t get lost” socks, and much more. And for women who are really unsure, or have specific needs, they run private lessons.
Check out more about them on their website, including their courses (how about buying a place on one for a friend who wants to start riding?), and their calendar of rides (including their app) – including the cycling holiday to Japan that they’re running in May 2017, and the social ride they’re planning for the 2017 Tour Down Under.
More programmes that are helping get women on bikes, or back on bikes, are Breeze in the UK, and Breeze in Victoria, Australia – both have group rides for women, lead by trained volunteers, so click through for more information
This is a great charity, founded in 2005 to “address the great need for reliable, affordable transportation in rural areas of developing countries” by providing “specially-designed, locally assembled, rugged bicycles”. Their aim to give people reliable, sustainable transport to help them access education, employment and self-employment, healthcare and so much more. I love bicycles in my nice, privileged Western life, but they really can change people’s lives – especially the lives of girls and women. And by training local bike mechanics and bike assemblers, they’re helping provide economic opportunities themselves.
There are tons more videos with the stories about their work on their YouTube, and information on their website, including events you can go to, or run yourself. And you can donate, in USA and Canadian dollars, Euros and Pounds there too – and buy things to support them too on their shop. They have their own holiday gift guide, but I love their shop, which has cycling gear for women and men, and tools and gifts like a watch, casual gear, and an under $25 section. I love the Bicycles&Freedom&Power&Joy shirt.
More bicycle charities to support
WFW is a UK charity, whose mission is “Removing barriers so disabled people can access and enjoy cycling. Improving mobility, health and transport options for all”. They do some amazing work, from helping people find the right kind of bike/method of cycling for their disability, with cycling sessions in London, to running advice and training sessions, to campaigning to try to change policy at local and national levels.
Lots more information about them on their website, and while there’s nothing we can buy to help them directly, you can donate to them here and 50% of the profits of these VeloSister clothes go to WfW.
Run by Paralympic tricyclist Shelley Gautier to help disabled people in Canada get into sports for competition, health and leisure, starting with para-cycling and para-sailing, and are planning to expand on from that, and run public sessions as well as helping people find specific adaptations tailored to their disability. It’s really exciting work, have a look at their website, and donate to them here – and you can also contribute to their Go Fund Me, to help them expand their programmes, and buy more equipment.
Please do share more, if you see it, in the comments or on twitter – especially my Dutch- and Spanish-speaking friends. And I’ll be back with my final episode of my gift guide, so if you have recommendations for presents for women’s cycling fans, and women who cycle, let me know too.
Big, huge thanks to my wonderful Patreon supporters – it’s thanks to their generosity that I can keep doing my women’s cycling work.