It’s Never the Experts….
I’ve been lucky enough to be working with the City of Portland Women on Bikes Program for the month of June. For those of you who aren’t familiar, this is a program payed for by the citizens of our fine city to help promote women in cycling. The founder of the program, Janice McDonald, is a true blue friend and bike hero of mine. Years back when the city did it’s first cycling survey the results showed that a large majority of cyclists on the road were male. Janice, never one to shrug off inequality, decided to do something about it. The Women on Bikes program was born.
For two Saturdays I was privileged to work with some of the newest cyclists in town. Not a lot of spandex. Not a lot of gear heads. Not an expert in the house (including myself). Each woman was brave enough to step outside her comfort zone and show up to learn something that had mystified them, been just out of reach. Maybe it was the one thing that was keeping them from riding. I was brave enough to try and help 35 of them at once.
It’s a common misconception that changing a flat tire is easy. Nope. It has more steps than almost any other process I teach. Seeing each woman’s face light up when they are able remove their tires (most without the aide of a tire lever) is thrilling. Just seeing one person no longer afraid to release their brakes or remove their wheels is a triumph. My favorite part of the day is the non-stop cries of “Tori” during the hands-on portion because it means that there are questions.
And questions inevitably lead to discovery.
I hope every one of them learned something and hopefully rode away feeling more competent, more at ease, a little more ready to hit the road. I want to thank all those first-timers, all those amazing women who came to expand their horizons and in turn expanded mine. And of course Janice McDonald for giving us all the opportunity.
My lesson for the summer: If you want to learn, teach.