May 31, 2016 By Michael Florio
The Queens Bike Initiative has a new neighborhood ride planned, this one focused on women’s safety.
Safe Streets: Queens Women’s Biking 101, a women-only bicycle ride, will take place on Saturday.
The goal is to help women feel confident, secure and prepared to ride on city streets, according to Laura Newman, who helped organize the event.
Participants will meet at Travers Park on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. They will ride along the 34th Avenue bike lane until 90th Street, before heading into Elmhurst. The group will stop at parks along the way.
QBI decided to create a women’s only ride so new cyclists could ride in “a supportive group of other female riders,” Newman said.
“The women will be able to talk about their insecurities with experienced riders,” she added.
She said that many of the complaints she hears from other women about biking on city streets stem from men’s behavior toward them on the road.
“Many times male cyclists or drivers will pressure riders to speed,” she said. “Women who are not experienced cyclists will not feel safe in these conditions.”
“They are also heckled and catcalled on the road,” she added.
Patricia Mulcahy, who thought of the idea for a women’s only bike ride, said that she knows many women who enjoy cycling but were intimidated by busy city roads.
“I would ask friends if they wanted to go for a ride with me and they’d say they were scared,” she said. “I was surprised because they were fit, confident women.”
According to Mulcahy and Newman, the ride will also provide an opportunity to teach about bike safety and maintenance, including fixing a flat tire, bike lights, locks and helmets, safe turning and how to be cognizant of pedestrian safety.
The ride is limited to 20 riders. Those interested can register online here.
Mandi Ray, a bicyclist enthusiast, will help lead the ride.
The Queens Bike Initiative will participate in the LIC Bike Parade on June 11 along Vernon Boulevard.
The hope is that those who participate this weekend will feel confident enough to ride in that parade, Mulcahy said.