D.C.

Women address gender gap in cycling community

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There is a gender gap in cycling. In D.C., 9,300 people commute on bike, but only about a third of those are women.

On Monday, the Washington area Bicyclist Association held its first Women's Forum to learn about the gender gap.

"This is beginning a dialogue that's needed to take place for a long time now," cyclist Nelle Pierson said.

The forum happens just as the Department of Transportation revealed plans to create and improve several miles of bike lanes in 2012.

"My biggest barrier was the safety, the perceived risk of it all," Pierson said.

Cyclist Elizabeth Beesley moved from London two years ago. At first, she was afraid to ride her bike on the busy city streets.

But two bus rides to work was taking too long, so she got a handle on her fears and eased back into cycling.

Beesley says women wanting to get on board should start by riding with a group.

"That can be really great because it turns out to be really sociable," Beesley said. "You meet more people who are doing it and you get to know the streets better and you get to be more confident that way."

 

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