It is with great pleasure and wholehearted support that Swift Industries donated touring gear to three amazing ladies involved in this year’s WeBiketoDC ride from New York City to the National Bike Summit in Washington DC to represent a diversity of women’s voices at the summit.
Our first story came to us from Ayesha, of We Bike NYC
Before #webiketodc I had never gone on a multi day bike tour. I had no idea what to expect, zero experience on how to prepare. Also, I was generally clueless on what to pack and how to pack it. Thankfully, Swift Industries hooked me up with two super rad mini roll-top panniers to hook onto my front rack. Believe me when I say these saved my life.
The first day was interesting; we met up in Washington Square Park, rode to the ferry terminal and took the ferry from lower west Manhattan to Hoboken. I personally was beyond excited to know that I’d spend the next four days on my bike. What could possibly be more fun to look forward to?
Northern New Jersey met us with mounds of ice and unmelted snow. We did a LOT of walking in Northern Jersey. After a while, Liz made the call to take the van to a safer spot and ride to Philly from there. We had lunch in Princeton Junction and set out to finish our day. Mentally it was tough. We’d all been awake for a very long time, and were quite frustrated with the unpleasant conditions at the start of our ride. It was about eight degrees farenheight , but luckily I discovered the magic of putting hand warmers directly in the thumb section of my mitten. I worked super hard to keep up with the lead pack. Since my body doesn’t retain heat, I was much too cold to ride at a relaxed pace.
When we finally made it into Philly, it was amazing to see how different it felt riding in a different city. The sun had gone down, I was hungry and exhausted, but we were less than 13 miles from the hotel when we hit the city limit and we knew that we could work together to pull each other to the finish. When we made it to the hotel, we debriefed, had dinner, and went straight to bed. Delaware awaited, and we needed all of the sleep we could get before our early wake up time.
The bike community of Philly met us in Love Park early the next day. It was amazing to see how much we were inspiring people, we exchanged tales of day one, took pictures, and set out on a escorted group ride out of the city. The ride to Delaware was relatively uneventful, but the highlights of the day were our stops for bladder release and lunch at both locations of The Coffee Station in Pennsylvania! Second runner up would most definitely be the beastly hills. This avid brakeless fixed gear rider appreciated her gears that day!
Day three was the most difficult. I was riding downhill just behind Mary Shyne when I saw her go down. It was one of the most horrifying experiences of my life. Jesus, Joseph, Mary and everybody else was looking out that day because Mary Shyne was okay. She was definitely banged up, and taken to the hospital, but three weeks off the bike was the cure. It was definitely sad to see her head back to Brooklyn unable to finish our ride, but we were so relieved that she was going to be fine. Everyone was a bit shaken up, so we loaded up in the Van and drove the rest of the way to Baltimore.
The route from Baltimore to DC was gorgeous. It was the warmest day of our ride, and by far my favorite. Several members of the DC bike community met us about 13 miles outside of the capitol and escorted us in with a group ride.
The women’s forum and the summit were also an unforgettable experience. Everyone cheered for us, and we were constantly high fiving strangers! I learned so much and met so many wonderful people. I was even able to experience democracy at it’s finest our by lobbying for safer NYC streets on Capitol Hill.
This trip was the experience of a lifetime. I am so proud to have been a part of such an incredible mission to promote getting more women on bicycles, and bringing more diverse voices to the National Bike Summit.
To learn more about the We Bike NYC go CLICK