Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Women's Forum at National Bike Summit Wrap Up (Part 1)

First having the chance to speak at the Women's Forum of the National Bike Summit was such a great opportunity. I am so grateful to have had the chance to meet so many wonderful pro-family biking allies.

Kidical Mass Philadelphia, is about getting families on bikes and empowering them to ride beyond our rides and incorporate biking into their everyday lives whether that is biking kids to school or activities or to work. It is a movement that changes perception of the "rogue cyclist" and challenges the norm that once you have a child you are destined to just a car and man is it CUTE.  

Sharing my personal story in becoming an advocate is probably the story of hundreds of parents beyond bicycling. My kids deserved better and someone had to fight for them so I did. I don't think  my story is particularly special but someone needs to make room for family biking at the table and I am happy with my KM cohorts to do just that. 

So now on to our family time in DC, Media Training & Women's Forum wrap ups of the National Bike Summit. 

So the weekend started with our littlest getting a terrible cold. I don't have a large milk stash as I nurse most of the time so the whole family was planning to go to DC as well. The kids and husband could go museum hopping and I could go summit-ing. We decided to go down on Sunday a day later then planned to help ride out the cold as long as possible at home. I briefly thought about just going down alone on Monday via train but the snowy forecast that kept growing made me too nervous to chance it. WHICH WAS GOOD because DC shut down in the snow for real.

Sunday was beautiful, the weather had me out in just a long sleeved shirt. It was so nice!! M had requested the "DINO MUSEUM" about 1000xs so we went to check it out. It was the first time M actually enjoyed the dino part of the museum he asks for it but is usually terrified. TODDLERS. By the time we left the museum the skies started to grow dark and it was sprinkling. I planned on attending the Media Training that evening so we headed back to hotel.

I kissed the family good bye and RAN OFF QUICK AS I COULD, LATER SUCKERS, I get to go ride Capital Bikeshare. Ha. (Brief note our hotel actually had free rental bikes, but the cheap lock made me nervous to borrow one.) I found a bike station and rented a bike as quickly as my fingers could move in the rain ($7 for a 24 hour pass). I moved that seat into the lowest position because MIDGET status and checked my dying phone,s maps like twenty times and off I rode. I rode bike lanes and bus/bike lanes and right through the Flyers/Caps exiting traffic oh hey that was annoying and then found a dock and off I walked the rest of the way to the media training.

The media training was broken into two parts, one the classic media of radio/print/tv/online journalism and how we can reach and use them, the second was self promotional working hard at the grind media geniuses. Both were really insightful and I cannot wait to use their tips for both BMD and Kidical Mass PHL. My take aways know your audience and twitter is king of the social media/media world. Also I was able to purchase some books from Elly Blue, and man does she curate the nicest collection of items to publish/sell. I am almost done with her latest book
"Bikeconmics" and cannot wait to start on some of the other items I picked up.

After the media training, there was a Streetfilms after party at the RFD bar, where I lived up my mom's gone wild status and drank lite beer (apparently I insult everyone for liking lite beer, guys I love cheap lite beer and I am not afraid to say it, I also know and like fancy beers, hi husband in the beer world but lite beer holds a special place in my heart). The party was great to meet a bunch of really like-minded people. I think after parties are forever the best part of conferences. I do wish the space was less crowded and quieter because I am old but the bathrooms were clean so winner. I  also actually won the grand giveaway prize of a Capital Bikeshare membership! (Full disclosure I gave it to Kidical Mass DC to raffle or door prize at ABCs of Family Biking, PS it is May 3rd)

Kidical Mass DC escorted me to a bikeshare dock and off I rode back to the hotel in the rain. We stayed in the shadow of Capital Hill and man was it dead at night. It was a very empty two streets walk back to my hotel and by walk I lightly jogged in the rain! The weather was still kind of warm though. I came back to two asleep children and one  awake husband and I swore it wouldn't snow.

WELL OF COURSE IT SNOWED AND DC SHUT DOWN. Except for the Women's Forum of course and the Air and Space Museum, where my husband was going to take the kids that afternoon. I woke up with the intention to bike in the snow on bikeshare but what do you know, my credit card would not go in, I thought it was frozen but turned out they shut it down in snow and I had no idea. So I walked along empty snowing streets to the conference arriving a couple minutes late because I was waiting for a morning pick me up from Starbucks.

I do not have it in me to talk about every detail of the morning plenary TED talks mostly because there were a lot of really great points, plus I was tired and didn't take notes. But I enjoyed them and hope for even more diversity next year in the panel. Also hearing women who I have watched speak before online was really humbling. Following open panel I took a spin around the women's market place which was filled with women owned bike businesses. Really some great items. I refrained from buying a cleverhoods again, but I totally regret it now!!

The morning panel I went to was with a bunch of the ladies who did "WEBIKETODC" & are just in general rock stars of getting more women to bike in NYC/DC/PHILLY. The steal these ideas panel was full of both small and large scale ways to get more women involved in biking. Some take aways, you can harness existing large networks without much man power, you sometimes need to find someone who speaks the language of the audience you are trying to reach & a no cancellation policy is really awesome.

Towards the end of the panel I get two phone calls from my husband who was coming to meet me so I could nurse our youngest real quick before a museum trip with them. BUT the worst thing happened he lost his eyeglass while walking in the snow. YIKES a kind of shitty scary thing when you are blind without glasses. He was pretty frantic, I quickly feed J while he retraced a couple of blocks but no luck. Of course no eye glass places were open in the crappy weather. But on Tuesday morning first thing we luckily were able to find and get him some contacts so he could see again.

I will pick up part two starting at lunch.

Now check out my GoPro of my Capital Bikeshare adventure, also WHO THINKS THESE BIKES ARE HEAVY. THEY AREN'T GAVEL. 

bikeMAMAdelphia Rides Capital Bikeshare from bikeMAMAdelphia on Vimeo.

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