There’s National Lost Sock Day, National Return Shopping Carts to the Market Month, and even National Lumpy Rug Day. And while I enjoy a haphazardly strewn floor covering as much as the next girl, this month I’m celebrating National Women’s History Month. I am, after all a woman, and I love history. This month especially I want to remember to enjoy the freedoms earned for me by many of the women who came before, and I’ll ride my bike too.
Yes my bike. We women owe a chunk of our freedom to the almighty two wheeler.
“I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can’t get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.” Susan B. Anthony said it and today we live it.
A few days ago I got on my bike and headed up the canyon to think. It was one of those cold days when you long for spring, but that’s why they make winter bike gear, right?
As the wind whipped around, this is what I thought.
I owe this bike ride to those women we’re celebrating this month, and not just the famous ones either. Women’s History Month is about remembering all the women in history—my grandma and your grandma and their great grandmas, and their friends, sisters, and daughters.
Last week I was stuck doing some pretty menial labor. After a few hours of being totally annoyed, I finally figured it out. All those domestic servants and slaves and factory workers and anyone else who got stuck doing something mentally stifling and physically hard, did have something else meaningful to offer. Surely she had dreams and aspirations and unknown talents. Surely she could have created or philosophized or helped or taught or enjoyed. And surely she would have loved to ride a bike up a gorgeous frozen canyon on a dormant winter day. She just didn’t get the chance.
I love that a woman on a bike is “the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.” We commute, we compete, we cruise. We wear pink skirts when we fancy, we wear pants when we please. We join cycling clubs, we ride solo. We ride near, we ride far. Regardless of how we ride, we always win because as Peggy Lee sang, “I got a twenty-dollar gold piece says there ain’t nothing I can’t do. ‘Cause I’m a woman. W-O-M-A-N!”
Someone once asked, “How good does a female athlete have to be before we just call her an athlete?” I say, we have to be good enough to hop on and pedal. Now let’s cycle for Women’s History Month because it’s important to remember and celebrate. After all as Sojourner Truth said, it’s your right because, “Ain’t I a woman?”