Creating an Event to Cultivate Women’s Cycling in Louisville

Everything starts with an idea that fulfills a need. Louisville bicycling culture was missing one vital component: an organization of women who ride bicycles. I partnered with a fellow cyclist to create an event that celebrates and empowers women who ride — past, present and future.

Cyclofemme Louisville — The Details

Date: Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Turnout: Nearly 50 riders

Starting/End Point: Apocalypse Brew Works, a local brewery and event venue

Two Ride Routes:

  1. route copyThe Waterfront Tour: This casual ride included the Big Four Bridge with a peek at the Louisville Loop and an intro to short track mountain biking at Eva Bandman Park.
  2. Historic Ride: Riding along historic downtown Louisville with Bicycling for Louisville (B4L), we stopped at landmarks that celebrate women who made this city great.

Keys to the event’s success

  • Aligning a local women’s event with the Global celebration of women, Cyclofemme. Each year on Mother’s Day, self-led bike rides around the globe unite riders, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or bicycle preference. This also gave us access to Cyclofemme’s marketing assets.
  • Changing the date. Mother’s Day weekend was Kentucky Derby weekend. We moved our event forward a week. Kentucky Derby weekend is the worst possible time to host an event in Louisville that is not Derby related.
  • Tapping bicycle organizations. Collaborating with Bicycling for Louisville, Louisville Bicycle Club and Falls City Community Bikeworks gave the event credibility and resources, such as providing liability waivers, ride captains, bicycle parking and event promotion.
  • Enlisting women who lead local bicycle initiatives. We brought women on board who teach local bicycle clinics, lead established bike tours and are fixtures in bicycle commuting, distance cycling and mountain biking.
  • Picking the perfect starting and ending location. Apocalypse Brew Works was already an established venue for community events and it was home to Louisville’s only woman brewmaster.
  • Designing ride routes any style of cyclist could enjoy. The Waterfront Tour featured low-traffic streets and bicycle/pedestrian-specific paths, while the Women’s History Ride weaved through the downtown urban streets to historical landmarks and markers.

Experience the day through photos: