Raising the 24 Percent

Nelle Pierson of WABA has asserted that only 24 percent of cyclists in DC are women. I challenged this a few years ago by keeping track of the percentage of women I see on my bike commute. Sure enough, Nelle was right.

Nelle started WABA’s Women and Bicycles program to move the 24 percent number up. Five years ago Megan Jones, a WABA Women and Bicycles member, decided to up the ante a bit. She invented the Hains Point 100.

Hains Point is what locals call East Potomac Park, a spur of land that juts into the Potomac River across from National Airport. The road down to the point and back forms a circuit of about three miles.

Megan decided to ride the Hains Point loop 33 times to increase awareness and raise funds for the Women and Bicycles program. With less than three weeks of notice, she staged the event, located sponsors, and sent out the word for people to come and ride. And, more importantly, to donate to the cause.

I did not go the first year because I thought the ride was restricted to women. It may have been, but apparently men find promotional gimmicks irresistible. Regardless, the field of riders is about as diverse as one can imagine.

A few people jump the gun and start at midnight. If you see them, discretely move to the opposite side of the street and divert your eyes.

Some people wear WABA cycling apparel. My WABA socks couldn’t compete with these WABA jerseys.

Three jerseys.jpg

Each year, Megan has made the event more bigger and more better, with more sponsors, more prizes, and more fun. The 100 mile challenge remains the core attraction, but most people come for the camaraderie of the #bikedc community. I rode 30 miles. And talked with a bunch of people and had a few cookies. After about three hours, I went home to attend to other commitments. It was still over 60 degrees when I left.

About 20 minutes later a cold front came through and dropped the temperature 25 degrees and blew away all the tents and such that formed the Hains Point 100 base camp. Some people saw a woman riding with the wind.

 

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