First, I must say that I have never operated a blog before. I’ve written my fair share of zines (you know, those punk little pamphlets using pieces of parchment… sooo 1990’s), but this is my first adventure into the blog-o-sphere. (Am I getting my terminology correct?)
What brings this neo-Luddite to carve out her own tiny slice of the interwebs? To put it briefly, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over my years involved in bicycle culture, and I think it’s about time to share said thoughts. I’ve collected many stories and unique perspectives through my work in professional retail and repair, non-profit youth-oriented spaces, grassroots community workshops, and massive mobile villages. My experiences in the bike world have been humbling, empowering, heart-breaking, frustrating, fulfilling, and certainly never boring.
In the cycling circles I’m privy to, dialogue is sparking over the future of bike industry and culture. White liberals are asking, “Where are the cyclists of color?” and male shop owners are wondering, “Why is it so hard to find female bike mechanics?” I haven’t been satisfied with the questions, let alone any answers that would come of ’em. Not enough [white/male] people are asking questions like “What is it about my bike event that’s pushing away cyclists of color?” or “Why don’t women feel comfortable in my local bike shop?” Asking the right questions puts the responsibility on the creators and purveyors of mainstream cycling culture, which is predominately the more privileged among us — those who have white skin, enough money to play with, and millennia of gender superiority.
So what I’m trying to get at is that I expect more out of cyclists and bike advocates who live pretty comfortable lives on the whole. And I expect more out of myself, because I pretty much fit into that category. I’m both extremely excited and dreadfully nervous about sharing this blog, as I plan to hit on topics that have been taboo or tiptoed around by leaders of the cycling world. I welcome your respectful feedback, discussion, criticism, and praise, and thank you for it!
Before I leave you, I wanted to fill you in on the title I’ve chosen for this blog. Bloomers–you remember those? No, not the underwear, but the loose skirt-pants that women started wearing in the 1860’s or thereabouts, that gained popularity with the advent of the bicycle. Bloomers and bicycles are considered two very important tools that brought about the women’s suffrage movement of the 1890’s, the first strong push for equal rights for women in the current era. We’ve all heard that Susan B. Anthony quote. This is all well and good, but I plan to move beyond the bits of ancient women’s lib movements we all get stuck on, yes, move “Beyond Bloomers,” to focus on stories of today’s ant-racist and transfeminist approaches to equality in the cycling world and beyond.
Stay tuned for my first “real” blog entry, which will have something to do with women in the industry. Until then, your homework assignment (if you choose to accept it) is to think about how the above comic is relevant today! Oh, it certainly is!
* Note: Entry was part of former blog, “Beyond Bloomers.”