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Stoscheck also said society’s view of the bicycle needs to change.
“Cars are still the symbol of success in America,” she said. “Bikes are seen as toys, for sports for adults or the aggressive young male messenger running red lights. We need to make [women] love the bike and believe that they can do this for transportation and not just for fun and games.”
The League of American Bicyclists in Washington, D.C., has embarked on a national campaign to get women to ride bikes at the same rate as American men for transportation, recreation and fitness by 2050. As a result of its efforts, offshoot groups such as Women on Bikes St. Paul have sprung up across the country.
“We won’t see a change in those local or national stats overnight, but we’re definitely laying the foundation to close the gender gap,” said Carolyn Szczepanski, communications director for Women Bike.
Nelms, the St. Paul bike commuter, logs an average of 3,500 miles a year biking. Along with saving gas and getting a daily workout, Nelms says there are intangible benefits.
“I feel involved with my neighborhood,” she said. “I sometimes stop and talk to people out walking their dog. If I see something, I will stop and ask about it. I like the feeling of being part of the city. When you are in a car, you are insulated from the world. On a bike, you are part of what is around you.”
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768