Women leaders in the Detroit bicycle movement

Women leaders in the Detroit bicycle movement

(Todd Scott, originally published in M-Bike.org, Ferndale 115 News, June 19, 2012)

Detroit’s ever-growing bicycle scene is largely due to women leadership.

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, SDBA, Midtown Detroit, Wheelhouse Detroit, Fender Bender, DECC, MTGA, Criterium Detroit City, etc.

And that influence continues to grow.

Detroit Je T’aime published a story on Fender Bender called, Detroit’s Real Bike Chix.

Sarah Sidelko goes by the nickname “Sidewalk” – in matters of transportation justice, she’s the boss. Sarah has been living in Detroit for 10 years – out of which she spent 7 years without a car. That inspired her to create Fender Bender, a bike shop exclusively dedicated to women, queer and transgender folks.

“It’s about creating a safe space where we can have free conversations. We use bike mechanics to think about ourselves”, says Sidewalk.

The article also mentions Fender Bender’s successful SOUP pitch which earned them $514 – a story also covered in Model D.

Fender Bender Detroit will use the SOUP grant funds towards funding the July and September Fender Bender Detroit bike mechanic training course. This six week series of bicycle mechanic training classes comprehensively covers bicycle maintenance and repair skills for each function, system, and component of the bicycle. We learn, understand, and demonstrate the anatomy of the bicycle, tools used in repair processes, and repair skills.

Skirts and Wheels

Melanie Piana has been very busy on the other side of Detroit’s north border. She led efforts to pass Ferndale’s Complete Streets ordinance. She’s now starting a woman-focused group as mentioned on Mode Shift.

Forget the Lycra, Spandex and jerseys. Bring your skirts, heels and other “normal” clothes to this new monthly Ferndale bicycling gathering for women.

Inspired by the CopenhagenCycleChic.com website, the new Metro Detroit event is organized by Melanie Piana, mayor pro tem in Ferndale.

“We need to educate people that cycling can be a very normal part of your life, and that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on clothing and gear to do it,” she says. “Cycling is a very normal, everyday activity and in Michigan and other places it’s something viewed as a fad or a hobby, not something you do as a very normal daily activity to get around and do daily things like going to the grocery store or pharmacy.”


Back within the City, MASH magazine had their first ride last Saturday.

This RIDE was created to encourage YOUNG WOMEN (and men) IN DETROIT to BIKE!

They also rode on June 16.

M-Bike.org is dedicated to promoting bicycling and bike safety in the Detroit area.

Check out previous Ferndale 115 News bicycling stories:

(Safety and Fun at the Bike Rodeo) http://oaklandcounty115.com/2012/06/06/safety-and-fun-at-2012-bike-rodeo/

(Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop on Mode Shift) http://oaklandcounty115.com/2012/05/02/downtown-ferndale-bike-shop-on-mode-shift/

(Multi-City Bike Route Mapping) http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/11/25/bike_route_mtg/

(Beyond Ferndale: 8 and Woodward Biking Blog) http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/07/10/beyond-ferndale-an-8-and-woodward-biking-blog/

(Bike Safety a Must in the City) http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/07/04/bike-safety-a-must-in-the-city/

(Defying the Law)http://www.ferndale115.com/20100515law.html

(Green Cruise)http://www.ferndale115.com/20100801greencruise.html

(Piana’s Push for Complete Streets)http://www.ferndale115.com/20100804piana.html


(Complete Streets Passed)http://oaklandcounty115.com/2010/11/01/completestreetspassed/

(Stolen Bikes)http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/05/13/stolen_bikes/


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