Stephanie Ford is the founder of Pedal Posse Divas, a three-year old, all women’s cycling group in Philadelphia.
Originally Ford would post of Facebook, telling her friends when she would be going on bike rides. A group formed,and 6-8 friends came up with the name, the Pedal Posse Divas.
They made a facebook group and began posting pictures and information about their rides. Soon, other women got interested.
Now the group has 178 people who like their page. Not everyone comes on every ride but it is a large community of female cyclists. Pedal Posse Divas lead a ride every Saturday; the location varies but Ford has been trying to include more street riding recently, instead of just staying on the trails. She also asks the other women in the group for their ideas about where to go, especially in their own neighborhoods so more women can see more parts of the city.
When it comes to riding in the city though, it is tricky. Ford tries to stick to streets with bike lanes or with travel lanes that are wide enough for a group of women to take the lane. It is also hard to convince everyone to come out, some women are understandably uncomfortable about riding in the city.
To reach these women, Ford took BCGP urban bicycle basics class to learn some tips to help the other women in her group. What she has found is power in numbers and getting comfortable riding in the street take practice and a little caution. Ford will try to ride a route ahead of time to make sure there aren’t any problem areas as an extra precaution.
Ford is known as an expert in the world of Philly female bicyclists. She tries to use this to convince other women to take up cycling, even if they haven’t been on a bike in years. Women in her group come to her with questions about bikes, biking, even how to buy a bike, which she is more than happy to take on.
Last weekend she visited a bike shop with two women who were interested in buying bikes. Performance was having a sale and Ford went along to give advice, ask questions, and to make sure her friends got the best deal. She recommends getting a hybrid bike for first time riders. They are a little more comfortable with the flat handlebar and they are easier to use for street and trail riding.
The other side of Ford’s bicycle work is with Indego. She is now an ambassador and is using her new position to encourage more people from her neighborhood to get out and bike. She wants people to get out and move, to see biking as healthy exercise but also a way to get around the city. She also wants to change the white, male dominance in biking and show women and girls that they can ride, too. She believes being an Indego ambassador and her work with the Pedal Posse Divas puts her in a position to be an example to women and girls and she loves that.