At the WTF Cycling Mixer on Friday, a new name for the Bicycle Coalition’s initiative to encourage riders of genders underrepresented in the cycling world was unveiled. We Bike PHL, which was selected through a community-driven process, replaces Women Bike PHL as the program name (with WBPHL retained as the acronym).
The Bicycle Coalition is proud of all the work that has been done through the program. We’ve seen hundreds take WBPHL safety classes and join our rides, and thousands have received encouragement through a Facebook group which serves as a forum for community support and exchange of resources. We’ve seen an outgrowth of community- and volunteer-led programming to supplement the Bicycle Coalition’s offerings, including WBPHL Racing, the 100 ride series, programming at the Philly Pumptrack and rides out of local bike shops. A strong community was built around coffee clubs, rides, races, informal meetups, and the kind support of members of the Facebook group.
Yet, over the years, we’ve been forced to have some hard conversations about who is impacted by gender-based discrimination in cycling but not included in our program. In our evolution, the mission was changed to include non-binary bicyclists, but the name did not convey that shift. In the spirit of true inclusion, we’re making a small but hopefully meaningful move to change that. We know being inclusive involves more than a name change, but we view this as a critical step in the right direction.
Our current mission is to to inspire women, trans, and/or non-binary people in the Greater Philadelphia region to ride a bike. We use “and/or” in recognition that these identities are not mutually exclusive. The acronym WTF (women, trans, femme) is also often used to encompass these genders. We made a decision to keep the name more open, to embrace the diversity of genders that are underrepresented and remain malleable.
We remain committed to the core of our original mission: examining why women, trans, and/or nonbinary riders make up only 31% of cyclists in Philadelphia; investigating the barriers that exist for these riders; and providing encouragement for people to pedal over the patriarchy. We will continue to work to build a culture that denounces harassment and sexism, and includes women, trans, and nonbinary cyclists in product development, marketing, race promotion, and street design.
We look forward to continuing to build a more inclusive cycling movement, and thank you for your continued investment in and support of this community.