Jared Greer with her trusty bike enjoying the Bay Trail in Oakland.

What invites people to try riding a bicycle around a city for the first time, and to keep doing it?

For Ms. Jared Greer, moving to Oakland from San Francisco, to fewer hills and calmer streets, was a start. But it was making friends with Diane Dohm, a Bike East Bay member and active bike commuter, that made bicycling stick. Each Sunday for a month, they explored a new bike route across town to enjoy the spring weather, find a place to hang out, and have a drink together.

“I felt comfortable and safe with Diane there as a mentor,” Jared explained.

Diane also invited Jared to Women Bike Happy Hour, the evening get-togethers co-hosted by Bike East Bay and Walk Oakland Bike Oakland. For Jared, the happy hours felt more welcoming than typically male-dominated bicycle-related events.

“Women-focused space was key for me, and the community made it worth showing up each month,” Jared said. “When there’s sisterhood and the leaders are supportive and encouraging, it really makes a difference.”

After Diane moved away for a new job, Jared knew she could count on finding new friends and like-minded women to ride with through the Women Bike program. She found it so supportive she decided to step up to help organize the Women Bike Happy Hours.

Jared said, “It’s working with women, it’s women doing stuff by and for women, and it’s supportive and encouraging, so I want to do more!”

In early 2017, Jared will be moving to San Pablo and is already planning the first Women Bike Happy Hour in Richmond. She is excited to get to know Rich City Rides, the community-run bike shop in Richmond, and to get involved with the bike community and advocacy in her new neighborhood.

The Women Bike program is community-guided and volunteer-fueled. It is growing because leaders like Jared step in, step up, and extend a warm hand to the next person on the road. Whether you are looking to learn, share, or ride together, sign up for the Women Bike monthly email to hear more about upcoming events at BikeEastBay.org/WomenBike.

Back to the Winter 2017 issue of RideOn, Bike East Bay’s quarterly newsletter.