Our WomenBikeKC initiative is powered by volunteers, both male and female, but it’s held together with the help of three staff members: Maggie Priesmeyer, our Education Programs Manager; Laura Steele, our Education & Outreach Coordinator; and Karen Campbell, our Director of Development & Communications. We each asked ourselves the following five questions, which you can see below, along with our general bios.
What inspires you to ride?
How did you get over your barrier to riding?
Why is it important to see women biking?
Why do you want to see more women riding?
How does KC become a more encouraging place for women to ride?
What do you hope Women Bike KC accomplishes?
Maggie manages our youth and adult education programs, including BLAST, Walking School Bus, Earn-a-Bike and Confident City Cycling. She is a Safe Routes to School expert, providing technical assistance to help schools increase walking and biking. Maggie also helps manage the Women Bike KC initiative and coordinates the annual Women’s Bike Summit. Maggie is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, a bicycle mechanic, a grant writer and board member of the 816 Bicycle Collective. She is a North Hyde Park resident and enjoys commuting around Kansas City, especially while wearing a dress! Maggie is a graduate of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City’s Leadership Academy and is a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor.
- There’s something about being able to “self propel” yourself to where you need to go. Bicycling is killing two birds with one stone- transportation and physical activity. I also don’t ride just for myself. I feel inspired and motivated each day knowing that by riding, I’m paving the way for other women to ride.
- The current barrier I face right now is more of a collective one. I am a very confident rider, and will bicycle on generally any street. But a huge barrier that I’m focused on right now is the lack of protected and connected infrastructure that’s built for ALL ages and experience levels.
- HEALTH AND BALANCE for our community.
- Kansas City could become a more encouraging place for women to bike by building protected and connected infrastructure. By continuing education for bicyclists and motorists. And by creating a culture that bicycling is for EVERYONE. Not just the wealthy, men, or young, hip people.
- And finally, I hope that Women Bike KC grows a diverse base of women (and supporters) who feel comfortable and love riding bikes for fun, fitness and transportation. I hope that Women Bike KC helps raise the awareness for decision makers to invest in infrastructure that supports and encourages every rider. AND I hope that Women Bike KC creates a robust and unique set of programming and activities that supports this work.
Laura serves as our education programs coordinator, who is charged with scheduling all of our bike education courses and also making sure our staff is at the right place at the right time. She also is working to develop new education programs partnerships throughout the metro. Laura is a graduate of the University of Missouri in Columbia resides with her family of cyclists in Roeland Park, KS, where she also serves on the Roeland Park Bike and Pedestrian Task Force. She is also a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor.
I’m inspired to ride because of the sense of freedom cycling gives me; I love riding through Kansas City and finding new routes to explore and ways to connect to my city. I’m also inspired to ride because I want to show my children all the benefits that come from cycling.
When I really wanted to get into cycling, a huge barrier to riding for me was that I didn’t have the right kind of bike for the type of riding I wanted to do – however, a friend of my husband’s who is an avid cyclist became a wonderful mentor and helped me focus my wants in order to get the right bike for me.
I want to see more women riding because it means that women are feeling comfortable in the places they live and they are deliberately choosing to make the economical, environmental, and health-conscious choice to ride. I think KC can become a more encouraging place for women to ride by supporting and joining the organizations, events and people who choose to bike.
I want Women Bike KC to become the go-to organization and resource for girls and women who want to get into riding. I want to see mentor programs implemented that help women get past their personal barriers to riding so they can become cycling advocates and leaders for a healthier, more bike-friendly Kansas City.
Karen manages BikeWalkKC’s development and communications efforts in support of the organization’s strategic plan. She first discovered the work of BikeWalkKC through the Tour de Bier and saw a way to combine her love of biking and hiking with the mission of the organization.
Karen has extensive experience in fundraising, marketing, and program development. She received her M.A. and B.A. degrees from UMKC, and can be seen toodling on her bike or walking her dog, Porter, around the Brookside neighborhood.
I’ve ridden a bike for lots of reasons throughout my life so far: to speed up my paper route in 5th grade, to get me to and from class in college, and to explore trails and enjoy the scenery as an adult. In recent years, my primary reasons to ride were social – I wanted to participate in rides on the weekends and in Colorado with my husband, or join in events like the Tour de Bier or Santa Rampage with friends. Cycling is a healthy activity that can be enjoyed with others and for me, it beats going to the gym for my fitness!
More recently, I’ve started to commute to work by bike. My commute isn’t long – just 3.5 miles – but it was in some ways more daunting than the 35-mile route of the Tour! I worried about traffic, people exiting parked cars without looking, loose dogs, debris in the (one-block-long) bike lane, the lack of protected bike routes, the weather, and hecklers. After a few commutes, though, I discovered that most of those barriers were more assumed than real. Now I look forward to exploring my route and “biking the bike” by leaving the car at home as much as possible.
To me, it is important to see women biking to demonstrate the equity of cycling: it doesn’t require expensive equipment or special clothes, and you don’t have to be an Ironman to do it, either. We can ride together or ride solo, but all of us CAN ride. Kansas City has some great cycling routes, but it could be a better place for the average commuter, regardless of gender. Until we have a connected and safe bike infrastructure, I’m afraid all of the encouragement in the world won’t get some of us on the city streets. BikeWalkKC is working every day to change that.
What excites me about the Women Bike KC Initiative is the connections women are making: we are finding each other at events and other activities, and learning from each other. Every single person I’ve met has been so supportive, creative, and inspiring! I look forward to continuing to help move the initiative forward in whatever ways I can.