BikeWalkKC Women Staff Members Share Their Bike Stories

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 Kristen Jeffers, our Communications and Membership Manager. 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

Maggie

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

Laura

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.

Kristen

IMG_5238

Kristen leads BikeWalkKC’s efforts to share our story with the world, increase our engagement in the community, and grow our membership base. She has a diverse background in nonprofits, media, journalism, and urban planning. Kristen has presented at the Congress for New Urbanism and American Planning Association. Her writing has appeared in Streetsblog, The Atlantic Cities (CityLab), Next City, and more. Kristen has a Bachelor of Communication from North Carolina State University and a Master of Public Affairs with a concentration in Community and Economic Development from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

As an adult, what inspires me to ride is to exercise, experience more of my environment and avoid parking fees and mishaps when I go somewhere like downtown where it’s harder and more expensive to park. As a kid, it was bonding with my dad, as we would traverse every part of our neighborhood and then some on two wheels. However at age 15, I stopped riding, not because I didn’t like it anymore, but I was afraid of being teased by kids in my neighborhood. Then, I outgrew my bike. I was advised to not bring one to my college campus out of fear of theft. And then when I did attempt to buy a more adult bike, I had to take it back to the store, because it wasn’t really in the budget. Well, that was the first attempt. The second attempt, to buy something basic for Target, was a nice idea, but was not practical for my everyday riding. Just a few weeks ago, I invested in a brand new bike made for commuting. It’s light, it’s bright and it’s helping me overcome my main barriers now, which is KC’s many high hills and rain.

It’s important to see women biking, because it’s one of the most awesome things you can do. Also, I think and this is especially why I want to see more women biking, is that the sport tends to be only those who can wrap themselves up in spandex and clip themselves in a bike. Not that we don’t ride on dirt or in leggings, but sometimes, we just want to see other women riding to the store. We’d like to ride to concerts. We’d like to ride in a skirt and know that if we show up a bit sweaty, we’ll still be ok to go to our official meetings.

To make KC better for biking, we have to help women like myself, who might be afraid of the hills, putting their bikes on the bus, even street harassers (I had a guy once try to hit on me for actually signalling on my bike. Yes, something that we are supposed to do anyway), to get out there and face the fears. I hope that Women Bike KC does that and beyond, contributing to making KC the next great bike utopia.

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