“I believe that bicycle travel has the potential to help achieve world peace,” 2018 Greg Siple Award winner Rachel Horn wrote in her application. “Throughout my travels, it has been my experience that most people are good, that the human body is incredible, and that the earth is a thrilling place to live. I am enthused to share this reality with the people around me as we travel on our bikes.”
Rachel did just that this fall at Bike!Bike!, a conference which gathers do-it-yourself cooperatives from around the world to align on empowering the world on two wheels. Rachel shared more about Bike!Bike!
This year’s conference was held in Tijuana, Mexico where I organized a speaker panel highlighting female ridership in bicycle travel. We sat in a circle with the speakers integrated among the audience to share experiences from the road. We talked tips and tricks as well as dreams and challenges in a valuable discussion that reinforced the strength in the room. It was particularly powerful because the young woman who inspired me to ride solo from Los Ángeles to Mexico City was one of the speakers; for me it took connecting with someone who had done it before to show me that I could do it, and now many more people know that it is possible! It is common for women/trans/femme riders to be discouraged from taking trips based on our gender; it was powerful to hear how participants overcame negative feedback to enjoy positive experiences.
The Greg Siple Award helps young adults, ages 18 – 30-years old, get in the saddle and out on the road by providing the skills and the gear needed for a lifetime of bicycle travel adventure. A 2018 recipient of the Outdoor Leadership Award, Rachel took Adventure Cycling’s Leadership Training course in Colorado this summer. “The training cracked a shell of limitation I had grown for myself and reminded me that I have certain skills to offer,” she said.
In exchange for the 2020 award, four winners will perform an outreach project to people in underrepresented communities such as but not limited to women, LBGTQI people, people of color, indigenous people, refugees, and people with disabilities.
Rachel had this to say about her outreach project:
The most rewarding part of the project was facilitating a collective energy among 30 women/trans/femme people who support each other in bicycle travel. At the final go-around, people shared that they felt inspired and empowered to take on their bike travel dreams. We left the space continuing the conversation!