Dear WMNBikePGH community members,
Back in 2010 I became a card-carrying member of Bike Pittsburgh through volunteering. For a couple of years I had been riding my bike to class at the University of Pittsburgh from Lawrenceville and I wanted to connect with other bicyclists and support bicycle and pedestrian advocacy on the streets of Pittsburgh.
During my time as a member, I explored the many volunteer opportunities available from tabling events to office assistance and was awarded volunteer of the year in 2011 by Lolly Wash, my first supervisor at BikePGH. I wouldn’t stop volunteering, and they couldn’t get rid of me, so Scott Bricker offered me a paid position! At BikePGH, I have had the chance to grow my career from intern, to Membership Assistant, to Membership Coordinator, Membership and Outreach Manager, and finally my current position: Membership and Outreach Director. I’ve seen BikePGH through so many achievements and changes, and now it’s time for a personal change. Come October 2018 I will be leaving my position here at BikePGH and moving to the family farm east of Pittsburgh.
The part of my job that I will miss the most is working on the WMNBikePGH program. For three years I’ve had the great joy of directing BikePGH’s women and biking program which was started by Becca Susman in late 2013 when we held a Women & Biking Zine Night at then E2 in Highland Park with the help of Jude Vachon. There, we crafted and assembled a 56-page zine with 20+ other women entitled, “Yet we rise, we ride…” in which I wrote a comic about biking and dating including the important topic of consensual biking. This was an important stepping stone for me and the beginning of a program that would blossom and create some of the best energy I’ve experienced.
WMNBikePGH has gone through a few transitions over the years, all with the aim of making the program more inclusive and accessible. What began as Women & Biking, later became Spinnsters–a semi-failed attempt at a word reclamation, and then finally WMNBikePGH: a program inclusive towards womxn, femme, non-binary, and gender non-conforming. WMNBikePGH aims to create space for people to connect, learn, ride, and advocate for their space in the bicycling community. And I love it.
This program has brought people together to learn Confident City Cycling skills, basic bike maintenance, how to climb hills, to share stories, and the list goes on. It has seen five Annual Women & Biking Forums featuring classes and keynote speakers attracting over 500 people throughout the years. We’ve pedaled up and down Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods on over 20 bicycle rides and encouraged each other to ride up hills at our own pace, not anyone else’s.
During my time at BikePGH, and especially as director of the WMNBikePGH program, I’ve had the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. In some ways I have been the face of this program as I have coordinated the various classes and social opportunities or perhaps I’ve met with you over a morning coffee meet up. But, I want it be known that there are many people behind the scenes here that have supported this program and will be carrying WMNBikePGH forward including the womxn staff here at BikePGH: Julie Mallis, Alexandria Shewczyk, DeAnna Srock, Anna Tang, Sarah Quinn, and Lydia Yoder. I cannot wait to see all of the great things they will continue to inspire through WMNBikePGH
I hope to pop-in at some of the monthly bike rides to get a taste of the city every now and then and I’ve already saved the date for the next Women & Biking Forum and you should, too! It’s Saturday, April 6th, 2019
Thank you for your participation over the years. I hope you stay engaged and continue to spread the love of bicycling with your friends and neighbors to continue the growth of the WMNBikePGH community.
Jane Kaminski Runyan
Membership & Outreach Director
With special thanks to the following people for leading classes and community events, and to many more volunteers and supporters whose names I may have forgotten who have held up the WMNBikePGH program and made it what it is:
Alexandria Shewczyk, Anna-Lena Kempen, Anna Schwinn, Anna Tang, Anne-Marie Alderson, Anne Marie Toccket. Aryn Gaslowitz, Becca Susman, Carley Young, Carola van Eck, Carolyne Whelan, Carrie Tippen, Christina Joy Neumann, Colleen Gryger, DeAnna Srock, Deltrece Daniels, Donna Green, Elisa Moore, Emily Stilwell, Erin Potts, Eryn Hughes, Greta Daniels, Heather McCracken, Ivonne Ortega, Joyce Wasser, Jude Vachon, Julie Mallis, Karen Brooks, Kat Gregor, Katharine Jordan, Katie Blackburn, Lizzy Nolin, Lydia Yoder, Mary Shaw, Megan Sybeldon, Melissa Pickett, Monica Garrison, Monica VanDieren, Ngani Ndimbie, Patty George, Peg Schmidt, Ren Barger, Ryder Lythos, Samone Riddle, Sara Cole, Sarah Quesen, Sarah Quinn, Shannon Kenyon, Shequaya Bailey, Victoria Robinson, and Vivien Li.