Fancy Women Bike Ride spreads to 85 cities, towns

Fancy Women Bike Ride spreads to 85 cities, towns

Fancy Women Bike Ride spreads to 85 cities, towns

Thousands of women pushed the pedals on Sept. 22 in Turkey’s 85 cities and towns as part of a global-scale campaign to give more visibility to women in society and to demand cycle-friendly cities.

Fancy Women Bike Ride, a vivid annual event created by women for the seventh time, took place in 115 cities of 15 countries including Vancouver, Washington D.C., Edinburgh, Rome, Athens, Skopje, Baku and Tehran.

The event, now recognized as a global women’s movement by the EU Commission, originated in Turkey in 2013 when a Turkish teacher, Sema Gür, called on fellow women to get behind the handle bars with fancy dress and make-up to mark the Car Free Cities Day, an initiative organized as part of the EU’s Mobility Week activities. Some 200 women living in Turkey’s Aegean province of İzmir attended the first event.

This year, the event spread to Turkey’s 85 cities and towns from Van in the east to the northwestern province of Tekirdağ bordering Bulgaria.

“More women get on their bicycles with every passing year. My eyes brim with tears when I see such a huge interest,” said Sema Gür, just before riding for three kilometers with 2,000 women from the Konak Square in the heart of İzmir.

The women carried banners reading “Get on a bike, change the world,” “The world changes when women take to the streets,” and “Cycling is freedom,” and this year’s motto was “Perfume and flower fragrance instead of exhaust gas.”

“The main objective of this event is to make more women ride a bike. We want to see more women on the streets. Not to say, bicycle is an environment-friendly vehicle. The cities are invaded by automobiles. We organize this tour to encourage cycling. We want to draw attention, that’s why we primp up like this,” said Gür.

Some women get prepared for the day for several weeks.

“I got prepared specially for here. First, I went for clothing shopping. I bought ornaments to adorn my bike,” said Aylin Gözeten, who was attending the event fourth time.

“I started getting hyped up two months before the event,” she added.

Esra Şen, also attending for the fourth time, was wearing a costume resembling an angel.

“I make a different combination every year. Women need peace and support; so, I chose to be an angel to stress cleanness. The ambience is fantastic here,” she said.

Meanwhile, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and Christian Berger, the head of the European Union delegation to Turkey, attended an event on Bağdat Avenue in Kadıköy district to mark Mobility Week.