'Fancy women' push pedals to mark car-free day
Thousands of women pushed pedals across the world as part of a global-scale campaign to give more visibility to women in society and to demand cycle-friendly cities.
The “Fancy Women Bike Ride,” a vivid annual event created by women for the ninth time, took place in 151 cities in 30 different countries including Istanbul, Ankara, New York, London, Rome, Berlin, Lisbon and Kuala Lumpur.
The event originated in Turkey in 2013 when a Turkish teacher, Sema Gür, called on fellow women to get behind the handle bars with a fancy dress and make-up to mark 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, leading the organization to become an annual ritual known throughout the world.
Although the event could not be held physically due to the pandemic last year, it spread to Turkey’s 85 cities and towns from the southeastern province of Hakkari’s Yüksekova district to the northwestern province of Tekirdağ bordering Bulgaria.
In Turkish cities, women carrying banners reading “fancy women” and decorating their bicycles with balloons, flowers and toys gathered in the biggest squares of the cities and toured around on two wheels.
Spectators gathered on the side of the road to support the women on bikes with applauses in the colorful event whose motto was “scented women against the smell of exhaust gas.”
“We need to exist more in the city, we call the smell of perfume against the smell of exhaust,” said Sevinç Aksüt, one of the participants in the leg of the event held in Istanbul’s Baghdad Avenue, located on the city’s Asian side.
“Let the smell of perfume shake the streets,” she added.
Filiz Yıldız, who participated in the tour with her flowery bike, said that she had a very enjoyable day.
“I’m a very fancy person in general, but today I’ve been a bit more exaggerated,” Yıldız noted while posing on two wheels with a fancy and elegant dress.
Meanwhile, some female police and gendarmerie officers also participated in the leg of the event in Anatolian cities.