‘Chic women’ to cycle for sustainable transportation
Women cyclists across Turkey will go behind the wheel on Sept. 22 for the annual “Chic Women Bike Ride” in an attempt to give more visibility to women in Turkish society and to demand bicycle-friendly cities.
The Chic Women Bike Ride first took place in 2013 with the initiation of Sema Gür, a history teacher based in the Aegean province of İzmir. The bicycle tour came to life initially in İzmir but over the years spread to other provinces.
In 2013, Gür asked a group of cyclist friends, all women, to come together one Sunday morning in İzmir, coinciding with the annual Car Free Cities Day, an initiative organized as part of the EU’s “Mobility Week” activities. She asked them to dress up and decorate their bikes. About 300 women joined initially, and the next year, many more women joined the activity in more provinces, turning it into a high-profile annual event.
And now, women dressing up and riding their decorated bikes partake in the demonstration every year to bring more women to the streets and to push municipalities to invest in cycling infrastructure, to increase safety on roads for bike riding and develop bike-friendly services.
In 2017, the event was organized in 50 cities, while in 2018, in 70 cities. And this year, it will take place in almost 100 cities all around the world.
The event is recognized as a global women movement by EU Commission.
“Woman’s visibility in urban spaces is key to claim the right to the city. Cycling is a particularly powerful way for women to become visible in the society and a complete new way to interact with the city,” the event’s manifesto says on its website.