On March 11, over 30 cyclists set off from Byumba in Northern Rwanda on a 70km bike ride to Rwanda’s capital city Kigali.
Aside from the oddity of seeing so many amateur cyclists flying down the narrow s-curve roads at once, the group stood out because almost every rider was female. In Rwanda, this is not typical. Though some girls do learn to ride bicycles as children and there are some communities where it is less unusual to spot a woman pedaling a bike, the general trend is that older girls and women do not ride bikes. This is based on myths surrounding the ill health effects cycling has on a woman and stereotypes about the sex drive of girls/women who ride bikes.
The ride was hosted by current Peace Corps Volunteers as part of the Let Girls Ride Campaign, and was meant to challenge these ideas – not only through the visual of 30+ women rode proudly throughout the countryside, but also through education. The group took three stops in community centers to teach lessons on girls’ empowerment, gender equality, and challenging myths and stereotypes about women cycling.
The Women’s Bakery was honored to participate in this event, as well as to be chosen as the recipient of funds raised during the Let Girls Ride Campaign. Connecting bicycling directly with our work in Rwanda, The Women’s Bakery has long dreamed of teaching our women in the bakery to ride bicycles which they can then use for more efficient bread deliveries.
Currently, most deliveries are made on foot and the bread is carried by hand in baskets or buckets. With a bicycle and custom designed bread box attached to the back, more bread can be delivered faster and further!
In the coming weeks, the Remera Bakery group will start bicycling lessons on the new delivery bike that was given to them at the end of the Let Girls Ride event. Our hope is that over time some of the women will embrace cycling, empowering themselves, growing their business, and challenging stereotypes.
#letgirlsride #cyclingforchange #womenonbikes #breadbike