Machines in the City
On an overcast Saturday in June, some forty cyclists gathered around the doors of a not yet open Bicycle Habitat. They were there for the Machines in the City ride, a group ride of mixed abilities and ages, co-led by Bicycle Habitat, Machines for Freedom and Pretty Damned Fast. It's hard to believe the growth that each entity has seen in the past year, but the eager faces of the women there proved beyond a doubt that women’s cycling is well beyond its critical mass.
Started in 2013 by Jennifer Hannon, Machines for Freedom is unique in the cycling apparel industry. It is a women owned and operated brand, that only makes women's apparel. It is as performance driven as it is beautiful. And most importantly it is in direct opposition to the styles and cuts that big cycling store buyers continue to push on female clientele. Their bib shorts, their luxury fabrics, and their cutting edge fashion are the opposite of what you’re likely to find on the rack.
Similarly, the women’s program at Bicycle Habitat has in a few short months grown to be a cornerstone of the NYC women’s cycling community. Bicycle Habitat has always been a welcoming place for female cyclists, and its road bike shop has hosted many a women’s cycling event, but in launching their women’s program, they have truly provided that first stepping stone between bike ownership and the sport. From new commuters testing their legs on a ride of 20 miles, to supporting women on their first 85 mile ride, Bicycle Habitat helps women navigate new territory. Overseen by Emily Samtag and Kristen Phillips, and supported by an amazing crew, they are truly doing something different.
We feel so lucky to have played a part in bringing together these two parties, and feel honored to play a role in the continued growth of women’s cycling everywhere. This past weekend, some Machines for Freedom jerseys were spotted in an open CRCA race. And while those fierce women were technically racing ‘unattached’ to us it drove the point home that women’s cycling is ultimately about camaraderie and community. In a Machines for Freedom kit, or on a Bicycle Habitat ride, or connecting with a story on Pretty Damned Fast, we are all part of this growing movement.