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How to Get Girl Scouts on Bikes
There's a gaping pothole in the path to more women riding: Keeping young women excited about bicycling.
Research shows that, at about age 14, many girls abandon their bikes for a variety of reasons: Other girls aren't riding; their friend don't think it's cool; exercising is awkward.
How do we keep future female riders in the saddle? Last year, Katie Monroe with the Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition piloted a promising partnership that can be replicated nationwide.
"Before I was a bike advocate in Philadelphia, I was a Girl Scout for a full decade of my younger years," Monroe says. "Last year, with the help of a Women Bike grant from the League, I was able to combine these two passions and launch a 'Girl Scouts on Wheels' bike patch here in Philadelphia."
The partnership made perfect sense. With a mission to "create girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place," it was a good bet that Girl Scout leaders could connect with bike advocates' efforts to increase healthy activity and foster community leaders.
With the organization's focus on experiential learning, bicycling skills seemed like a patch that a good portion of the 2.3 million girl scouts nationwide might want to add to their sash.
And best of all? It created the opportunity to instill the love of bicycling — and the confidence to ride comfortably and safely — among a younger population before they hit the roadblocks that pop up in their pre-teen years.
So how did Monroe make it work in Philly? Find out next Wednesday, August 6, at 3 p.m. Eastern, as she releases and discusses her Women Bike Toolkit for "Girl Scouts on Wheels."