Women on Bicycle Initiative (Bisikletli Kadın İnisiyatifi) is going to visit seven regions of Turkey by saying “My Bicycle My City”. They held their second meeting in Diyarbakır on 27th of April! For this event, they organised a 14 km bike ride around the city that had the Diyarbakır Orman Parkı as its starting point.
After the ride they gathered at Tigris Bisiklet ve Özel Sporcular Kulübü to share their stories with each other, support beginners, and encourage women who want to start riding a bicycle. The event was open to all women who cycle and want to cycle. We asked the co-founders, Zeynep Arapoğlu and Seçil Öznur Yakan, some questions about their experience.
- How do you think cycling in a Turkish city will be like for women in the future?
We believe in livable cities and for a healthy society, women must have equal rights in the workplace, in the family, at the parliament and of course on the streets. Life will be more beautiful if women and men can live it together. Transportation is one of the areas where in some countries women cannot go outside without a man, women are harassed, abused. We believe cycling is a way to express ourselves. We can decide on many things like our route, mode of transport, dress, colour of our bicycle, timeplan, where we stop etc. The co-founders of WoBi learnt this by themselves and we know that there are more women there who want to control their lives but need support and we are ready to support them, share our experiences. We believe that in the future, cycling in a Turkish city will be a daily and casual activity for a woman, not a means of attraction or an out of type thing like it’s now.
- What do you expect from the Women on Bicycle Initiative visiting the 7 regions of Turkey?
On our Facebook group we asked to the members in a poll ‘Which cities do you think WoBi (Women on Bicycle Initiative) should visit, meet you and ride together with the support of the Facebook Community Leadership Program? Let’s start the poll with our capital city and then, where are you?’. This poll showed us how WoBi is Istanbul oriented and in the meantime how women from others cities follow us even if we never had the chance to meet them. They want us to come and meet them. This shows offline events are very important and we need to continue doing them, not just in Istanbul but all around Turkey. That’s why training these local women is needed for the sustainability of WoBi, so they can create communities there.
Article by: Anastasia Cojocaru.