Guest Post by Rachel Saudek
Starting April 1, 2017, a posse of spokes-women will begin the journey to the #SMCR2017 Conference happening June 22-24 in Atlanta, Georgia. Yes, we’re a few months early, but that’s because we are travelling by bicycle. We at Sustainable Cycles have done this before. In 2015, our group pedalled more than 9,000 miles along three different routes to arrive at the conference in Boston. This year, we will cycle 4,000 miles to reach Atlanta. Our conference presentation will discuss Menstrual Health: Research, Representation and Re-Education.
Sustainable Cycles links menstruation and mobility through cycling. On this year’s journey, our routes through the United States and Mexico will challenge us to overcome the social and political differences that divide us. Through workshops and person-to-person conversations, we will again raise awareness about menstrual health and reusable menstrual products. We will learn from the people we meet and we will dismantle the cultural stigmas surrounding our cycles.
Riding every mile through small and big towns, we talk to people from all walks of life. We invite them to tell us their menstrual memories, gathering heartfelt, personal stories from individuals across diverse political landscapes.
By offering women’s health information in places where such resources can be limited, we directly address gender inequality. We inspire and are inspired by women who get on their bikes to take control of their own transportation. Many folks we meet have never met a group of all-female, self-supported bicycle tourists, much less discussed periods in public. We connect over what we have in common, inspiring people to learn about their own health and transportation choices.
Talking about periods bridges differences
This year, our curriculum will include information on basic menstrual health and bicycle safety for women, in addition to facts about the environmental impact and economics of menstrual supplies. We know that reusable products do not contain the harmful chemicals or generate the excess waste that conventional pads and tampons do. We know about the better choices for our bodies, the environment, and our wallets. However, most people in the world are not privy to this reality, and conventional product manufacturers will not teach them. We have to educate ourselves! Sustainable Cycles aims to do this.
Since 2011, we have ridden more than 16,000 miles in over 30 states and hosted over a hundred workshops. So we can say from experience that Sustainable Cycles bridges social divisions and unites people over what we have in common–our uteruses! But we need your help to get to Atlanta.
Please support and share our fundraiser campaign to cover the cost of the trip. We appreciate any support!
Now more than ever, with the future of women’s reproductive health care under threat, we want to give people who menstruate the opportunity to learn about their bodies and embrace the menstrual cycle as a sign of vitality.
We look forward to seeing you in June!