Hillary-Anne Crosby and Lauren Connolly are heading to Chicago next month, but it isn’t your average trip. The two friends are departing from Austin and covering the 1,425-mile route on their bicycles. The tour will involve stopping at various cities along the way, meeting up with female cyclists at local bike shops and interviewing them about why they love biking. Their findings and photographs will then be compiled into a self-published book called Babes & Their Bikes.
“Any woman who rides a bike is a Babe, whether she’s five years old and still has training wheels or she’s seventy and still going,” Crosby explains. “We want to include girls who ride road bikes, mountain bikes, BMX bikes – however you choose to ride.”
A lot has changed since Susan B. Anthony declared in 1896 that bicycling “has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” Still, Crosby notes that bicycling remains a male-dominated pastime.
“There’s a special relationship between anyone and their bike, but because fewer women ride, I love finding out all their different reasons,” she said.
The book that she and Connolly are working on, which will benefit from her background in writing and Connolly’s design experience, is all about bringing together different women with a shared passion.
“We want to let other people flipping through the book see the diversity of the cycling crowd,” Crosby said. “I want to have people be able to embrace that diversity and admire these girls and all their different styles.”
They’re reaching out to the Austin community to make it happen. The team favors local events, like the fundraisers they’ve hosted at Book People, The Burlap Bag, and Cheer Up Charlie’s, to meet their goal. It’s more hands-on than an online Kickstarter, and allows for more personal connections with supporters.
“A lot of it’s just about raising awareness. We’re gonna do this either way. This is the book we’re going to plan for,” Crosby added.
If all goes well, they hope to do West Coast and East Coast bike tours in the future, turning Babes & their Bikes into a series.
There’s a lot of ground to cover, but these ladies are ready to put their mettle to the pedal.
To learn more about Babes & their Bikes, please visit www.BabesandtheirBikes.com