What do your bicycle and your Lunapads have in common? For Sustainable Cycles, they are both vital tools for social change! This coming spring, 7+ female cyclists will ride their bicycles thousands of miles to The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (SMCR) conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Along the route through Mexico and the US, we will gather with locals to discuss the intersection of menstruation and mobility. We will demand space on public roads for sustainable transportation and will hold workshops about reusable menstrual products like sea sponges, cups, and Lunapads.
Conventional menstrual products are wasteful, toxic, expensive, and chained to an industrial system that is not good for our bodies or the earth. People will spend thousands of dollars, create hundreds of pounds of trash and expose their vaginas to harmful chemicals throughout their lifetimes while using them. We get it--reusables are not for everyone, but the simple and healthy alternatives are not advertised widely. We have to do it ourselves.
Likewise, while motor vehicles can be valuable tools for transportation and logistics, there are too many cars on the road! Daily rush hour gridlock soils local air quality, increases dependence on fossil fuel, and renders the combustion engine useless but for producing noxious fumes traveling at a pedestrian pace. Sustainable Cycles is a part of a 501(c)3 non-profit called Sustainable Streets; we believe that municipalities must offer cyclists and pedestrians just as much safety and convenience as they offer motorists in the public roadway. After all, the Good Roads Movement of the late 1800s was initiated by cyclists!
Since 2011, Sustainable Cycles has sponsored 10 cyclists to ride over 16,000 in more than 30 states in the US, all the while smashing menstruation taboos and promoting reusable products. 2017’s tour will be our second pilgrimage to the SMCR conference and our first time riding internationally. Along with our allies #HappyPeriod, The Fifth Vital Sign, and several bicycle communities along the route, our workshops will be full of people learning from each other to achieve gender equality and environmental justice.
#HappyPeriod and Sustainable Cycles made and distributed 200 menstrual health kits for people experiencing homelessness in 2016.
Biking thousands of miles literally makes our bodies stronger, and by connecting with locals along the routes we travel, we have conversations that strengthen the women’s health movement, too. Current US politics are galvanizing people to gain more body literacy and reproductive autonomy as access to contraceptives and abortion becomes uncertain. While there is a lot of work to be done, we are inspired by the efforts of many individuals, organizations, and businesses on the right track.
We thank Lunapads for supporting our cause! Our trips lead us through very diverse political landscapes, and through their support, we are able to distribute options that most locals have never heard of before. To this day, dominant culture demands that menstruation remains unspoken, wrapped up, and thrown out. Sustainable Cycles allows us to start conversations about menstruation by starting with bicycling! It has been an incredible tool for our cause, and we are honored to be period activists.
Donate to help us provide travel scholarships to our riders! And join us at our upcoming events. We will celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28th in Austin, Texas before departing for the SMCR conference. Visit www.sustainablecycles.org to follow along!