When the Women's March on Washington was announced, I knew I needed to be part of it- and that I also wanted to host as many friends from out of town as I possibly could at my home so that they could be there, too. Quickly the available space in my house filled up, like all the hotels and AirBnBs in the city. And yet even more people would come, if there was somewhere they could sleep for a night. Some roller derby friends were trying to find a skating rink that would rent out to them for a night so they could sleep on the floor, but struck out- and that's when I thought about the floor space at the shop in Adams Morgan, We already clear out most of the floor once a week for yoga- what would be so different about clearing the floor to let some folks sleep there?
We worked out a plan and got approval from our owner and all-around awesome person, Phil, and then it was time for signups. Overall, around 45 people signed up for space on Friday night, Saturday night, or both. I finally had an excuse to buy that camping air pad that I've been wanting, since I'd be there supervising the event both nights. When the day finally came, we were ready for the best Slumber Party ever.
While not all 45 people showed- ultimately we had 18 people on Friday night and 13 on Saturday- I was so happy with how it turned out. Here are some highlights:
We had protestors hailing from: Alaska, Boston, Baltimore, NYC, New Orleans, Kentucky, Tennesse, North Carolina, California and more!
As protestors arrived and met each other, groups formed- people met others and started talking about why they were there, what the election had meant to them, who they were marching for. We shared our experiences and welcomed newcomers to the space. We offered everyone tea and hot chocolate and granola bars, which were quickly scarfed down. This community continued the next night as we fought our tiredness to tell our stories of the March.
I was given a homemade screenprinted t-shirt with a feminist message on it for facilitating the event by the Alaska contingent. It's awesome and I will wear it at the shop a lot!
A woman named Haley from Ohio heard about our space and sent us a box of 25 pink fleece 'pussyhats' she had made. Some of our protestors already had made their own (there was even some last minute knitting going on Saturday morning!) but many accepted and wore her gifts, and I distributed the others at Columbia Heights metro on our way in. We sent her the pictures you see here of protestors wearing her hats, which she said 'made her day'.
Riders happily navigate crowds at Union Station on the way to bike valet at L'Enfant Plaza. Saturday was filled with great energy. Riders we're greeted with cheers around every corner on their way to the march. Bikes reciprocated with bell ringing and chants of their own. No matter how crowded or congested it got no one seemed to be bothered. The outpour of support and positivity was palpable. Everyone seemed to leave the march uplifted and energized.
Monica, of Sister Black Press, traveled from Minneapolis with her cargo bike letterpress. She dropped off the bike to get put back together on Friday night, and picked it up Saturday to ride to the March and around town. She made these wonderful spoke cards with poetry on them for all who wanted one- some are still available at the shops and she can send us more if you want one for yourself! When she dropped off the bike our mechanics had already gone home, and I couldn't get her disc brakes to stop rubbing when I put it together. Luckily, one of the folks who was staying at the shop that night was a bike mechanic from NYC's Recycle a Bicycle program, who taught me a bit about adjusting mechanical disc brakes and made sure it was working perfectly for Monica on Saturday. Monica's twin sister borrowed one of our demo Bromptons to ride with her and loved it, of course!
Another bike-related contingent were two pedicab drivers. Apparently all the pedicab drivers in their whole city took the day off to March on Saturday, either at their local march or in DC.
On Sunday morning, one of the protestors brought in bagels for all, exemplifying the spirit of generosity that characterized the weekend.
I wasn't sure how it would work out but ultimately the event was a great success. We are thankful for the support of our customers and community, without whom we wouldn't be able to do things like this. Together, we made this space possible, and proved again that community is really what BicycleSPACE is all about.
Becky Puritz | Store Manager + Bicycle Fitter