I was waiting behind a couple cars at one of my trickier intersections this afternoon, and noticed absently that there were 3 high school age girls waiting at the crosswalk. The light turned green, and I worked hard to get up to speed across the intersection.

Just after I passed the crosswalk, I heard, “you go, girl!”

I was too far past them and concentrating too much on my riding to respond, but internally I was smiling.

I thought about those girls for the rest of the way home, and about role models. I thought about how important it is for us to see women out there doing things, and just taking it in stride.

Our moms are so important, and I was lucky to have a good role model in my mom. She was, and is, plucky and independent and not afraid to go against the grain. She never approached anything with a view of what girls versus boys could or could not do. But as good of a role model as she was, something I can clearly see in retrospect, and as important as it is for our moms to be good role models, we also need outside role models. Especially, perhaps, in those teen years.

I suppose this goes back to that ubiquitous “be the change you want to see.” And being seen by those teenage girls, and having them cheer me on (and I don’t think mockingly!), that really drove home the impact that we can all have, just by doing our thing. I am not going to pretend that witnessing a female bike commuter will change anything in the lives of those teens, but I do know that they’ll at least have in their minds the definite knowledge that bike commuting isn’t just for men.

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