Ride Like A Girl Cycling

Learn ~ Laugh ~ Love it!

The Critical Question: So What?


Our biggest ride: The Harvest Century (46 miles)

Our biggest ride: The Harvest Century (46 miles)

Year-end is a time of reflection, goal setting and (if you work for Corporate America) preparing for your annual performance review. After thirty-one years at Intel I had become well versed in answering the “So what?” question. In other words, it didn’t really matter the number of hours I worked, how hard I worked or how much activity I generated. What mattered most was one thing: Results

  • How much training time was reduced?
  • What performance problem was fixed by XYZ effort?
  • Were deliverables on time or ahead of schedule?
  • To what degree were systems streamlined, efficiencies gained or time saved?

So as Ride Like A Girl wraps up its second year of transforming non-biking women into skilled and confident bicyclists I decided to answer the So What? question. Here are a few Ride Like A Girl program highlights that, if I was still working at Intel, would be the subject of conversation in my next manager one-on-one.

Just the Numbers:

This section answers the program’s quantitative questions: how many? how far? how fast? by what rate?

  • 96 women participated, a 19% increase above 2013
  • 70% were new to the program
  • 25 bike rides and 7 training clinics scheduled with an average attendance of 12 (range: 5-21)
  • 433 cumulative attendance, 39% increase
  • Increased our biking distance from 8 miles to 46 miles
  • Doubled our pace from 8mph to 15mph
  • With a possible 545 miles per rider, collectively we logged well over 6,000 miles

And the Results?

The following slides are excerpts from a November Impact Assessment Report. The data were gathered by surveying women who attended RLAG bike rides and clinics 3 or more times (30 of 50 responded). Questions were framed in the following context, “Since joining Ride Like A Girl…”

Skill & Confidence

now I can ride with...

So What - Money Spent So What - New Bikes

Creating evangelists

You Can Take the Girl out of Intel…

No doubt, my husband will read this with head shaking, “Retired 18 months and she is still writing an annual performance summary”.  What can I say? Intel is inside me.

How About the New Year?

To those who may be wondering, What’s planned for 2015? Or Where do I sign up? Well, you will just have to follow me and see what gets posted next. Interested women who reside in the Portland area may also send an email to ridelikeaPDXgirl@gmail.com to request an invitation to the spring kick-off event.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Dear Reader!

Author: Carolyn @ RideLikeAGirlPortland.com

I am an avid cyclist, passionate about training and encouraging other women to discover the joys of cycling. I believe that if women have a learning environment that feels safe, is fun and includes the support of other women, they will naturally Learn, Laugh and Love it!

21 thoughts on “The Critical Question: So What?

  1. yay for Ride Like a Girl! It seems much has been accomplished this year!

  2. I think you’ve earned a stellar performance review! (And yes, you are still working, but it’s something you love.)

  3. Great data, Carolyn! I would have liked to ride much more with the group but the rides were scheduled on work days. I would like to see next year’s rides be more varied – on different days and even weekends. I definitely want to ride with you again next year!

  4. Awesome!! this data confirms the huge impact of Ride Like A Girl. Thank you, Carolyn, for being such a dedicated and passionate leader for cycling girlfriends!!

  5. Wow!! Impressive and a little intimidating. 🙂 ps: my mother and I met you and your husband at breakfast in Portland.

    • Hi Kelly, yes I remember meeting you and your mom. Good job finding Fuller’s, definitely a Portland hot spot for breakfast. Please, please do not be intimidated by any of these numbers. We are a group that seeks out the non-biking woman and encourages her to come and learn with us. We make baby steps along the way and so by the end of 6 or 7 months, women who weren’t biking previously are doing great things – like biking up to 46 miles in the Harvest Century. Stick around and I think you’ll see. Consider reading the Feb 9th post, “Ready, Set, Knock Knock”, a fun story about one of our first-timer girlfriends.

    • Carolyn and all the ladies make it easy to start riding! I NEVER felt awkward or embarrassed to admit where I was lacking in knowledge. It’s a fabulous group of women, I can’t say enough about the experience, except that I wish I could have ridden even more and was always disappointed when I found that I could not attend a ride!!!

  6. Very interesting! Really. Proof of the power of bikey goodness. The “Now I Can Ride With” numbers are fascinating.. These people probably started out feeling they could not ride with anyone, so huge kudos to you all. Next question, how to get to the next level?

    • Yes, that slide is very satisfying to me because it is one of the fundamental reasons I was motivated to start RLAG. Great question ,by the way.

    • I would love to see RLAG sponsoring our own rides on all days/times of the week, like the BOB rides. I still feel a little intimidated to ride with BOB due to the length of the rides or the hills involved. Maybe even a transition group? I feel awkward just showing up to a BOB ride and hoping I don’t get left in the dust!

      • Sherry, the best way to improve is to get out of your comfort zone. Butts on Bikes is great for that. Of course, you want to do your best to understand your ability and then read each ride description carefully so you’re not completely over your head. But ask Beth – she joined a ride that challenged her but it was under 30 miles. The distance was in her comfort zone, but the speed challenged her. BoB leaders are usually great about re-grouping for slower riders, unless the leader gives caution or describes it as a difficult/advanced ride. I spent the first 2-3 years being at the back of the pack – every ride. I had to accept that and do a lot of self talk, but I found that if I was willing to give it my all, there was plenty of encouragement and support to help me along the way.

      • Don’t mean to be sacrilegious, but there are some other meetup groups that tend to have some easier rides. I agree that you have to challenge/push yourself little by little, but some of these might help — NumBumz and Women on Wheels, for example.

    • Yes, Paul, getting to the next level is under consideration right now. We’re looking at creating some training rides to step it up a level. Your “Hills 101” is a great idea maybe later in the season when the weather is more consistent; and if you don’t kill us 🙂

    • It might help to define the next level for yourself and then map out a strategy to get there — and a goal.

  7. Very impressive progress. ‘Way to go, Girls!

  8. Sometimes you need to just push it to the limit. Ride as hard as you can even if it turns out to be just one block. Add an extra mile. Ride that one hill. I went for a ride that turned out to,be way over my head but now I know what it feels like to maybe be able to ride that pace at some point. I could barely make the first RLAG 5 miler due to years at a desk job, lack of motivation and not putting my exercise time as a priority. Build a base first then push it just a little:)

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