Powerful Women Shaping Philly’s Cycling Scene

March is Women’s History Month, which we celebrate by amplifying women’s voices to honor the past, inform the present, and inspire the future. Indego would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to four women who are doing amazing things for cycling in Philadelphia. From leading a national bike share partnership to creating a cycling club that encourages women of color to ride, these women are trailblazers in their communities.

We had the opportunity to sit down with them to discuss their work!

Caitlin Thompson

Caitlin on a mountain bike, smiling as she rides past a young child.

Caitlin Thompson is the Program Lead for Little Bellas in Philadelphia. Little Bellas is a mountain bike organization whose goal is to help young women realize their potential through cycling. Caitlin also volunteers with the Bicycle Coalition’s Youth Cycling program and is on the board of Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Bikeworks.

What motivates you to do the work that you do?

I am motivated to share my love of mountain biking with Philadelphia’s girls because being on two wheels in the urban woods with friends is fun and a great way to build confidence! Exploring the woods that are within the city limits brings a smile to my face and I love sharing that with others. Learning a new skill, like learning to ride over a log or a root, can inspire people to challenge themselves in other areas of their lives and to think positively about themselves.

What changes do you hope to see in your community from your work?

I’d love to see more girls and women riding mountain bikes in our city. There are a lot of great trails, from the Schuylkill River Trail to the Towpath in Manayunk to the single track in Belmont, and it’d be awesome to see more girls on them. Even just being aware of those great trails would be a good start. I’d also like to see more racial and economic diversity in the folks that I see riding in the woods. Our Little Bellas program specifically works to encourage families with diverse backgrounds to join us, supporting them with scholarships, loaner bikes, etc. as needed. We are always looking for more mentors and I’d love to have more diversity in my mentor group as well.

If you are interested in Little Bellas, you can contact Caitlin at caitlin@littlebellas.com

Stephanie Ford

Stephanie posing with her bike in all her riding gear.

Stephanie Ford is the founder of an all-women cycling group called, Pedal Posse Divas. Pedal Posse Divas supports bike advocacy, education, goes on charity rides, and spreads the joy of cycling!

What motivates you to do the work that you do?

I love cycling. I feel that everyone should own a bike and experience the joy of cycling. I also think that fitness/movement is important for overall health and wellness. What better way to take charge of your overall health and wellness than with riding a bike?

What changes do you hope to see in your community from your work?

It is my hope that women in the communities that we ride through will see us and want to join us for a ride. Typically when riding with the group, women will ask questions about how they can join. I hope to change the narrative around cycling and women, black women to be exact. What really warms my heart is the little girls who wave and point when they see us ride by.

Waffiyyah Murray

Waffiyyah leading a group ride on Indego bike share bikes

Waffiyyah Murray works for the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability where she manages the Better Bike Share Partnership. In her role, Waffiyyah works to address barriers to the use of bike share in low-income communities and communities of color and increase equitable access in bike share systems nationally.

What motivates you to do the work that you do?

Biking for and me and many others is so much more than just transportation. It’s a tool for access and opportunity. Through my work with the Better Bike Share Partnership, I’m able to work with communities to develop partnerships and initiatives to help make biking accessible for everyone regardless of age, race, or income. Knowing that my work not only has an impact locally in Philadelphia but nationally is very rewarding.

What was it that got you into the cycling industry?

I was first introduced to the cycling industry through my work as Safe Routes Philly (SRP) Coordinator at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP). In this role, I worked with schools throughout the city encouraging children and families to use walking and biking as a fun and healthy form of transportation. Before coming to BCGP I hadn’t ridden a bike in years, but through my work with SRP, I was reintroduced to biking and its many benefits.

Natalie Felice

Natalie smiling on her bike in all her riding gear.

Natalie Felice is a bicycle mechanic who also teaches beginner/intermediate bike maintenance and mechanic classes. She is also a volunteer at the bike shop where she got her start as a mechanic in Delaware. Natalie let us know that “Right now, I’m focusing on my first season of racing and working on some big projects for the future, so stay tuned this year for some exciting updates in the Philly bike shop scene!”

What was it that got you into the cycling industry?

I originally got into the cycling industry through my local non-profit bike shop when I was living in Delaware. I was a regular commuter at the time and stopped by just to check them out, and the next thing I knew I was volunteering and taking mechanic classes with them. I eventually was hired and ended up teaching those very same classes, and when I moved to Philadelphia, I decided I wanted to continue doing this fulfilling work.

What motivates you to do the work that you do?

My motivation to continue working with bicycles comes from how versatile cycling is. Bikes are an inexpensive form of transportation, a way to exercise and compete, a medium to express creativity, and a fun way to meet people and hang out with friends. I think it is rare to find something that can check all of those boxes, and I love to be in a position to teach people about this and empower them to use cycling in a way that works for their life.

What advice do you have for other women looking to get into the cycling industry?  

My advice for other women/trans/non-binary people that want to get into the cycling industry is to just not give up. There are certainly some unwelcoming corners of this world that can make getting into it discouraging, but now more than ever there are beautiful, blossoming communities created by women/trans/non-binary people. Reach out, find these communities and you’ll see how rewarding they can be.


Indego is proud to honor these women by telling their stories. If you know a woman that inspires you through cycling, be sure to leave a reply in the comment section below or giver her a shout out on social media with the hashtag #WomenBikePHL and Indego will repost them!


The Better Bike Share Partnership is an effort led by the City of Philadelphia that works to ensure that Indego bike share is accessible to all Philadelphians. The Better Bike Share Partnership is funded by the JPB Foundation.  

2 Comments

Robert Dennison

These women give me hope for our future. It’s great to learn about them. Thanks for highlighting them.

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peter

These women give me hope for our future. It’s great to learn about them. Thanks for highlighting them.

Reply

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