LONG ISLAND CITY — A group of workshops geared specifically for women will cover the basics of cycling and bike maintenance in an effort to get more ladies riding.
Nonprofit Recycle-a-Bicycle is teaming up with Rockaway Brewing Company and advocacy group Get Women Cycling to host the monthly classes for women — covering topics from brake repairs to street harassment.
"Our needs are different, and the industry has been male-dominated for decades," said Angela Azzolino, program creator and executive director at Get Women Cycling, which works with local bike shops to help address the disparity between the number of men and women cyclists.
She pointed to statistics from groups like The League of American Bicyclists, which says that women riders accounted for only 24 percent of the nation's bike rides that were taken in 2009.
A similar disparity was found among users in the city's bike share program: a New York University report from June found more than 75 percent of rides taken via Citi Bike were taken by men.
"We formed this past may in an effort to address the ever-increasing gender gap," Azzolino said, saying affordability is one factor that deters many women from taking up the sport, as well as the fact that many bike shops in the city cater largely to selling gear to men.
The "Ladies Fix and Flight" workshops are a way to promote cycling as a route to healthy living, and to help women feel more comfortable and confident on a bike.
"The idea is that we'll bring more women in," she said. "But not even women — any cyclist who relates to the same issues that we're hearing from the ladies are welcome."
The next class will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Recycle-a-Bicycle and Rockaway Brewing Company's shared building at 46-01 5th St. in Hunters Point, and will focus on bike maintenance, including taking care of your chain and how to repair brakes and gears.
Another workshop will take place Oct. 14, and will discuss ways to prepare your bike for the winter and how to ride safely during cold weather.
Azzolino said they hope to offer a different session each month, with future topics to include things like how to deal with street harassment and aggressive drivers.
Tickets for Wednesday's event can be purchased online and cost $10. A $15 ticket is also available, which includes a flight of beer from Rockaway Brewing.