Sustainable Cycles is a not-for-profit organization sparking a grassroots movement towards sustainable menstrual products. During their cross country bike tours (Get it? “Cycles?”) they offer samples, education and troubleshooting to help women make the switch.
The next tour is coming up from March to June, ending at the 2015 menstrual conference in Boston, where they will share what they learned on the trip. They have set up an indeigogo campaign to raise money for their Spring trip (to cover the cost of food, bicycle maintenance, emergency repairs, and transportation to and from start and end locations), but funding ends on February 6th.
I asked Sarah to answer a few questions for me.
Maria: How was the idea of Sustainable Cycles born?
Sarah: The first Sustainable Cycles tour was done by Sarah Konner and Toni Craige who biked up the California coast in 2011. This will be the third and largest tour, including 7 women and three tour routes. Menstrual cups can be intimidating. It really takes a person to person candid conversation to become comfortable and open with the idea of a re-usable menstrual product. There can also personal “troubleshooting” issues when first using a menstrual cup, and sustainable cycles aims to help! As for the touring element, we wanted our mission to be sustainable, and to make contact with as many people as possible along our way.
How do you spark conversations?
We will be holding workshops weekly while on the tour at different venues. We invite women who are “cup curious”, and women who believe there should be a better way to manage their period. We also talk to as many people as possible along the way to normalize conversations around menstruation, and alternative products.
How often have people already heard of reusable menstrual options but didn’t have the info necessary to take the plunge?
Many women that I have met have only heard rumors about menstrual cups. Women have fears of blood spilling on their work place floor, the cup being forever lost inside of them, or it compromising their health somehow. Sustainable Cycles wants to dispel these rumors, and give women the information they need to make a mindful menstruation choice. Menstrual cups are typically easy to insert and remove, they can be left in longer than a tampon, and they are a healthier and more sustainable option.
How long have you been doing the bike tours?
This is actually my first long distance tour! Currently I am an avid commuter, zipping around NYC. I also do longer rides with a group called WEbike NYC which is an all women’s ride group. The camping element will be new for me. But I am mostly excited to get out of the city, push myself to the limit, and not have to worry about lights and cabbies.
Is Sustainable Cycles a registered non-profit or just a not-for-profit organization?
Sustainable Cycles is a non-profit. All donations are tax deductible!
How can people help if they aren’t able to make a monetary contribution?
Right now we are looking for hospitality, workshop space, and camping gear. There is a list of possible items needed on our indiegogo page. We are also happy if women spread the word about our project, and about sustainable products. Our goal is for every menstruating women to know they have alternative options.
I love what they’re doing. Sure, if you’re looking for the info you can find it on the internet. What if you don’t frequent blogs and groups where reusable menstrual options are discussed? Sustainable Cycles is breaking the taboo of discussing menstruation and getting info (and products) in the hands of women everywhere.