My name is Bella, I am an 18 year old female and have grown up in Maine. This August I am setting out to solo cycle across the United States, from Washington state to Virginia.
August 26th is the day women in the United States were certified the 19th amendment, allowing women to vote. Today August 26th is observed as women’s equality day. I will be starting my journey within days of this moment in history less than a hundred years ago. I will be setting out into a country that does not always see the world in the same light. A country that as a whole, at times, knows the strength women hold but also a place that often forgets to value female capacity.
I am full of gratitude for the work the women before me have done to gain basic human rights such as the vote and I feel honored to be able to set out on my bike because so many females in this world do not have this opportunity.
And so I will be traveling fully self supported.
As this idea became more solidified in my head the question arose from friends and family “so who will you be riding with?”- the answer is myself. I am aware of the risk involved in traveling as a solo female but I also do not want to live a life where my gender defines what I can and cannot do. Since this journey is a quest for self-strength and empowerment it seems only fitting to ride for an organization that strives to support woman and girls of all ages across Maine.
The fact is there are women in our Maine community who on a daily basis face adversity. Through my journey I hope to help the people closest to home, to use my power as an individual to positively impact the people around me.
I am eternally grateful for the love and support I have gained growing up in this community. I have learned how empowering encouragement can be and I want to share this feeling with as many women and girls as I can. It would be amazing if more females could say “yes I know I am a woman and that is what makes me capable.” Our society is quick to show that males are the dominant strength but in reality females possess a magnitude of strength.
I feel a strong connection to my home roots of Maine so I am proud to venture into the world carrying a piece of it with me.
By mid to late November I will have cycled approximately 4,500 miles, which leads me to my equivalent number goal to fundraise for Maine women. Follow my progress and adventures here.