Caw Like a Crow

Artist, mother and bike adventurer Valerie Downes joined me for this episode and regaled listeners with tales of her recent two-wheeled cross-country adventure (based on the TransAmerica route from Adventure Cycling). We got to hear how people reacted to meeting a woman traveling alone by bike, her patented method for dealing with dogs hell-bent on tire destruction, and her perceptions of what the hell is happening in our nation. (Spoiler alert: Maybe things aren’t as permanently fucked as we think?)

We had a great discussion about what made our feminist hearts sing this week, including a glimpse into Val’s 5-year-old daughter’s self-defense skills (don’t mess with her, y’all!) and a trip back in time to before Roe v. Wade when a covert group of women, all of whom called themselves Jane, organized to provide safe access to abortion for the women of Chicago. (It’s an amazing story; check out this video series about the Janes from The New York Times Retro Report.) Then we tackled a question from a listener who’s young and in love but yearning for adventure while her boo wants to stay put. (Another spoiler alert: No easy answers there.)

Val brought it back to biking with her choice for the Hotdog Hall of Fame: Ayesha McGowan. McGowan is on track to be the first African-American woman to become a professional road cyclist. Not only is she making history, she’s paving the way for young black girls who, previously, had no representation in the sport. Feminist Hotdog picked Leslie Hall, formerly of the girl group Leslie and the Lys. She’s a rapper, she’s a video and performance artist, she’s a collector (and namer!) of gem sweaters. If all that sounds like a lot, try doing it in gold lamé pants. Check out the Hall of Fame for more on these incredible inductees!