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2013 TEDxColumbus: Out There

Jessica Mathews

Two of Jessica Mathews’s passions are women and bicycles. For the past four years, Jessica has chosen to live a car-free life. As the Outreach Program Coordinator for the local bicycle non-profit, Consider biking, she eats, sleeps, and breathes to create a safer, more convenient, and more accessible ‘multimodal’ city for everyone (anyone that knows her can attest to this). Jess obsessively believes that streets must be shifted back to ‘people-priority’ instead of ‘auto-priority’.

Jessica’s focus has recently turned specifically towards empowering and educating women and girls about the benefits of the bicycle. She strongly believes that when there are more women and girls riding bikes on a regular basis, the more ‘normal’ the bicycle will be viewed here in America. As such, Jess created a girls-specific youth empowerment program: ‘Girls in Gear’ which empowers adolescent girls to develop unique skills that help build their independence and self-esteem so that they begin a pattern of confident, healthy decision making throughout their lives. Areas of focus include: bicycle mechanics, nutrition education, and community urban design.

This past May, Jess led the effort to organize the first statewide ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit’, which brought in speakers and attendees from all around Ohio. Jess also organizes a monthly women’s ride, ‘2 Wheels & Heels’ that has attracted attention from two national magazines and local media.
Cyclist, Revolutionary, Changemaker