Cycle the WAVE event joins the fight against domestic violence
August 27, 2013
By Kristine Kim
Join 1,200 women on the starting line at Issaquah High School on Sept. 15 for the 2013 Cycle the WAVE Washington ride.
The event, started in 2008 in a collaboration of the Lakemont Ladies Cycling Club and the Rising Star Guild, creates a space for women of all ages and fitness levels to experience camaraderie, increase awareness of domestic violence and raise money for domestic violence programs.
The five past Cycle the WAVE — Women Against Violence Everywhere — events have raised a total of almost $500,000 to support programs for “legal advocacy, deaf and deaf/blind populations, medical advocacy for the education of medical professionals, and for children and teen populations” across Washington state, according to Washington’s Cycle the WAVE website. Last year’s grant recipients from King, Snohomish, Pierce, Chelan and Douglas counties received a total of $120,000.
“The thing that’s so important to the WAVE Foundation is not only raising funds but raising awareness for domestic violence programs across the state,” said Sharon Anderson, executive director of the WAVE Foundation and a founder of the event.
She has been cycling for 25 years, and has been raising funds through the Rising Star Guild for domestic violence programs for many years as well.
Since its inception, the group leading the event has gone through some changes. In 2011, the group established the WAVE Foundation to accommodate riders and programs from across the state. This gives the charity a larger population to help.
One in four women and one in nine men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to the Cycle the WAVE website. A 2006 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that one in three young people would experience teen dating violence.
The event involves many of the younger generation with the participation of groups from several high schools. The Issaquah High School band comes out to play; cheerleaders, drill and dance teams from various schools encourage the riders; and the NJROTC from Liberty High School will help in the parking lot.
“We’ve always had high schoolers involved. We have students that are starting a Cycle the WAVE club,” Anderson said.
It is not just high school students either — the Alpha Chi Omega sorority from the University of Washington will be out in force, bringing out all 100 members to ride and volunteer. Since the philanthropic focus of the sorority is preventing domestic violence, the event is a perfect fit for them.
“It brings the whole topic of healthy relationships and domestic violence awareness to the young generation,” Anderson said.
The dialogue about what makes a healthy relationship is something that has been a key factor for Anderson through the six years since she helped found the ride.
“Seeing all the women turn out to ride with all the different kinds of bikes, different abilities, sizes, shapes, mother-daughter teams — for them all, turning out for this cause with the opportunity to talk about healthy relationships, that just warms my heart,” Anderson said. “It’s a joy working with all my friends and volunteers, and meeting new women interested in volunteering and helping out with this cause.”
Windsor Lewis’ first Cycle the WAVE in 2011 led to her turning into what the Issaquah resident calls a “real live cyclist.”
“I’m really challenging myself with cycling,” she said. “I’m trying longer distances and more difficult routes, and getting out there more frequently.”
All because of that one ride in 2011, Lewis did a solo bike tour in Germany last year and completed the 200-mile Seattle to Portland ride this year. She has been volunteering with Cycle the WAVE ever since her first ride by testing the routes, spreading word of the event around town and cheering on her fellow riders.
It is the shared opportunity for people in any situation to reach their full potential in life that has Lewis sticking to the cause. Though she started in 2011 with no one to ride with, she said she has “found people along the way.”
“I usually do the Middle Sister,” Lewis said, referring to the route name she takes during the event. “I like being able to catch a glimpse of all the groups as they’re out riding.” Last year, she cheered and screamed for a group of exhausted riders as they crossed paths on a hill, making them smile with a new vigor. For Lewis, it is hard not to get excited on ride day.
Though anyone is able to volunteer, the ride itself is restricted to women. That is how the group established the event from the beginning. It brought together women in camaraderie in a noncompetitive environment.
“As much as we love our guys, they do change the dynamics,” Anderson said.
Instead, men who want to be part of the event volunteer. Last year, men and high school boys made up about half of the more than 200 volunteers for the Cycle the WAVE ride.
The group is still inviting people to volunteer and ride in the event.
If you go
- 2013 Cycle the WAVE
- Sept. 15
- Issaquah High School, 700 Second Ave. S.E.
- Start times at http://wa.cyclethewave.org/ride-info-schedule
- Registration fee $75 through Sept. 11, $85 day of event
- First 1,000 registered riders receive a girly gift bag full of goodies.
- Register at http://bit.ly/2013WActwregister; open to women only.
- To volunteer, email Melody Scherting at firstname.lastname@example.org by Sept. 10.
- High school volunteers go to http://bit.ly/2013HSctwvolunteers.
- Learn more at http://bit.ly/2013WACycletheWAVE