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Women on Bikes Day 15: Rachael Maney

Rachael Maney, Director of Bike Law, practices what she preaches.

Rachael Maney is the Director of the Bike Law Network and of the non-profit Bike Law Foundation.

As most of you know, she has spent the last two weeks on these pages profiling 16 Women on Bikes leading up to yesterday’s inaugural Women’s Cycling Day.

If you haven’t yet, read her profiles of and conversations with Lauren Hefferon and Heather Mason, Ann Groninger, Kathryn Doornbos, Nedra Deadwyler, Lauri Boxer-Macomber, Sara Colangelo, Katie Zimmerman, Julia Park-Charlton, Heather Anderson, Katrena Hunter, Laura Specker-Sullivan, Amy Johnson, Timberley Jones, Natalia Vargas, and Heather Jackson.

I have been asked by many that Rachael, too, get featured in this Series.  For many of us, she is leading the charge for better biking, and inspiring us to think about the bike as, as she puts it, “the fastest way to change the world.”

Rachael Maney’s Job at Bike Law

Her job description at Bike Law is wide-ranging and growing.  She sets and implements our efforts to make cycling safer, better, more inclusive, and more joyful for more people, more places.  And she is succeeding. Everything she does, she does with:

Empathy.

Compassion.

Courage.

Dedication.

Loyalty.

Eloquence.

Profundity.

And her work takes her to every corner of the cycling community (and outside of it). She can be found:

  • As the keynote speaker to Bike Maryland‘s annual advocacy summit, pushing forward legal reform and increasing the legal protection of cyclists.
  • Working with advocates and legislators on better ways to protect cyclists.
  • Partnering with Cycliq and other industry vendors to promote cycling safety.
  • Leading her growing crew of Bike Law Ambassadors as they push local cycling efforts around the country.
  • On television, podcast, and press interviews across the country, promoting equity and fairness in cycling and enforcement.  Whether on the Outspokin’ Cyclist or TriDot podcasts or on a 30-minute segment on Orlando television, Rachael is eloquently presenting how cycling can and will improve.
  • Designing and producing with partners like Wattie Ink some of most gorgeous (and made in the USA) kits and merch in the industry.
  • On social media “taking the lane” on cycling issues and current events.  Centering her positions in science, a deep understanding of the subject matter, and couching it all with compassion and a wicked sense of humor, Rachael is able to stand her ground in the center, while a few folks on the extreme (most typically middle-aged men) attack her as being too conservative / too liberal. Her inbox is inundated with DMs thanking her for being a voice of reason in these crazy times.
  • Staffing the Bike Law tent at events and races, meeting people in person and thoughtfully discussing their cycling challenges, all the while cheering for and supporting the riders.
  • Promoting and amplifying important, but marginalized, voices in the cycling world, giving credit and exposure to activists that are making a difference.
  • Serving our clients.  This is the most important part of her job.  When Rachael’s phone rings, it is usually bad news from a cyclist, or from their families.  Rachael is there for people on their worst days, when what they need most are open ears and an open heart.  Rachael is in constant (sometimes daily) contact with the clients of our law firm who are suffering from unimaginable pain.  Yes, they need legal representation, but what they really need is the compassion, empathy and love of which Rachael has an inexhaustible supply.  Below, I share some testimonials of women who have worked with Rachael.  I do not include the testimonials of clients out of protection for their privacy.  But I will share that she is adored by our clients, who know exactly what she gives to them, and of herself.

Rachael Bike Law Director

Riding with Rachael

I am very fortunate that I get to ride with Rachael. It’s one of my life’s true joys:

She’s faster than me (than most), yet is content to let me lead.

She’s able to handle a tri-bike as if it were a BMXer, hopping curbs, holding her line, and cornering on rails, yet she never brags.

Her power-to-weight ratio is world class (made even more impressive by a low, tight aero tuck) yet she’s just as happy to ride a Brompton foldable bike with cut-offs and a tank top.

She wears her Team USA jersey with a non-partisan patriotism and genuine pride in our country that is a salve in these troubled times, even as she works for societal change and greater equity.

As much as she loves to compete (and win), she actually prefers to cheer others on.

Riding a bike with Rachael is the same as running a business with Rachael, or living my life with her.

She is objectively great at things, she expects the best from others, she is intense, and works, trains and prepares with no excuses and little rest.

But those attributes are not how I would describe her or her work for Bike Law.

It is her compassion, empathy, loyalty, and love that define her, and her impact on Bike Law and in my life.

And she’s a hell of a lot of fun.

 

What Others Have to Say about Rachael

I could go on and on. But instead of getting accused of bias in my celebration of her and her work, here is what some Women on Bikes have to say:

 

Kathryn Doornbos (Bike Advocate and Community Activist)

“Rachael Maney embodies many rockstar qualities but in her bike advocacy efforts, two really stand out : 1) she is an outstanding listener who comes to conversations unbiased, ready to learn and fully hear what each stakeholder is saying and 2) she is willing to run interference and leverage her personal/professional network to ensure that voices that she believes are worthy of amplification get broad dissemination.

This 14-day feature demonstrates both to a tee. Beyond this Rachael genuinely cares – and you just can’t fake that in a leader. Her empathy levels are off the chart and she puts herself in the shoes of every person that she talks to – and she acts accordingly.”

 

Lizzie Nyitray (Certified Coach & Professional Triathlete)

“Rachael Maney, like most women, is a multi-talented, multi-faceted individual. However, what makes her unique is that she seems to somehow use and exhibit all of those talents simultaneously, while also uplifting and empowering others.

You can see this at races. One minute she is eloquently and elaborately explaining the intricacies of the legal system and safe cycling to a stranger who stops by the Bike Law tent. The next minute she’s out cheering into a loudspeaker for every racer on the course. Then she’s playing drums and dancing to the music of the Dubplates, while also making sure everyone around her is taken care of and enjoying themselves.

You can see this in her daily life. She is always “mom-ing so hard” and ensuring her sons (and those non-biologically related sons she takes under her wing) have a solid education centered around social justice and equity. Yet she also finds time to appear on news programs, in articles, and across social media, commenting on and educating others on the inequities of our society, and how we can improve.

You can see this in her career. She fiercely defends those who have been harmed, and advocates to change systems to protect those who are vulnerable. She is overly generous with her time and resources, and I often wonder how she fits all that she does into a 24-hour day. She’s a natural leader, though she would never admit to being one, and has managed to pull thousands of people into the Bike Law movement in just a few short years.

The Notorious RBG said she would like to be remembered as, “someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.” Rachael is not only Bike Law’s RBG — a tiny, brilliant and fierce woman who lets absolutely nothing stop her from mending the injustices of the world we live in — but the true embodiment of this idea.”

 

Ann Groninger (Attorney, Bike Law North Carolina)

Whether it’s bicycles, civil rights, or housing 10 stranded international children during a pandemic, Rachael Maney is passionate about everything she does. I am constantly inspired by her creativity, her ability to convince people to get things done and her knack for making friends all over the world. I am always excited to hear about her next idea!”

 

Lauren Wilson (Law Clerk, Bike Law)

“A few years ago, I met a kind, elegant, stunning, hilarious, and strong woman, her name was Rachael Maney. What I didn’t know then is that she would be a blessing in my life and an irreplaceable member of not just my friendship circle but my family. Additionally, I have the joy and privilege of working with my best friend on a daily basis. She is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met and the funniest and most fun boss I’ve ever had. She works HARD, everyday and night, exhausting every fiber of her exceptional talented being, to change the world for the betterment of others. She spends the entirety of her waking hours focused on the care and the needs of others- her children, her partner, her friends, her clients, most of which have become her friends, and any disadvantaged persons within her path and reach. Being around her inspires and compels you to action.

When I grow up I want to be like Rachael, I want to be the change I want to see in the world. With a full heart, all I can say is that being around Racheal has made me a better version of myself, I’m sure I’m not alone. Thank you Rachael for pouring your soul into everything you do. Thank you Rachael for teaching and encouraging me to ride and rekindle my childhood joy of riding. Thank you Rachael for always fighting for justice, not only for cyclists’ justice but for anyone underserved and underrepresented. Thank you Rachael for making this world a better place by simply being you. My world and our world is brighter because of you.”

 

Ashley Anderson (Cyclist, Pediatric Dentist)

“In the words of attorney Amy Tenny, ““The world needs strong women. Women who will lift and build others, who will love and be loved. Women who live bravely, both tender and fierce. Women of indomitable will.”

“I cannot think of a more fitting description of the leader, friend, and fearless woman that is Rachael Maney. She is a wonderful balance of dedication and kindness, of brilliance and tenderness, and of action and observation. I met Rachael during my two years in Charleston for residency, and from day one I was amazed by her welcoming nature, inclusive heart, and spirit of fire. Rachael has a true leader’s heart which is manifested in her passion, action, and advocacy for cycling families nationwide. Not only does she talk the talk, but she also bravely and confidently walks the walk (or rides the ride). She is a force and voice for the spectrum of people on bikes, from the commuter to the competitive. She never fails to listen to her audience and bring justice to those in need. She is a welcoming comfort, a strong athlete, and an incredible leader worth celebrating daily.  It is a blessing to call her friend and fellow cyclist and to continue to see how she shines.” 

 

Dana Dambrauskas (Triathlete, Physical Therapist)

“I can’t separate appreciation, love and admiration without including Rachael Maney. Tiny but fierce, she can pack a hefty punch. Standing tall as a voice, leader and advocate for women in cycling as well as a community of riders that seek safe, sustainable biking. On a lighter note I have observed that she looks good in spandex, can push some serious watts per kilo, and turn heads with her athleticism as well as brains and charm.”

 

Julia Park-Charlton (Bank Underwriter / Bike Law Ambassador)

“Rachael Maney is quite possibly the most selfless individual I’ve ever met. She’s a badass with the warmest heart, soft but strong, unapologetic and honest. I’ve never met anyone so dedicated to her work, committed to fight for justice for all in the bike community.”

 

Katie Zimmerman (Executive Director, Charleston Moves)

“In the world of advocacy for safe streets and equitable mobility, our days aren’t always so positive. I have found that getting Rachael Maney’s insight will always lift me right back up. She has a brilliant way of saying just the right thing at the right time, in the clearest possible way. She also appreciates strategy and the importance of maintaining strong and trustworthy relationships with the community, elected officials, and other decision-makers, so it’s reassuring to talk ideas through with her and stay focused, and also be able to share perspectives that our somewhat male-dominated days gloss over.”

 

Heather Jackson (Professional Triathlete, Wattie Ink)

“It is somewhat impossible for me to put into words an accurate description of exactly who Rachael Maney is and all that she embodies. She is literally the smartest, fiercest, strongest, most well-spoken person — not female, PERSON — I know. She is this petite, gorgeous woman who fights for everything she believes in, speaks her mind openly and honestly, and doesn’t back down to others or certain challenges or obstacles.

She is firstly my friend, but it has been the utmost honor to get to work with her with Bike Law and all Bike Law does to fight for cyclists’ rights and make the roads safer for riding bikes. She is a courageous leader in the cycling community trying to make it not only safer for all but also make it more accessible and inviting to all genders, ethnicities, ages … anyone! She is truly a role model to me and I look forward to continuing to work with her even more closely with all things Bike Law, and learning from her as a fearless, confident female leader.”

 

THANKS LADIES, AND THANK YOU RACHAEL!

Rosie the Rider

 

Comments

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