TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — When gearing up for a big race, female cyclists say they have to climb the most hills.
“From salary inequity to race opportunity, to distances and prize monies at races, all of these were skewed,” said Kathryn Bertine, former professional cyclist.
Bertine is fighting to bridge the gender pay gap. She’s the founder of the Homestretch Foundation. It's a non-profit that provides free housing for female professional cyclists who want to train in Tucson.
“The idea for homestretch being, wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a place where women could go and live and train for free while behind the scenes we fight to extinguish that pay gap,” Bertine said.
Homestretch also leads weekly group rides to encourage other women in the community to join.
“It was important for me to see that growth where it would go from just one or two women on the group rides to many women,” Bertine said.
The goal is to create an inclusive space in a male-dominant sport. According to a study by Rutgers University, men make up 76% of all bike trips in the United States.
“Some women can be intimidated walking into a shop if they see a bunch of men. It’s like walking into the boys club,” said Jenna Majchrzak, owner of Transit Cycles.
Jenna Majchrzak bought Transit Cycles at the MSA Annex in 2001. She’s the only female bike shop owner in Tucson, and the second in Arizona.
"There’s always going to be somebody that doesn’t think a female mechanic knows what she’s doing or that a woman should be at a workbench,” Majchrzak said.
Majchrzak wanted to create a shop for anyone to come in without feeling judged.
“I prove to them everyday I know what I’m doing, this is my shop," Majchrzak said. "Go ahead try and test me.”
It’s women like Majchrzak and Bertine who are breaking gender norms in Tucson.
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