Women ride for one another at Cycle the WAVE | Community recreation news

Issaquah has been home to Cycle the WAVE for the past six years and once again saw a large turnout in 2013.

For Cynthia Krass, a 25-mile bike ride is hardly a unique challenge.

A 49-year-old mother of two and a Sammamish resident for more than two decades, Krass is also a longtime cyclist who rides frequently in events and on her own. So when she heard six years ago about an opportunity to get on her bike to raise awareness for domestic violence through a new ride called Cycle the WAVE (Women Against Violence Everywhere), she jumped at the chance.

“I liked the idea of an all-women’s ride,” she said, adding she knew some of the original organizers from her time with the Lakemont Ladies Cycling Club.

For the past six years, Krass has continued to be part of the growing ride and been part of a team that has raised funds and awareness to support domestic violence groups across the state of Washington. After its humble beginnings in 2008 with 233 riders, more than 1,200 women participated in this year’s event.

Krass said she began bringing her daughter three years ago and found the ride not only offered a way for the two to connect through cycling, but a chance to discuss a topic in domestic violence that can often be difficult for parents to broach.

“I was very impressed with the way the messaging came through while we were riding,” Krass said. “They raise awareness for the cause to a bunch of us who maybe don’t see it every day.”

Krass also said especially for young women like her daughter, a bike ride is the perfect venue to raise awareness for an issue that is closely tied with self-esteem and confidence.

“It is a chance to figure out what you are capable of,” she said. “She was drawing on strength she didn’t know she had.”

The ride had such an impact on Krass’ daughter, she began bringing her own friends in subsequent years, a nod to the grass roots growth and organization of the event. Even when the weather forecast looked bleak a day ahead of last Sunday’s race, Krass said missing the ride was never an option.

“They work so hard and do such a good job,” she said of the organizers. “I just want to be part of it.”