I have now begun touring with Sustainable Cycles. The last month has been huge, first with the lead up to the tour (including two successful fundraising campaigns on IndieGoGo and Pozible), booking flights, training, organising things to run smoothly with Sustainable Menstruation Australia while I'm away, and gathering sponsorship and support (thank you ModiBodi, Juju and Bicycle Express) and then flying to the USA. I arrived in Austin, Texas and then spent a week recovering from jet lag, finding an awesome bicycle (thanks, Cycleast), getting final pieces of gear together, working out food and seeing a bit of Austin too. I met with the Austin-Adelaide Sister City committee, and they were delighted to hear an Adelaide woman was to start this journey in Austin. They gave me some fascinating insight into the history of the sister connection between our cities, and were very supportive for my ride.
I finally met with Rachel and Olive, picked up my beautiful bicycle after having finishing touches added, and we gave our first menstruation workshop at the University of Texas, Austin. It was interesting hearing how the taboos and stigmas surrounding menstruation seem to be similar between the sister cities of Austin and Adelaide. I'm curious to see if this changes across the USA.
We set out across Texas, and I was witness to some pretty stunning scenery. The wildflowers were in full bloom, and squirrels made wonderful highway companions. We also got caught in some heavy rain on the way to New Orleans, which proved a challenge as there were also large portions of roadworks. I experienced using a menstrual cup on the side of the road in pouring rain, and to my great delight found it as easy as ever. The rain persisted throughout our week in New Orleans, and we experienced a tornado warning alert. Fortunately our day of giving workshops was rain-free and we were able to ride around dry. We gave two workshops at Tulane University, at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine campus, and at the undergraduate campus. Both workshops were well attended, and some very interesting stories and discussions were shared. As with many Australian women, it appears many American women also do not know how to find their cervix, and many myths around menstruation still abound. Much work needs to be done! Sustainable Cycles has so far been an educational, fascinating and rewarding experience. We leave tomorrow for Atlanta. In the meantime, check out my post published today in the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) science blog.