Levi's Here's a Female Commuter You Should Know

Image: From new commuter line for women from Levi's.

Image: From new commuter line for women from Levi's.

After a very long wait Levi's has finally launched its commuter line for women. But rather on the quiet side. I'm really hoping there's a smart strategy behind this. It was a bit disconcerting to read about the new line in Momentum Magazine over the weekend and then not be able to find a promotional video on Youtube.com using the search term "levi's commuter line for women" today - or any mix of those words. And when I Googled "Levi's commuter line for women" (with quotes) only 151 results came up (without quotes and what came up was a few new blogs but lots of old blogs wondering when the line for women would finally appear). I know 151 results might seem like a lot, but trust me for the launch of a new line from one of America's most historically iconic brands, it's not.

(If you'd rather listen to this story rather than read it click the above link from SoundCloud)

Anyone remember what happened when Target collaborated with Missoni to bring a Missoni designed cruiser out? To remind myself I Googled Missoni bike for Target and come up with 170,000 results (when I put the term in quotes I get 1,700 results - and fascinatingly the #1 piece is a blog I wrote in 2011 for Bikeable Communities).

Levi's likes to use Tumbler for their promoting and they do have a page for the commuter line - but not a Tumble just for the new women's line. Hmmm. I finally found the promotional video by reading another blog (which now I'm having a hard time locating so I apologize for not giving them credit - I will when I find it). In the video's notes there are several other people having a hard time finding more details besides me so I don't feel too alone.

I do like the video above (though of course the helmet pro folk will not). I like that these women are not simply models but obviously women who ride - but I want to know the story of these women. I so hope you'll be telling them. Inspire me Levi's. I want to know their stories just as much as I want to know that the jeans are water and dirt resistant and have reflective fabric at certain points. Inspire me Levi's. Or is that part of the strategy? Levi's will you slowly share parts of your rider's stories so we're more intrigued? (And will someone explain to us why the women's jeans are $30 more than the men's even though they don't include the cool U lock holder on the back?)

So Levi's while we wait to see what more unfolds I'd like to introduce you to a woman you'd be wise to include on your women's commuter line model team. Her name is Mary Anne Aguirre and she is a single mom, cyclist, advocate and member of the kick ass Boyle Height group Ovarian Psycos Cycles group in Los Angeles. This video in celebration of Women's History Month (March!) + a music video for the song Mujer Soy by local band Las Cafeteras + a look at the very busy day of Mary Ann.

Moving the Bike from Must Have to Must Ride for Women

This December Electra made Oprah's favorite things list. Imagine if this bike not only showed up as a "must have" item as above but also ended up featured in an article in the same magazine on how riding a bike has improved a woman's life? O Magazine has over two and a half million print subscribers + their internet audience. If having an item on Oprah's favorite things list can set a company up for months in sales, imagine what having an inspirational bike story could do?

Right now the bike is hot as media darling as a "must have" item in all kinds of lifestyle press but editorial stories and features about how bikes are being used by ordinary people to make extraordinarily positive changes in their lives aren't showing up much. Let's change that. This January I'll be pitching stories about the women in our creative team and beyond as editorial stories to a variety of media outlets like O Magazine, More, Vogue, Refinery 29 and others for May as National Bike Month.

Do you know someone the media needs to know about? Let me know! Maybe it's you! Imagine how exciting it will be, and the hearts and minds we'd inspire to get back on the bike (or try for the first time), if major lifestyle media outlets started to regularly feature stories of how women are reversing diabetes, gaining strength, enjoying their city more, and saving significant money all by bike?

And what if we were able to get stories of the bike as a tool for optimism in the media not just about women but girls too? It's during the preteen years that the self confidence of girls starts to plummet. Now at 50 I am thrilled by the bold adventurous young female heroines I read about in books and see in movies. So why is it still ok to use the term "Like a Girl" as a acceptable insult? How can we help change that? Talented creatives are working on it - but imagine how inspirational stories of girls riding bikes could help.

I don't know about you but I'm guilty of saying sorry way too often. But what stopped me cold about the sorry scenario is when my two year old niece started to say it too. Yikes! This commercial from earlier this year by Pantene hair products (of all things) does a beautifully witty job of illustrating just how frequently women use this word. And what if, when top creatives are putting together sassy smart stylish ads like this they just automatically showed women biking and walking? Imagine the culture shift that could happen and let's invite them to do just that.

Melissa Balmer is a writer, media relations specialist and active living advocate. Her mission is to share the power of artistry and personally engaging storytelling to inspire. Her passion is to recruit fresh voices from diverse multi-generational perspectives to share their stories in traditional and new media platforms to engage new audiences in active living. She has developed a multi-faceted strategy to exponentially grow positive stories of biking in California’s media and beyond – with an emphasis on women.