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Old 06-23-11, 07:00 AM   #51
Brontide
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Men are more overweight ( median and mean ) than women, it can't be the reason unless it's tied to some other factor ( vanity, safety concerns, ... ).

I give a lot of credence to the idea that women are more likely to have an irrational fear of being attacked while cycling alone. A close friend falls into that category.
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Old 06-23-11, 07:07 AM   #52
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no it's a culture thing
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Old 06-23-11, 10:43 AM   #53
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That is a fine slippery slope you've set up there.

I assume all your bikes are 7 lb featherweights? If not, then you're on that slope too, and have just decided where to stop, just like any designer of a "woman's" bike has.

And really, a 40 lb bike doesn't ride that differently than a 20 lb bike -- not because of the weight, anyways. That weight really only matters when you're carrying the bike (it matters a lot) or going up a hill (it matters a little) or if you're racing (it matters a little, but races are often won by a little.) (Cyclocross racing usually has all three factors, so it's not a good application for such bikes!)

During normal riding on a flat road? It matters a tiny bit.
Absurd. I've ridden bikes from 15lbs up past 30 and I know how they ride. I find the costs involved in getting a bike below a certain weight (depending on what I'm gonna use it for) prohibitive and not worth it. "Normal riding on a flat road" isn't something that happens much, even here in the flat lands of Nebraska.

Adding a feature I won't use (like a step through frame) because 1 or 2 lbs is no big deal would be moving in the other direction for no reason.

It's not a slippery slope. It's an engineering trade off.
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Old 06-23-11, 01:47 PM   #54
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Absurd. I've ridden bikes from 15lbs up past 30 and I know how they ride.
I stand by the accuracy of my statement. Shaving weight off your bike design is a series of tradeoffs -- and often it's just not worth it. (And often it is.)

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Adding a feature I won't use (like a step through frame) because 1 or 2 lbs is no big deal would be moving in the other direction for no reason.
Who cares what features you will use? Many people find step-through frames to be desirable. If you don't like it, don't buy one (that seems pretty obvious, doesn't it?)

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It's not a slippery slope. It's an engineering trade off.
Don't you remember what you said, what I was responding to?

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You can say that and say that about each design decision until you end up with a 40lb bike. And that rides a lot different than a 20lb bike.
Absolutely, it's an engineering trade-off. But the way you phrased it right here is a textbook slippery slope.
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Old 06-23-11, 02:07 PM   #55
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I stand by the accuracy of my statement. Shaving weight off your bike design is a series of tradeoffs -- and often it's just not worth it. (And often it is.)
I agree. And it's personal, depending on what the user needs the bike for. The the original statement was simply something like "what's 2 lbs why not?" Well, what's 2lbs times a dozen such reasonable decisions (generators, fenders, racks, heavy duty racks, sprung saddle, adjustable stem, quick release seat post, wider tires, knobbed tires, studded tires, etc). If you build a bike that has everything you end up with a really crappy bike.

I think step through frames are a great thing for people who need them. Everyone else would be wise to go with the top tube. It's lighter and a better design if you don't need to step through. Using it as a separator for women's bikes was probably convenient, but just silly.

And, since no one else has mentioned it, they're also harder to put on racks. Which is probably a more common use in America than being unable to step over a top tube.


It's not slippery slope because I'm simply applying the logic to the design of a bike instead of to one simple decision and explaining how you get the whole way there. Slippery slope involves a chain of decisions. I'm not saying adding a step through to every frame will lead to decisions that make a 40lb bike. I'm saying the logic of "it's just 2lbs" when applied to all design decisions on a bike will lead to a bike that's too heavy to ride well for anything but beach cruising.

So applying it to step through is not a good decision. Clearly more must go into it. Such as "does the rider need a step through frame?"
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Old 06-23-11, 03:03 PM   #56
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I agree. And it's personal, depending on what the user needs the bike for. The the original statement was simply something like "what's 2 lbs why not?" Well, what's 2lbs times a dozen such reasonable decisions (generators, fenders, racks, heavy duty racks, sprung saddle, adjustable stem, quick release seat post, wider tires, knobbed tires, studded tires, etc). If you build a bike that has everything you end up with a really crappy bike.
Again, that's a textbook slippery slope. The wikipedia page on slippery slopes might be useful here, in particular example #4 --

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Originally Posted by wikipedia
Small change tolerance, colloquially referred to as the "boiling frog": People may ignore gun registration because it constitutes just a small change, but when combined with other small changes, it could lead to the equivalent of confiscation.
That is *exactly* how you've phrased it, twice now. You seem to be arguing from the position of "take 2 lbs, multiply it by a bunch, and it's a lot of weight" and he simply said that a step-through frame adds about two lbs (to give the same strength, anyways.)

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I think step through frames are a great thing for people who need them. Everyone else would be wise to go with the top tube.
See, I disagree. I think step through frames are a great thing for people who want them. Everyone else would be wise to go with whatever they want, be it a top tube ... or a recumbent, or whatever.

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And, since no one else has mentioned it, they're also harder to put on racks. Which is probably a more common use in America than being unable to step over a top tube.
Why would somebody mention it? We weren't giving lists of why step-through frames are inferior or unsuitable.

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It's not slippery slope because I'm simply applying the logic to the design of a bike instead of to one simple decision and explaining how you get the whole way there. Slippery slope involves a chain of decisions. I'm not saying adding a step through to every frame will lead to decisions that make a 40lb bike. I'm saying the logic of "it's just 2lbs" when applied to all design decisions on a bike will lead to a bike that's too heavy to ride well for anything but beach cruising.
Yes, but his logic wasn't simply "it's just 2 lbs". It was more that a step-through frame wasn't an expensive design trade-off -- it only "costs" 2 lbs. And he was absolutely right. It is only *one* decision, not a road map to the dark side.

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So applying it to step through is not a good decision. Clearly more must go into it. Such as "does the rider need a step through frame?"
Does the rider want a step-through frame? I doubt they care what you declare them to need.
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Old 06-23-11, 03:11 PM   #57
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My wife works less than two miles from our house, but I can't get her to even consider riding her bike to work. Her reasoning? "I'd have to shower and get ready in order to leave the house, then I'd have to shower and get ready again once I'm at work. Then when I get home I'd have to shower and get ready again. I don't have hours of free time to go through that routine more than once a day."

As a man, I can logically argue this from several directions. But my wife is not me, and after 17 years of marriage I've realized that she is not going to change.

I suspect her thinking is fairly common among American women. If I were a gambling man, I would bet that this is a large reason why more women don't ride bikes for non-recreational purposes.
She has a point, you'd be surprised how many co-workers would use that as a tool. BO can be a career killer.
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Old 06-23-11, 04:45 PM   #58
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She has a point, you'd be surprised how many co-workers would use that as a tool. BO can be a career killer.
Just have her go to the local dollar store, get whatever burning-*****house stench they offer in gallon jugs, and douse herself with one every morning. (Lunchtime re-douse optional.) For some reason, women who do this seem to get promoted. My theory is that it's so management can put them in private offices and close the door.
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Old 06-23-11, 04:50 PM   #59
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I suspect her thinking is fairly common among American women.
And men. And to be fair, the position is perfectly valid.

And there's nothing really special about "less than two miles" that makes it a prime candidate for biking to work. Sure, it makes it easier to do it -- but it also reduces the benefit. (Now, if you sell the car and *only* bike to work, the benefit gets to be a lot larger, but if you're only looking at saving a little gas and a little wear and tear on your car, then the benefit is pretty small.)

... though maybe if it's not too hot there, biking less than two miles isn't enough to get sweaty. But here in Texas, during the summer, it's more than enough.
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Old 06-23-11, 05:10 PM   #60
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A.I think one reason is the "**** factor": women I've known are afraid to the point of modifying behavior for fear of activity that leaves them alone in any circumstance, fearing the "****** behind the tree": (1) A long-term GF loved to mountain bike, but would only do so in my presence, thanking me for "allowing" her to do this. I wanted to tell her that ******* don't generally travel to state forests to practice their art, but wisely held my tongue. (2) My mom likes walking the dog in city parks, but will not do so alone (the 70lb. dog being insufficient protection). I've (discreetly) tried to make the argument she's a bit beyond "prime raping age," to no avail. I now have told her to get a concealed carry permit: even though I doubt she'll ever use it, if it allows her to engage in behavior she otherwise wouldn't, it's served its purpose.

B.
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Look around at all society dumps on us [women] daily in terms of looks and it should not surprise anyone.
Without getting too far OT, can you elaborate? For instance, I look nowhere as attractive as the cover model on "Men's Fitness," but I'm not terribly concerned about that: after all, he's a "professional pretty boy" who gets paid good money to spend 20+ hrs/week in the gym, developing his "6-pack" and "pecs."

The exact same thing could be said re: female "profesional pretty girls," but women (for some reason) expect to appear equally attractive as pro models, and are personally discouraged if they don't. Why?
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Old 06-23-11, 05:26 PM   #61
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wow, lots of theories and a lot of them from men. If you really want to know why women don't ride, ask them! And try not to impose your interpretations on them.

I really dislike the term "vanity" being thrown around. It's only true to an extent; yes, it is about looks but not because we're vain. As little girls, we learn pretty quickly we are valued for our looks. America want's pretty daughters and strong sons, it isn't usually the other way around. And we also aren't encouraged in sports the way men are. We are held to a higher standards for looks; fresh clothes, make up, hair styles, high heels - you get the idea.

Body image, ya I have one friend who is reluctant to ride because she is overweight. Society judges overweight people pretty harshly. I'm trying to get her out anyway! She even want's to buy a new bike now, lol.

Scared of traffic, yes. Not sure about the BS maternal instinct though, that sounds like someone just thought it made sense and decided to make a "fact" out it. I mean really, how do you even collect data on something like that? And I know moms - or women who want to be moms - who ride. My roommate (who dosen't ever want kids, btw) is afraid of traffic. Maybe women are just more careful in general? Maybe we aren't as encouraged or expected to take risks as men? IDK. I sure there are some men out there scared of traffic too.

Less women riding is combination of a lot of things, I'm sure. I know I see more men than women on my ride to/from work every day, but more women biking on the sea wall (bike only path way around a local park).
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Old 06-23-11, 05:31 PM   #62
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wow, lots of theories and a lot of them from men. If you really want to know why women don't ride, ask them! And try not to impose your interpretations on them
Well, I s'pose if the OP only desired female input, s/he'd'a stated that in the initial post. As is, I s'pose I feel as qualified as any to offer an opinion, for the OP to weigh based upon gender, or not, as s/he pleases.

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Old 06-23-11, 06:53 PM   #63
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Anyone can have an opinion, I just find it silly that men would think they know why women don't ride, and yes, the "vanity" comments did bug me enough that I wanted to post. I wouldn't claim to know or give my opinion on why men pee their names in the snow! (er, nor do I want to know, thanks)

I think discussion is important on this topic, because less women riding is a terrible thing. The men here would do better to listen to the girls, maybe ask questions, and try and take away solutions to help get the women in their lives excited about riding! I've been working on my girl friends, encouragement works. It also helps that I have a girl-sized bike I can badger them to try, lol. There is a social aspect to it as well, getting them to come on a short, scenic ride with me works. Though I will admit, I do get intimidated about riding with guys who bike a lot, so if you guys want to try this make sure you make it clear that they won't be slowing you down. Then do a really good job of pretending they aren't slowing you down.

I've found new riders should not try drop bars. Come to think of it, that's why one of my friends is afraid of bikes; she had a bad bike experience. Bribery worked, we were walking around main street and we were hungry. "I'll share my fruit cup if you test ride some bikes at the bike shop up the street" It worked; but ya, no drop bars.

I guess what I'm trying to say is just listen and maybe try to bribe the ladies you know with pineapple. It could work twice, right?

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Old 06-23-11, 07:41 PM   #64
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That's an interesting point. What's a "woman's style bike" anyway? historically that's been a bike with a low step-over, but that's just ridiculous. There's no reason for it, unless you're wearing a full skirt on a bike, which I have rarely seen. All that style does is to make the frame weaker or heavier (pick one). I wish the whole design would go away.

oh, and I want to contribute on the step through debate too.

You can pry my high-ten beast of a mitxe from my cold dead hands, and not before. I LOVE riding in skirts. It's like, the best thing about riding a bike. Yes, I know there are lighter bikes out there, but to me that doesn't make it impractical, it makes it a fitness bike, haha. Plus, i think it's a beautiful bike and that is going to matter to some women. (er, the bike I drool over is a pastel mixte, the Linus Mixte 8 in sage green)

I wear just-above-the-knee length skirts when I ride, anything longer and I'm afraid it's going to get caught somewhere. Any shorter and I'm flashing people.

Basically, it's an option that depends on the person. I don't think there is a "best" style of bike, but I can tell you what the best style of bike for me is.
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Old 06-25-11, 06:53 PM   #65
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I rode a bike as a child, but stopped in my early teens. As an adult, it never occurred to me to get a bike again for recreation/exercise/commuting. The only people I ever saw riding in my town were super fit men in full cycling gear, on fancy road bikes, riding in groups, and looking very professional to my ameteur eye. That was my image of "cycling".
I didn't realize there was a huge spectrum of bikes out there, and that you didn't have to be super fit, and you could ride in any kind of clothing you wanted. When I finally did rediscover cycling, I bought my first bike at a sporting goods store, because I was way too intimidated to go into one of the LBS's (I assumed they only sold expensive road bikes). After finding a women's cycling group, and learning more about what to look for in a bike, etc, I finally ventured into one of the LBS's and upgraded.
Perhaps other women are like me and just aren't exposed to cycling and don't know much about it. (Most of my girl friends ask me things like "What kind of bike do you have, a 10 speed? Why don't you ride on the side walk??")
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Old 06-25-11, 08:03 PM   #66
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My wife's a fair weather commuter. She'll be the first to admit that just getting in the habit of riding every day is her biggest challenge but that has nothing to do with gender. Once she gets going on a routine she'll happily ride rain or shine but not in snow/ice.

Next for her is, I hate to say it but she has: her hair and clothes. Regarding her hair, she leaves a hair dryer at work and redoes her hair when she gets to her office after her 8 mile ride.

Clothing- she leaves some very pro clothes in her office for when need be but her job allows her to be casual so she wears cycling shorts/tights under some really cool, funky looking skirts. She also has this whole method worked out of tucking them into what I could only call I kind of "culotte" for the ride in and then unwinds it, removes the cycling shorts/tights and off she goes. I've seen her do her transition from "bike rider girl" to "head of a program at a prestigious university" in about 3 minutes. She makes a far better transition than I do. I tend to look like I just got blown in off a mountain top all day long.

Next for her is the fear factor. She doesn't like traffic. Fortunately, we moved to within a mile of a bike path that practically drops her at the door of her building. So she has 1 mile of residential back roads and one busy cross street to the bike path. Sometimes she has to cross town to another location and she definitely gets stressed about that. Sometimes when she's pressed for time she'll take the streets route home because it's two miles shorter. In the last three years that has become bike laned almost the whole way and she's thrilled with that.

Next is mechanical/fear- she's afraid of mechanical breakdowns. I do the maintenance on her bike. I was a full time bike mechanic for many years and I enjoy working on bikes and she really doesn't. I've given her lessons on fixing flats several times, I've sat with her as she changed a tube several times but, fortunately, she's had very few breakdowns and hasn't had the practice to feel fully confident even after years of riding. What I've done now is recorded the process of changing her rear tire on video and loaded it onto her smart phone. It's done in real time with words of encouragement that she'll be done and on her way in a couple of minutes.

Once she gets riding regularly she invariably drops whatever extra pounds she might have added on during her interim off the bike and she gets totally psyched about biking and becomes a very vocal proponent.

She also bikes for recreation but prefers bike paths to road riding. We live out in the middle of a huge state forest for much of the summer and she does remote dirt road riding on her mountain bike, often alone . She has some fears of "weirdos" and carries bear repellant. The other day I rode with her and a huge black bear leapt out of a tree that hung over the dirt road and ran off into the woods. Shortly after that we found a huge mound of what, dare I say it, looked like mountain lion scat in the middle of the road. She's seen the bears several times on her own but the idea of a mountain lion freaked both of us out. I don't think she'll be dissuaded from riding alone but she'll definitely be more alert- but so will I.
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Old 06-25-11, 08:09 PM   #67
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Bike trailers typically have a capacity of about 180 pounds. I'd guess that's easily $300 worth. If not, then go more often, especially if it's on the way home from work (or only a mile or two out of the way).
How do you carry groceries and young children in that same trailer though? Sometimes things aren't always so simple.

My husband was a huge push in getting me on a bike. Last year if you would have told me that we would have sold our minivan, have built up commuter bikes and be trying to live car light, I would have told you that you were crazy. But that is where we are, even though we have three children, two of them too young to ride their own bikes (3 & 1).

It has taken a lot to get me on a bike and used to cycling to the store instead of driving, and I get a lot of flack socially for it. Myfriends don't understand the choices we have made. They don't understand why we sold our minivan, and let's face it, the bike isn't exactly a status symbol (although I do think mine is super cool!)

there is also the issue of trying to make it work with young children. Speaking from the standpoint of a small business owner that works strictly from home, I am very rarely without my children. We have it worked out now where our three year old is on a trail a bike on daddys bike and our one year old is on the Ibert on my bike, but I often wonder how I would get around with both of them (and trailers don't work for them since the three year old is bigger).

Next we have the issue of traffic, and protecting the little ones mentioned previously. I admit that I get super nervous when riding around because I am afraid of all of the drivers out there who just don't pay attention. A bike doesn't exactly offer the same protection a car does.

That's just my opinion/experience as a woman.
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Old 06-25-11, 08:42 PM   #68
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Anyone can have an opinion, I just find it silly that men would think they know why women don't ride, and yes, the "vanity" comments did bug me enough that I wanted to post. I wouldn't claim to know or give my opinion on why men pee their names in the snow! (er, nor do I want to know, thanks)

I think discussion is important on this topic, because less women riding is a terrible thing. The men here would do better to listen to the girls, maybe ask questions, and try and take away solutions to help get the women in their lives excited about riding! I've been working on my girl friends, encouragement works. It also helps that I have a girl-sized bike I can badger them to try, lol. There is a social aspect to it as well, getting them to come on a short, scenic ride with me works. Though I will admit, I do get intimidated about riding with guys who bike a lot, so if you guys want to try this make sure you make it clear that they won't be slowing you down. Then do a really good job of pretending they aren't slowing you down.

I've found new riders should not try drop bars. Come to think of it, that's why one of my friends is afraid of bikes; she had a bad bike experience. Bribery worked, we were walking around main street and we were hungry. "I'll share my fruit cup if you test ride some bikes at the bike shop up the street" It worked; but ya, no drop bars.

I guess what I'm trying to say is just listen and maybe try to bribe the ladies you know with pineapple. It could work twice, right?
So, in short, what you are saying is guys should shut up and bribe women to ride more because women are too scared to ride either with each other or with men who don't bribe them.

Why is it that American women require such special hand-holding to do what women in many other nations on every continent seem to be able to do with little coddling?

Frankly, if that's your attitude -- "I can't ride unless I'm bribed and coddled" -- just stay home.
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Old 06-25-11, 08:45 PM   #69
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oh, and I want to contribute on the step through debate too.

You can pry my high-ten beast of a mitxe from my cold dead hands, and not before. I LOVE riding in skirts. It's like, the best thing about riding a bike. Yes, I know there are lighter bikes out there, but to me that doesn't make it impractical, it makes it a fitness bike, haha. Plus, i think it's a beautiful bike and that is going to matter to some women. (er, the bike I drool over is a pastel mixte, the Linus Mixte 8 in sage green)

I wear just-above-the-knee length skirts when I ride, anything longer and I'm afraid it's going to get caught somewhere. Any shorter and I'm flashing people.

Basically, it's an option that depends on the person. I don't think there is a "best" style of bike, but I can tell you what the best style of bike for me is.

I like this post.

There seems to be this attitude that there's something wrong with wanting to look good and fashionable while riding your bike. Not that I do- I usually look like I just got in from cleaning a horse stable but certainly my wife wants to and I know plenty of others- men and women for whom that is important. Why not celebrate that rather than mocking it or calling it "vanity".

I don't think every cyclist needs to look like they just rode a stage in the Tour de France or hiked the Appalachian Trail in the rain for 3 months. I think looking urban chic and ready to mix it up with the non-biking crowd instead of looking, at best, like you just stepped out of an REI catalog would be a good thing.

I lived in Rotterdam for a short time and the Dutch made biking look good fashion wise compared to the US. I even dug the hand crotched skirt fenders on the women's bikes in the countryside.
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Old 06-25-11, 08:56 PM   #70
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How do you carry groceries and young children in that same trailer though? Sometimes things aren't always so simple.
Looks like men can handle it without too much difficulty:

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Old 06-25-11, 08:59 PM   #71
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How do you carry groceries and young children in that same trailer though? Sometimes things aren't always so simple.

My husband was a huge push in getting me on a bike. Last year if you would have told me that we would have sold our minivan, have built up commuter bikes and be trying to live car light, I would have told you that you were crazy. But that is where we are, even though we have three children, two of them too young to ride their own bikes (3 & 1).

It has taken a lot to get me on a bike and used to cycling to the store instead of driving, and I get a lot of flack socially for it. Myfriends don't understand the choices we have made. They don't understand why we sold our minivan, and let's face it, the bike isn't exactly a status symbol (although I do think mine is super cool!)

there is also the issue of trying to make it work with young children. Speaking from the standpoint of a small business owner that works strictly from home, I am very rarely without my children. We have it worked out now where our three year old is on a trail a bike on daddys bike and our one year old is on the Ibert on my bike, but I often wonder how I would get around with both of them (and trailers don't work for them since the three year old is bigger).

Next we have the issue of traffic, and protecting the little ones mentioned previously. I admit that I get super nervous when riding around because I am afraid of all of the drivers out there who just don't pay attention. A bike doesn't exactly offer the same protection a car does.

That's just my opinion/experience as a woman.
Kudos to you and your Family...
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Old 06-25-11, 09:26 PM   #72
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Looks like men can handle it without too much difficulty:

I see one child and I doubt $300 worth of groceries on a kind of bike I've honestly never seen before. How do you suggest someone with more than one young child do larger grocery shopping on a bicycle?
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Old 06-25-11, 09:44 PM   #73
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Old 06-25-11, 10:38 PM   #74
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I see one child and I doubt $300 worth of groceries on a kind of bike I've honestly never seen before. How do you suggest someone with more than one young child do larger grocery shopping on a bicycle?
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Old 06-25-11, 10:48 PM   #75
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I see one child and I doubt $300 worth of groceries on a kind of bike I've honestly never seen before. How do you suggest someone with more than one young child do larger grocery shopping on a bicycle?
For that one, add another child seat on the rack or a small trailer. Of course, there are ways of preventing the whole "too many kids to carry" thing in the first place.
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