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Old 07-13-11, 11:20 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by idoru2005 View Post
That's lame. Can she prove it to you? Have her ride ...
Are you married? Want to stay that way? Better forget this making your spouse have to "prove it" and "have her" stuff.

Edit: Great minds think alike. Ain't dat right, my Buckeye Buddy?

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Old 07-13-11, 11:28 AM   #152
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sunstorm,

Great post. While much of that makes me very sad, it's nice to see someone post some really good, valid, reasons that keep them from it. The things expected of women in the name of "professionalism" are ridiculous.
However, most of what she said relates to why people in general don't ride, as opposed to why her gender doesn't ride more. All of us who commute have experienced harassment of the level she describes (I've had guys pull over, not to hit *on* me, but to just hit me).

The only gender-specific issues she highlighted revolve around appearance: Her hair (and I would bet a good stylist could find her a flattering look somewhere between flowing shoulder length and pixie), and the "bruised-leg theory" of why women don't ride. The latter doesn't hold a lot of water for me either; I have to say, I've been cycling to work daily for over 5 years, including winters, and the only bruises I have gotten on my legs are from sailing.

The final issue is the career-advancement one, and again, I would argue that this is surely not gender-specific. In many organisations, anybody of any gender who rides a bike is automatically a whacknut. (As a side note, it is an incredibly sad statement on the healthcare industry that someone who rides their bike to work would be looked down upon for doing so.)
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Old 07-13-11, 11:29 AM   #153
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Lots and lots and lots of ladies - of all ages and weight - riding around here. And, the most sad thing is that they ride FASTER that I do! I get passed a lot.

I think it is partly because Colorado is the least obese state in the nation, and we have excellent MUPS in which they can ride and they perceive this as safer - at least my wife (age 74) sure does - and my wife does ride, also, but I can still beat her.

Seriously, we have some great lady riders - aerobars and all.
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Old 07-13-11, 02:04 PM   #154
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Lots and lots and lots of ladies - of all ages and weight - riding around here. And, the most sad thing is that they ride FASTER that I do! I get passed a lot.

I think it is partly because Colorado is the least obese state in the nation, and we have excellent MUPS in which they can ride and they perceive this as safer - at least my wife (age 74) sure does - and my wife does ride, also, but I can still beat her.

Seriously, we have some great lady riders - aerobars and all.
I just got back from a visit to the front range area and I was SHOCKED at how many regular people (apparently regular) I saw riding. And they were *all* riding on streets (I didn't check out the trails).
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Old 07-13-11, 07:23 PM   #155
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So Skye, when guys pull over to harass you (I'm assuming you are male), are you at all concerned that part of thier intent is to drag you in their vehicle and abduct you, with all the possibiities that might occur with that? I may be naive, but in 1998 one of my high school friends was raped and murdered on a bike commute from college classes to her job. It was a 'rural' road and the guy parked his van across the road, blocking the route at a location where the other option was to back track 4 miles or traverse a ravine, then acted as if he was having a medical emergency (and video recorded the whole thing, which is what signed his death row ticket). I realize it is a rarity, but when the rarity becomes the reality in your own life.... I don't know about you, but it affects how I percieve such an action. Doesn't stop me from riding, but it does mean I do take precautions, and sometimes those precautions include NOT riding.

I've been to some really great stylists, and none of them will recommend a pixie cut for my facial type (I've had 3, none actually looked good), and they will tell you that a shorter style will actually require MORE time to manage. So I cut the dry time by, at most, 10 minutes, but then need to carry 2-3 products and use a flat iron. The net change in time is a negative. It's very easy for me to look at someone with curly hair and say 'gee, it only takes me X to get my hair under control, I'm sure a stylist can get yours as efficient' and completly miss the point that their hair and features are completly different than mine and that realisticly, their routine may never be as efficient time wise. What looks appropriate on me probably doesn't look appropriate on you and vice versa, regardless of gender.

I'm also really glad you don't bruise. I have had 0 falls in the past three months. I have at least 4 bruises that I know occured while biking, all on the outside of my left leg, all from commuting (I also have one on the inside of my right leg, just from swiping the rack dismounting.) Heck, on the same route I bike, one of my friend had a 6 inch crack in his windshield from a thrown stone. If it can crack a windshield, it's going to bruise me. Maybe I'm just not as tough ;-) I don't have to show my legs off, so for me, that isn't a big deal (I also have scabs on both knees from a running accident) but as mentioned above, just because it doesn't apply to me doens't mean it isn't relevant for someone else.

Maybe part of the reason is that, rather than helping find effective solutions, concerns are dismissed . Put a locker room in with outlets and hair dryers, and I'd bike more often because I can't just go run my head under a sink faucet, towel off, and be done (yes, it would likely increase the number of men willing as well.) Get police officers to respond to harrassment complaints that include descriptions and plate numbers (for both men and women) and I would have less concern about biking on days that I will have to ride home at later hours. When someone says it's a concern, saying 'well, so and so does it with that concern' doesn't change that it's an actual concern for another group that prevents them from riding. I'm a skydiver and a SCUBA diver and I and a SAR K9 handler.... and all are very safe activities, but that doesn't mean the things that stop others from doing so aren't legitimate. Why don't more guys dance? Or play volleyball competitively? Or work as registered nurses and elementary school teachers? Just becuase the same challenges face a different population doesn't mean that the challenges don't feel more detrimental to the population in question.
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Old 07-13-11, 07:35 PM   #156
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Oh, thought I'd mention something else. A lack of local female 'leadership.' So I decided to take my roommate (just getting into biking) to a beginner ride tonight (she is terrified of roads and felt safer in a group with experienced riders.) We showed up. This is an 'all female' ride. Well, all female EXCEPT the people in charge of the ride; all guys. Now, we didn't end up riding due to weather (beginning group didn't ride, other groups did) and I asked the leader of the beginner group 'are there any women who would be able to lead this?' and he assured me there are a lot of really great female riders at this weekly ride, but none of them lead the ride groups. Huh? Now, this guy was really nice, reassuring, worked hard to make beginners feel comfortable, etc, but he is still a guy. If there are competent women, why aren't they leading? Is it lack of interest on the 'better' women's parts? was it that no one had suggested, asked, or offered them the oppurtunity to lead? (the leaders weren't employees of the shop, so that wasn't the limitation.) At least 4 female riders brought their HUSBANDs bikes and took the kids (women that are competitive, and have been biking for 20+ years, and whose husbands said would be great at leading). Now, I can understand that...except on a woman's ride, wouldn't it be better to have women lead? Maybe I'm just a bit confused.
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Old 07-13-11, 10:12 PM   #157
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If there are competent women, why aren't they leading?
Why not? What do the competent women say?
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Old 07-13-11, 10:42 PM   #158
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This is an 'all female' ride. Well, all female EXCEPT the people in charge of the ride; all guys. Now, this guy was really nice, reassuring, worked hard to make beginners feel comfortable, etc, but he is still a guy.
If it is an all female group, perhaps more women will gain experience and eventually become leaders. If the leader made everyone comfortable, gender wouldn't matter to me.
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Old 07-14-11, 06:06 AM   #159
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Thank you, sunstorm, for your contributions. You managed to push the discussion past the "oooh, those evil, nasty mens make me uncomfortable" to look at some real issues.

Of them, I think the key one is lack of female leadership. There's no lack of women who are willing/capable to be leaders/figureheads on national or international levels. People like Jaquie Phelan (alright, she's a little wayward, but she's been absolutely instrumental in advancing the cause of women in cycling and she's funny as hell), Barbara Buatois, and Nicole Cook could all be used to help establish prominence for women in cycling. But it doesn't seem to be that any women are really clamoring for their assistance and leadership. Why not?
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Old 07-14-11, 08:57 AM   #160
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Get police officers to respond to harrassment complaints that include descriptions and plate numbers (for both men and women) and I would have less concern about biking on days that I will have to ride home at later hours...
No kidding.

And most of what Sunstorm suggests would get more riders in general out on the road.

As a side note to this discussion, yesterday I did a long ride across Massachusetts (137 miles) and probably because of this thread took note of the number of and gender of the other biker riders I saw as I crossed the state. To my surprise female cyclists outnumbered males 21 to 15. There were too many cyclists on the bike path through Northampton to count so they don't figure into my numbers but women were very well represented there. Included in the female cyclists I saw were 2 women in full "racing/training" road bike kit, a woman (solo) with a bike loaded with panniers and camping gear- the bike and the equipment all looked brand new so I don't think she'd been out long, lots of recreational riders, high school age girls just getting around by bike and a woman on a short stretch of bike path in Hudson with not 1, not 2 but 4 kids- 2 of them on their own little bikes and two toddlers in a bike trailer.

The comments around "club riding" and racing are for me almost a different discussion from just the using bikes to go places. Those add a factor of cycling as a "social event" and despite my having been a founding member of one of the largest clubs in the US I gave up on club/group rides years ago. Any woman who is put off cycling by the patronizing, overly attentive, unsolicited advice giving males of many club rides and training rides gets my complete understanding.
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Old 07-14-11, 09:01 AM   #161
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That "issue" of "too many cyclists to count" on the bike path is interesting...

Is it possible that forcing cyclists to share the road with motorists also has something to do with the preponderance in the US of a generally male cycling population?
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Old 07-14-11, 09:36 AM   #162
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That "issue" of "too many cyclists to count" on the bike path is interesting...

Is it possible that forcing cyclists to share the road with motorists also has something to do with the preponderance in the US of a generally male cycling population?
Certainly bike infrastructure draws people to cycling and it does appear that women prefer cycle specific accommodations like bike lanes and paths but 98% of my ride yesterday was on the road and most of the cyclists in my informal count were on the road and still women outnumbered men.
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Old 07-14-11, 09:48 AM   #163
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BarracksSi - I honestly don't know why the competent women aren't leading. I'm very new to the group (this is the first time I have ever shown up) so I didn't ask around to find out who the most competent riders were, then walk up and ask them. What was interesting listening to the male ride leaders talking about the females in the group; learned one woman completed chemo then did a century on the same day, that another was hit by a car the day before an endurance event and still placed in competition, another had lost 100pounds biking, and that another one 'burns the roads up' on every ride and can out ride any of the lead guys. These guys were speaking with obvious admiration for these women, so I don't know why they aren't leading. These are women that, unless I get to the point of owning an actual road bike and really riding at 20mph+ I will likely never actually know.

Penny4 - This all women's group has been meeting every week for 9 years. In 9 years, I'm pretty confident that some of these women have the experience to be leaders. Some of the women had been biking for over 2 decades, and one of the leaders was a man who had only started biking two years ago at the age of 70. I don't dislike the guys...don't get me wrong. It just seems really strange to me, as a woman, that in an all female ride, every leader was a guy, even when there are women there that the leaders say are better than they are. Part of the reason I was aware of it was that the guys were in the LBS's jerseys to lead the ride, they were obviously in charge and making all the decisions, and I showed up to an women's only ride expecting...well...all women. It just, to me, came across as very patriarchial. maybe I'm wrong. And I'm not blaming the guys, just think that perhaps it isn't just promoting biking among the rank and file of the female population...but about promoting leadership among competent female bikers at local, regional, national and international levels.
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Old 07-14-11, 10:02 AM   #164
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Certainly bike infrastructure draws people to cycling and it does appear that women prefer cycle specific accommodations like bike lanes and paths but 98% of my ride yesterday was on the road and most of the cyclists in my informal count were on the road and still women outnumbered men.
except in the area where cyclists were too numerous to count...

Your quote: "There were too many cyclists on the bike path through Northampton to count so they don't figure into my numbers but women were very well represented there."

Perhaps I am misreading this, but that seems to indicate that there were far more cyclists on the path than on the streets... but indeed women still outnumbered men.
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Old 07-14-11, 10:55 AM   #165
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except in the area where cyclists were too numerous to count...

Your quote: "There were too many cyclists on the bike path through Northampton to count so they don't figure into my numbers but women were very well represented there."

Perhaps I am misreading this, but that seems to indicate that there were far more cyclists on the path than on the streets... but indeed women still outnumbered men.
Oh no, you are definitely NOT misreading it. You are correct. For the roughly 5-6 miles of bike path and 132 miles of road I saw more cyclists on the bike path than I did on the entire rest of the ride. Granted it was 6 pm by then and a gorgeous summer's evening but still...

If your implication is that more and better infrastructure would attract more cyclists of both genders and possibly even more women I would agree.
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Old 07-14-11, 11:12 AM   #166
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Oh no, you are definitely NOT misreading it. You are correct. For the roughly 5-6 miles of bike path and 132 miles of road I saw more cyclists on the bike path than I did on the entire rest of the ride. Granted it was 6 pm by then and a gorgeous summer's evening but still...

If your implication is that more and better infrastructure would attract more cyclists of both genders and possibly even more women I would agree.
We are in agreement. I too see more women on the local paths and more cyclists in general. When the environment is pleasant, more cyclists "appear."
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Old 07-14-11, 11:34 AM   #167
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you're obviously not married
Actually, I am married. And my wife rides (she rides fast, climbs, and does centuries). She doesn't commute though. She recently re-entered the workforce and was excited with the prospect of riding to work. And yes, she is a knockout who takes forever to get ready to go out.
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Old 07-14-11, 11:43 AM   #168
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Actually, I am married. And my wife rides (she rides fast, climbs, and does centuries). She doesn't commute though. She recently re-entered the workforce and was excited with the prospect of riding to work. And yes, she is a knockout who takes forever to get ready to go out.
So have you called her excuses for not commuting lame and challenged her to prove them?


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Old 07-14-11, 11:52 AM   #169
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Uh, possibly that women are:

1) Physically weaker (as a rule) than men?
2) Have less experience in a fistfight?
3) Due (possibly) to lower testosterone levels, don't respond to physical threats by thinking, "Oh, goody, a chance to prove how macho I am"?
You forgot #4: ****

I have had situations riding my bike where I was followed by some creepy men. In some cases, they pass me first, only to turn around and drive by slowly giving me a lecherous look. Other times they stop and ask if I need help(while I am obviously just stopped at a traffic light), but then look me up and down and linger way too long.

**** is unfortunately all too common. Either a woman has already been raped once, almost raped but got away, or knows friends who have. If I am alone on a bike and some weirdo comes up to me in a car, I am screwed.

Now really guys, how often on a bike ride do you fear that you will be visciously attacked and sexually violated? I am guessing never.

I am certainly not paranoid nor am I a wimp. I own a shotgun and know how to use it. I ride hundreds of miles a week, alone. But, it can be quite disconcerting for most women to do what I do every day.

And add to that, that I have to look at a powder blue bike, when really I would have loved to have some sort of orange or red and black beast instead just adds insult to injury. Powdercoat? Really, that is the solution. I am supposed to buy a bike which is ugly, but have to get the pink/powder blue monstrosity anyway because the don't make nice looking bikes in the size and geometry that I need, then on top of the expense of the bike I need to strip all of the components, and send it out to get repainted for an added cost of $200. Then I need to reinstall of the components, and readjust everything. When you boys just have to go into any bike shop, test ride any number of bikes and ride out with one the same day.

I had to "test ride" a bike that was 6cm larger than I need. I couldn't even reach the freakin pedals. The salesperson(my brother by the way) had to have me do the test ride on a trainer so I wouldn't crash it because I cound't reach the pedals or touch the ground because of the stand over height.


so, here are your reasons that probably apply to most women

1. Fear of traffic
2. Fearful of a lack of personal safety
3. Harassment from drivers(beer cans tossed, rocks, vile comments)
4. Too damn busy working, taking care of the home and kids
5. Can't fix a flat and don't care to learn/have no one to teach them
6. Bikes can't be test ridden because our sizes are never in stock
7. Bikes are too freakin ugly, insultingly childish. It isn't just about vanity, it is just plain degrading to ride something so childish and stereotypically feminine. It is tantamount to a men's bike having dump truck stickers and buzz lightyear decals. Would a grown man really ride something like that?
8. Won't commute because we need too many accesories. Just too much trouble.
9. Won't commute because we refuse to enter the building looking like a sweaty disheveled mess. Maybe guys can get away with that, but we can't. The deck is already stacked against us at work as it is.
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Old 07-14-11, 01:12 PM   #170
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Funny, you didn't seem to mind any of the blatantly sexist and ignorant remarks from skye. I was just attempting to make a funny remark to some rather neanderthal comments.
You don't seem to mind dishing it out, but you do mind when someone calls you on it?

BTW: Nice indictment of men there, I guess if that's the way to see us then there are larger issues than women cycling.
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Old 07-14-11, 01:31 PM   #171
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You don't seem to mind dishing it out, but you do mind when someone calls you on it?

BTW: Nice indictment of men there, I guess if that's the way to see us then there are larger issues than women cycling.
Call me out all you want. Me, making a tired old joke, is not the same as denigrating half the population. But hey, whatever.

Oh, And where did I indict men?
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Old 07-14-11, 01:36 PM   #172
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So Skye, when guys pull over to harass you (I'm assuming you are male), are you at all concerned that part of thier intent is to drag you in their vehicle and abduct you, with all the possibiities that might occur with that? I may be naive, but in 1998 one of my high school friends was raped and murdered on a bike commute from college classes to her job. It was a 'rural' road and the guy parked his van across the road, blocking the route at a location where the other option was to back track 4 miles or traverse a ravine, then acted as if he was having a medical emergency (and video recorded the whole thing, which is what signed his death row ticket). I realize it is a rarity, but when the rarity becomes the reality in your own life.... I don't know about you, but it affects how I percieve such an action. Doesn't stop me from riding, but it does mean I do take precautions, and sometimes those precautions include NOT riding.
Not to diminish the concerns you have over sexual assault, but I would wager it is just as if not more likely that someone would assault a male (or female) to get access to any cash/wallet they are carrying with them on their bike.
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Old 07-14-11, 01:36 PM   #173
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Originally Posted by sunstorm View Post
BarracksSi - I honestly don't know why the competent women aren't leading. I'm very new to the group (this is the first time I have ever shown up) so I didn't ask around to find out who the most competent riders were, then walk up and ask them. What was interesting listening to the male ride leaders talking about the females in the group; learned one woman completed chemo then did a century on the same day, that another was hit by a car the day before an endurance event and still placed in competition, another had lost 100pounds biking, and that another one 'burns the roads up' on every ride and can out ride any of the lead guys. These guys were speaking with obvious admiration for these women, so I don't know why they aren't leading. These are women that, unless I get to the point of owning an actual road bike and really riding at 20mph+ I will likely never actually know.

Penny4 - This all women's group has been meeting every week for 9 years. In 9 years, I'm pretty confident that some of these women have the experience to be leaders. Some of the women had been biking for over 2 decades, and one of the leaders was a man who had only started biking two years ago at the age of 70. I don't dislike the guys...don't get me wrong. It just seems really strange to me, as a woman, that in an all female ride, every leader was a guy, even when there are women there that the leaders say are better than they are. Part of the reason I was aware of it was that the guys were in the LBS's jerseys to lead the ride, they were obviously in charge and making all the decisions, and I showed up to an women's only ride expecting...well...all women. It just, to me, came across as very patriarchial. maybe I'm wrong. And I'm not blaming the guys, just think that perhaps it isn't just promoting biking among the rank and file of the female population...but about promoting leadership among competent female bikers at local, regional, national and international levels.
Might as well try to organize another group, then. You don't have to lead the ride itself, just get some of those veteran females to lead it out.
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Old 07-14-11, 01:38 PM   #174
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Oh, And where did I indict men?
Can't read your own post?

Men seem to fall into two categories ignorant or predator according to women like you.

Take for example the "lecherous men", have you even stopped to think they could be confused or be checking out the frigging bike?! I know I'm always checking out what others are riding be it a man or a woman riding. Maybe they wanted to form a pace line, but after getting a death stare they reconsidered.
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Old 07-14-11, 01:46 PM   #175
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according to women like you
what kind of a woman am I, toots? Huh? Huh?



Hope you don't mind me sharing your man here for a bit, S&S, but I figure there won't be much left of him later.
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