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-   -   What's going on? Why don't more U.S. women ride bikes? (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/745405-whats-going-why-dont-more-u-s-women-ride-bikes.html)

hotbike 07-22-11 12:08 PM

I have just now sent this letter to BP Stealth, telling them what I think:

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q...Type9Pink2.jpg
I hope you are doing good business. I have included a link (above) which shows a photograph of a very early (c.1991), monocoque frame design. It was designed by my Daughter. I have been telling people that Carbon Fiber will someday allow a Ladies Bicycle to be built which would be as strong as a Mens Bicycle.
I am not currently building bicycles, as I don't have the floor space anymore. However, If anyone asks about availability of "Fiberglass Ladies Bicycle designed by Mellisa" a.k.a. "Type 9", I think I should do you a good service by directing said potential customers to your website.
I believe you could make lucrative business by marketing a spin-off of the OCRR frame, to women, as a High End Ladies Bicycle.
I would beg to ask, what is the exact height of the OCRR "Top Tube"?
I can visualize a similar frame, just with the tube lowered approximately 4 inches, and your Company could have claim to "The Worlds Premier High End Ladies Bicycle".
Your website does not reveal a retail price, so I will refrain from giving you any market research data here, but please reply and tell me what you think.

James D_________

NFA Vehicles

__________

Glen Head, NY 11545

chrisb71 07-22-11 12:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crhilton (Post 12959066)
My wife expects and appreciates an honest answer there.

So does mine, I guess we are lucky. Though I don't say "fat" I'll say "you look fine" since I'm not trying to make her feel bad, but she would be more upset if she went out looking silly.

We've been reading a John M. Gottman book lately and according to him the couples that survive the best have a ratio of about 5 positive feedback statements to 1 negative statement. More negative and you're being too mean, too positive and you're not being honest. I find it really hard to keep saying positive things. She is better at it than I am.

BikeStyleSpokan 08-21-11 09:56 PM

Tundra Man, has she ever tried the ride? There's no reason a 2-mile ride needs to leave anyone sweaty and in need of a shower, ridden at a comfortable pace. If you ride with her on a quiet Saturday--NOT to "get her to try bike commuting"--but to go get coffee somewhere (at no more than 10-12 mph pace or whatever she's comfortable with), she might get a different impression of what's involved.

I ride 2.5 miles to work with hair, makeup and clothing all set for work and don't have to do a thing when I get to work because I don't ride fast enough to sweat. It's uphill on the way home so I may sweat then on a hot day, but at that point it doesn't matter. The Cycle Chic movement is a bit over the top but it does signal that people wearing the kind of clothing women already have in their closet can ride a bike.

However, your wisdom after 17 years of marriage is not to be discarded lightly :).

The comments here are all on target with concerns about appearance, safety, and self-image, along with the Mom Taxi duties that parents are afraid to give up because they have the idea that they endanger their children if they raise free-range kids who walk, ride their bikes or take transit to get places.

Biking has also been marketed as a highly technical activity--kind of funny, really, since the Wright Brothers would recognize most of today's bike mechanisms, unlike Henry Ford and a modern auto with all its computerized controls. Women are typically not socialized to think of themselves as mechanically capable. Being able to fix a flat tire or deal with a dropped chain has freed me from that limitation (on my bike--I can't say I'm capable of tackling the same types of issues on a car).

The industry itself needs to answer for this. Imagine being the woman B. Carfree thinks is the "average" American woman and send her into a bike shop staffed by people who think that same way. What am I saying--send her in? She won't even look at the door as she goes past the shop because she's expecting either to be scorned or ignored. Either way, she knows that's not a friendly, welcoming space. Women-only clubs, special ladies' nights at bike shops, and other women-only events are essential to breaking out of the stereotypes about cycling.

If cars were sold the way most bikes are sold only men would drive, and they'd all drive Ferraris wearing special outfits for driving. Car manufacturers figured out a long time ago that women influence most of the car purchases in America and they market accordingly. women make up over half the population--that's a lot of lost market share.

--barb
@BikeStyleSpok
bikestylespokane.com

gcottay 08-22-11 10:51 AM

Thank you for the post, Barb, and for the link to bikestylespokane.com

buzzman 08-22-11 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gcottay (Post 13115934)
Thank you for the post, Barb, and for the link to bikestylespokane.com

Likewise. An informative post. Thanks.

chipcom 08-22-11 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BikeStyleSpokan (Post 13113952)
If cars were sold the way most bikes are sold only men would drive, and they'd all drive Ferraris wearing special outfits for driving.

I think I love you, Barb...don't tell my wife! :D

Great post.

Tundra_Man 08-22-11 12:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BikeStyleSpokan (Post 13113952)
Tundra Man, has she ever tried the ride? There's no reason a 2-mile ride needs to leave anyone sweaty and in need of a shower, ridden at a comfortable pace. If you ride with her on a quiet Saturday--NOT to "get her to try bike commuting"--but to go get coffee somewhere (at no more than 10-12 mph pace or whatever she's comfortable with), she might get a different impression of what's involved.

We've gone on short casual family rides many times. A few weeks ago we were going to a cookout about 1.5 miles away and my son actually managed to convince her that being a beautiful evening with the temp in the mid-70s we should all just ride our bikes there.

We did wind up riding our bikes, and probably never broke 8 mph the whole trip. When we arrived, her first observation was, "I feel sweaty and gross. We should have driven." I'm pretty sure nobody else at the cookout thought of her as sweaty and gross, but that didn't change her perception.

We all have our areas where our perceptions don't match reality. That happens to be one of hers. At my age I've decided I don't want to expend the energy arguing about something that is a pretty minor issue in the grand scheme of life. So she wants to shower more often than me? Big deal. So she'll never be a bike commuter? I didn't marry her expecting her to become one.

My pendulum swings the other direction. I'll ride to the point where I am sweaty and gross but am too thick to realize that I could use a bath. :D

BikeStyleSpokan 09-28-11 09:57 PM

I ride in skirts all the time
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ItsJustMe (Post 12819649)
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.

I've been commuting for several years in all kinds of clothes, including skirts from straight to full. I have a road bike and just try not to flash too much as I get on, but I would much prefer a step-through design complete with skirt guard and chain guard.

I'm riding a Specialized Dolce with a woman-specific design but it's not a "woman's bike" in the sense of having a much lower bar--may as well be a guy's bike. Bike designs that interfere with just going out and riding in whatever you're wearing are one of the barriers to making biking a more mainstream means of transportation and more approachable for women.

hotbike 09-29-11 10:54 AM

http://www.techi.com/2011/09/ford-de...ctric-bicycle/

I think the photo in this article shows a good example of a "carbon-based" , Step-Through Frame.

So it's NOT just my Daughter designing Carbon Fiber Bicycle Frames. This one is in Production, and it's being made by Ford, the Automaker, no less!

Quote:
"The recent Frankfurt Motor Show played host to some innovative new concept cars featuring eco-friendly powertrains and advanced in-vehicle communications. And among the advanced concepts on display was Ford’s first foray into the world of bicycling.

The E-Bike Concept demonstrates how Ford’s automotive design language can translate to a bicycle. The bike’s frame is made from aluminum and carbon fiber and weighs just 5.5. It also features a carbon fiber Giant SLR stem, Selle Italia SLR XC saddle, Mavic Elipse wheels, Shimano Alfine 11-speed internal gear hub and Shimano..."

Actually, I thought Ford has produced E-Bikes before, under the "Think" brand name, whatever happened to that? Anyway, you've got to click on the link and compare the Ford creation with my Daughter's bike...

http://www.techi.com/2011/09/ford-de...ctric-bicycle/

ghostgirl 09-29-11 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BikeStyleSpokan (Post 13292974)
I've been commuting for several years in all kinds of clothes, including skirts from straight to full. I have a road bike and just try not to flash too much as I get on, but I would much prefer a step-through design complete with skirt guard and chain guard.

I'm riding a Specialized Dolce with a woman-specific design but it's not a "woman's bike" in the sense of having a much lower bar--may as well be a guy's bike. Bike designs that interfere with just going out and riding in whatever you're wearing are one of the barriers to making biking a more mainstream means of transportation and more approachable for women.

I do too, but I have a step thru bike frame.

Ultraspontane 10-31-11 09:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Denelle (Post 12841571)
Seriously, how rude.

He's right. I detest people who crap out kids and then complain about how hard it is to look after them and whatnot.

Chicago Al 11-01-11 09:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ultraspontane (Post 13437170)
He's right. I detest people who crap out kids and then complain about how hard it is to look after them and whatnot.

Wow, re-opening a thread which was mostly being conducted with respect and interest, just to dump that in. And I mean dump.

Technically, human children are not 'crapped out,' but it's understandable that you might have gotten that impression.

Ultraspontane 11-18-11 04:16 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_of_speech

genec 11-18-11 08:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ultraspontane (Post 13437170)
He's right. I detest people who crap out kids and then complain about how hard it is to look after them and whatnot.

Call your mom, talk to her.

Dean7 11-18-11 09:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by genec (Post 13509808)
Call your mom, talk to her.

That put a smile on my face. Thank you, sir. :)

Snowman219 11-19-11 12:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rydabent (Post 12818905)
Or is could be something as simple as the bicycle seat. They hurt. I got my wife to test ride a recumbent trike, and she said yes if I bought one she would share it with me and ride with me on a trike. Im saving my pennies for a Terratrike right now!

They haz big butts, I cannot lie, u otha brothers can't deny, when a girl walks in with a itty bitty waist and a bicycle seat up her butt u go, "what, what?"

genec 11-19-11 08:48 AM

Or could this be the answer: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...Cyclists-Union

Denelle 11-21-11 04:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ultraspontane (Post 13437170)
He's right. I detest people who crap out kids and then complain about how hard it is to look after them and whatnot.

I see your comprehension skills are lacking. Where did I ever complain about how hard it is to look after my children?

loveSarah 05-09-13 03:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bethany (Post 12819124)
I'm going to say fear, fashion, social issues and family. I was terrified to get on a bike at first. Going fast was hard. Traffic was scary. Hills were hard. 6 weeks later I'm looking at some high end performance bikes. Depending on your "fear factor" everything adds up. My fear factor is a bad back. The thought of falling off and putting my back out for a year leaves me on the timid side.

Fashion:

I had to get over it. There are some women's clothing out there but most of it made me look like I was pretending to be skinny when I wasn't. I'm going to say that a lot of women are insecure with their bodies. Look at women's magazines and even something on the men's side of Sports Illustrated or Maxim. We can't compete with super models and we know it. If the world considers those women as a standard of beauty, we fall short. The same with women who are into sports. If we don't think we are athletic, we don't want to be laughed at while trying to be.

I don't know what the "average" woman size is but the industries are doing much better at fitting clothing to all sizes and even bike sizes. Most retail stores just don't carry them and have to be special ordered. Unless the guy says something, I don't think most women know there are bikes out there for them. I didn't. Had I know there was a women's 29er, I would have bought that first instead of my Hardrock.

I'll be honest..women like pretty things. If the bike is ugly, chances are she won't buy it. It sounds superficial, but it's true. There are some pretty ugly bikes out there and no woman wants a pastel colored bike when they go into a women's style bike. We aren't 10.

Social Issues:

Women are extremely social and we've been raised that going out alone is potentially dangerous. I do worry about traveling 5+ miles out of town by myself. If there aren't other women around to cycle with, chances are a woman won't.

If we show up to work completely drenched from a 5 mile ride, it takes time to get a shower, put make-up on (depending on how much) and look professional.

Family:

You can't carry 300 dollars worth of groceries on a bike. You can't take your kids to all the places they need to be on a bike. If your significant other doesn't ride, then it goes back to social issues.

Depending on the age of your kids, you can't just leave for a couple of hours. If your significant other isn't supportive than it's harder to get out and ride if he isn't willing to help.

We are the primary caretakers and are taking care of the needs of our families. It's not demeaning by any means, it just takes a lot of our time. I like being a Mom. I like staying home with my kids. I've found that cycling relieves a lot of the stress and I can come back refreshed and ready to handle teenagers. I don't think women realize how empowering a bike really can be.

The price of a bike falls under family. I'm guessing a lot of women see that money as bill money, groceries, clothes, and all the other financial needs that are there. Spending that kind of money on herself makes it hard not to feel selfish when she knows the needs of her family.

Hope that helps out some.


I agree with most of these points. I actually just made an account, to reply to this forum.
It's such a problem finding female cyclist!

I commute a lot via bike and it's always been a problem with what I wear. On a daily basis I generally dress very girlie >> skirts, dresses, etc.
When I bike I have to give up on fashion, this is a personal issue for me in when commuting.
If I knew I was going to bike, I would have to dress accordingly (tee shirt, jeans).

Girls attract a lot of attention when riding a bike in general, when they dress a little more fashionable it comes out like an eyesore.
When I don't dress accordingly, it attracts an awkward amount of hollers and attention.

The amount of woman are bikes are so sparse that it strange to see woman on a bike.

Its the strangest and scariest thing when guys in the car next to my bike is start talking to me during red lights.


Quote:

I'll be honest..women like pretty things. If the bike is ugly, chances are she won't buy it. It sounds superficial, but it's true. There are some pretty ugly bikes out there and no woman wants a pastel colored bike when they go into a women's style bike. We aren't 10.
^ It's true, woman like pretty things. I definitely don't like riding manly bikes, not that I have a choice. I went out of my way to paint my bike a shade of lavender to make it a little more appealing.


All the petty things aside:
The biggest drawback for most of my female friends and I, is the actual safety on the road. If cars don't run over the bike lane 90% of the time, it might not be as scary.
The idea of a car not seeing me when I go around a double parked car is also certainly threatening.


I don't really have a point here, just adding on to the convo. I still commute a lot via bike cuz I absolutely love biking, but it doesn't necessarily mean I can always get my friends to join me.

Bekologist 05-09-13 03:58 PM

what if the roads were made safer for cycling? a robust network of separated class infrastructure for bicyclists along main arterial routes into and out of centers of commerce and population centers?

genec 05-09-13 04:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by loveSarah
The biggest drawback for most of my female friends and I, is the actual safety on the road. If cars don't run over the bike lane 90% of the time, maybe as scary.
The idea of a car not seeing me when I go around a double parked car is also certainly threatening.

I think this, and the availability of relatively inexpensive gas and the design of American roads are the biggest factors in why anybody doesn't ride.

gcottay 05-09-13 05:56 PM

My wife rides a bike because she wants to ride a bike. If she did not want to ride a bike she would not.

urban rider 05-10-13 09:16 PM

I notice more women riding their bikes this year than in previous years. I enjoy riding my bike and I enjoy wearing bright colorful clothes so I am seen for a couple of reasons, safety and to encourage women to ride. On the few days I do not ride my bike I makes me feel sad because I should be out with the other women.

DX-MAN 05-11-13 12:30 PM

I've been a car-free rider for over 8 years now, and a dedicated commuter on my bike longer then that -- and I've noticed something in my 'small city wanting to be a big one': women riding bikes for recreation -- numerous. Women riding bikes for transportation -- 2 (and 1 of them is my daughter!). We have improved things over the years; we have doubled the mileage of Greenway (MUP) in that 8 years, added (a very FEW) bike lanes, and improved bike-related traffic laws locally. That, I think, is the main reason for recreational increase; but the transportational side needs some more addressing, mostly in the form of driver education/awareness. WAY too many people still drive around like driving is a casual thing, something to do while you're enjoying that cell phone call or latte'.

I'd LOVE to see more women start riding.... To me, it would mean we've gotten over the alpha-male bullshat that seems to overly dominate society's acceptance of people's behavior.

agent pombero 05-11-13 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by B. Carfree (Post 12817675)
The average American adult female is 5'4", 175 lbs. She doesn't ride because she is too fat to be comfortable on a bike. Because she doesn't exercise, she gets fatter. It's a tough cycle to break.

This is BS. My girlfriend is 5'9 and a wonderful, curvy 205 pounds. She loves riding her bike every day (rt commute 10 miles). She also is riding a top notch bike, Brooks saddle, and was professionally fitted.


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