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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)

gcottay 07-06-11 10:39 AM

According to a smart and beautiful female cyclists more women would ride if either more men shared parenting and household responsibilities or more women only slept two hours a night.

chipcom 07-06-11 10:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gcottay (Post 12887933)
According to a smart and beautiful female cyclists more women would ride if either more men shared parenting and household responsibilities or more women only slept two hours a night.

the only thing stopping my wife from commuting to-from work has nothing to do with traffic, mean people, unfriendly streets, distance, showers, shared chores, kids or any of that....her sole reason for not doing so is the fact that it takes her over an hour to do her hair and makeup (neither of which is really needed...but you can't tell her that. ;)).

LemondFanForeve 07-06-11 09:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gcottay (Post 12887933)
According to a smart and beautiful female cyclists more women would ride if either more men shared parenting and household responsibilities or more women only slept two hours a night.

Simple solution: Dont have kids?

LemondFanForeve 07-06-11 09:52 PM

[QUOTE=eja_ bottecchia;12868547]In Southern California, where I ride, there are lots of female riders. Just get on PCH on any Saturday or Sunday morning and you will see lots of women riders.

This, of course, was not the case when I began riding 30 years ago. Back then, women riders were few and far between.

Nowdays there are lots of good, female riders. I know, one of my daughters is a rider and I get regularly beaten on the road by young female riders who are stronger and faster than I am.
[QUOTE]


Yeah, but are any of them HOT???

KD5NRH 07-06-11 10:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LemondFanForeve (Post 12891041)
Simple solution: Dont have kids?

Apparently, some people live only to procreate, and pass on that goal to their children. We stopped at two so that we won't be too worn out to enjoy retirement.

eja_ bottecchia 07-06-11 10:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LemondFanForeve (Post 12891053)
Yeah, but are any of them HOT???

No idea, I don't allow myself to look. :)

The bikes they ride are HOT, however.

eja_ bottecchia 07-06-11 10:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KD5NRH (Post 12891096)
Apparently, some people live only to procreate, and pass on that goal to their children. We stopped at two so that we won't be too worn out to enjoy retirement.

I am not quite sure what to make of your comment. My wife and I don't live "just to procreate;" we both have enjoyed a full and productive life. We chose to have 4 children and the number of children has never interfered with our enjoyment of life - in fact, having a full house with our kids and their friends has enhanced our life.

We have never regretted having four children (even when they are being a royal PITA). I certainly don't feel that having 4, as opposed to just 1 or 2, has taken away from my levels of energy for retirment, or anything else.

Jolly Green 07-09-11 12:39 PM

I'm glad to see a thread discussing women and cycling. If you are a man wanting to know why your wife worries so much about make-up, to the detriment of actually enjoying life, this is why. Women are expected to be pretty. Women are expected not to smell, not to sweat, not to be strong. I'm not saying that all men always feel this way or say these things. I am saying that as a society we keep women from gaining too much power by holding them to higher standards of personal grooming. Now, I'm pretty lucky in this regard. I work in a warehouse, for people that actively support bike commuting, in a community where biking and cargo bikes are common. Nobody cares that I show up for work sweaty, or that I don't wear make-up (or deodorant).

Women on a bike are active, not passive. That can be threatening to a society that prefers women to be passive and men to be active. It is hard work not to internalize society's expectations of you, for women and for men. I want more women on bikes, and I want the feminist community to pay more attention to cycling as a potential improvement in the lives of women, in particular poor women. However, I'm not going to judge women who don't make same decisions I make. It is hard to fight a lifetime of societal norms. I don't speak for all women, but I can say that I could not care less about fashion for biking or appearing attractive to men while riding a bike. I just want to get to work alive :) Any man who thinks I'm too fat to be riding a bike or wearing what I'm wearing can STFU.

ETA: I will work for Pineapple. I feel that bribing with fruit is an excellent way to change behavior. Keep up the good work, Antaresia :)

BarracksSi 07-09-11 10:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jolly Green (Post 12903293)
Women on a bike are active, not passive. That can be threatening to a society that prefers women to be passive and men to be active. It is hard work not to internalize society's expectations of you, for women and for men. I want more women on bikes, and I want the feminist community to pay more attention to cycling as a potential improvement in the lives of women, in particular poor women. However, I'm not going to judge women who don't make same decisions I make. It is hard to fight a lifetime of societal norms. I don't speak for all women, but I can say that I could not care less about fashion for biking or appearing attractive to men while riding a bike. I just want to get to work alive :) Any man who thinks I'm too fat to be riding a bike or wearing what I'm wearing can STFU.

Apart from the STFU, ;) this sounds like it was lifted from a hundred years ago. It's even been said that women riding bikes, and the personal freedoms they enjoyed because of it, fed the suffrage movement.
http://www.annielondonderry.com/womenWheels.html

As for the rest of what you said -- women are expected to be pretty, to not smell or sweat, etc -- I wonder how much of that can be attributed to/blamed on men, and how much can be attributed to/blamed on other women. Maybe it's just the guys I know, but they don't mind it when women don't smell like flowers or can pick up their own luggage.

buzzman 07-10-11 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BarracksSi (Post 12905278)
Apart from the STFU, ;) this sounds like it was lifted from a hundred years ago. It's even been said that women riding bikes, and the personal freedoms they enjoyed because of it, fed the suffrage movement.
http://www.annielondonderry.com/womenWheels.html

As for the rest of what you said -- women are expected to be pretty, to not smell or sweat, etc -- I wonder how much of that can be attributed to/blamed on men, and how much can be attributed to/blamed on other women. Maybe it's just the guys I know, but they don't mind it when women don't smell like flowers or can pick up their own luggage.

+1. Agreed. As a male, who has encouraged and supported so many female cyclists in my life, I resent the implication that because I'm male I'm pushing women to be weak, wear clothes that inhibits physical activity etc... There are just as many women who've bought into that notion as men so I appreciate Jolly Green's suggestion that it's societal because it's not as gender specific as it appears on the surface.

Berta 07-11-11 04:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzman (Post 12906621)
+1. Agreed. As a male, who has encouraged and supported so many female cyclists in my life, I resent the implication that because I'm male I'm pushing women to be weak, wear clothes that inhibits physical activity etc... There are just as many women who've bought into that notion as men so I appreciate Jolly Green's suggestion that it's societal because it's not as gender specific as it appears on the surface.

I am sure it happens that a lot of women feel out of joint if their hair and makeup aren't to their own specs. That's their choice and there's nothing wrong with it. But there are just too many of us who ride and do other physical things because we need/want to, and get by very well in life while doing it in public, for those who choose not to ride based on high maintenance and restrictive so-called appearance-enhancing things to say they "can't" because of societal expectations. I think that is a bit on the silly side these days (especially with the constant media bombardment of health risks and tips!). That attitude was headed out of vogue in the 70's and I don't know what happened to that. But I refuse to blame any backsliding to adhering to stricter gender roles, at least in dress, and any pressure I might feel to particpate in them as a woman all on the men.

Chincitop 07-12-11 12:37 AM

As a bicycle commuter, I do agree in some senses on the fashion thing, but am lucky because my job provides lockers, so I keep baby wipes, hair spray, a brush, some makeup, and some hair pins & things in there, and always try to arrive at work a half an hour before hand, so I can fix up what needs fixing, and change into work clothes and cool down. My ride is about 9 miles, which isn't bad, but in this heat, for someone who's just starting, I do a pretty good job at sweating, and have been rocking a ponytail lately, though I am lucky to work somewhere that it's acceptable to wear a neat ponytail to work, especially if I put some makeup on, or do something special with it (I'm a pharmacy technician at a retail pharmacy)

So, yes, it is doable, and I think it's really rewarding, but I definitely have an easier time convincing my non cycling male friends to go out with me than my non cycling female friends. It is very strange.
Us female cyclists are awesome though, and quite honestly, not much makes me feel sexier than the slight soreness after a long ride. :thumb:

buzzman 07-12-11 08:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chincitop (Post 12915340)
As a bicycle commuter, I do agree in some senses on the fashion thing, but am lucky because my job provides lockers, so I keep baby wipes, hair spray, a brush, some makeup, and some hair pins & things in there, and always try to arrive at work a half an hour before hand, so I can fix up what needs fixing, and change into work clothes and cool down. My ride is about 9 miles, which isn't bad, but in this heat, for someone who's just starting, I do a pretty good job at sweating, and have been rocking a ponytail lately, though I am lucky to work somewhere that it's acceptable to wear a neat ponytail to work, especially if I put some makeup on, or do something special with it (I'm a pharmacy technician at a retail pharmacy)

So, yes, it is doable, and I think it's really rewarding, but I definitely have an easier time convincing my non cycling male friends to go out with me than my non cycling female friends. It is very strange.
Us female cyclists are awesome though, and quite honestly, not much makes me feel sexier than the slight soreness after a long ride. :thumb:

My wife does the hair/clothes transition after her 8 mile ride into work and when I've met her mid-day for lunch I'm always amazed at how put together she looks. I, on the other hand, spend the day looking like I just stepped out of a wind tunnel. If you're creative and take a little time it's possible to ride and look professional/fashionable as well.

Among my male friends women who ride bikes (or are athletic at all) have always been the most admired. The long term relationship "test" was will she go for a bike ride and will she go camping. My wife scored 2 out of 2 and "awesome" ls definitely the word for bike riding women.

genec 07-12-11 10:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzman (Post 12916319)
My wife does the hair/clothes transition after her 8 mile ride into work and when I've met her mid-day for lunch I'm always amazed at how put together she looks. I, on the other hand, spend the day looking like I just stepped out of a wind tunnel. If you're creative and take a little time it's possible to ride and look professional/fashionable as well.

Among my male friends women who ride bikes (or are athletic at all) have always been the most admired. The long term relationship "test" was will she go for a bike ride and will she go camping. My wife scored 2 out of 2 and "awesome" ls definitely the word for bike riding women.

LOL same "test" for my wife... she geared up for it by bike commuting to work, some 20+ miles either way, and then we bike toured CA from SF to SD... We've been together 27 years now.

BTW since this thread is primarily about women... I'm not quite sure what her test for me was... All I know is that I can cook and while we were dating, I prepared several meals, including crepes (the latter for breakfast... she still gets crepes on special occasions).

crhilton 07-12-11 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BarracksSi (Post 12905278)
Maybe it's just the guys I know, but they don't mind it when women don't smell like flowers or can pick up their own luggage.

Ditto.

BarracksSi 07-12-11 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chincitop (Post 12915340)
Us female cyclists are awesome though, and quite honestly, not much makes me feel sexier than the slight soreness after a long ride. :thumb:

That's what she said! :lol: :lol: :D

sunstorm 07-12-11 11:36 AM

hmmm.....I do bike commute a couple days a week. I have dragged my roommate and another best friend (both women) into riding, and my husband.

I can tell you what I find unappealing about biking.

I have shoulder length thick hair. In 100F weather, even a half mile is eneough to have my scalp drenched. To actually blow dry my hair is a 35 minutes minimum process. I'd love to wear a pixie cut, but 3 cowlicks make that a very unprofessional look for me. Air drying my hair creates a tangled mess that looks greasy. I don't wear any make-up, so that is easier for me. Clothing wise, I work in medicine; scrubs with road dust on them isn't acceptable, so I do have to change clothes. I do not have significant storage space at my work. It's easy to say 'chop the hair, drop the clothes, etc' but there have been several studies that illustrate that women are viewed negatively in the work place when they act in ways that are accepted or even expected of men (I don't have citations on me, and I don't have time to look them up, but the studies were really cool designs.) Like most ambitious individuals, I balance my ambition and what serves me best career wise with my own views and beliefs. One thing no one mentioned....for women where skirts are considered the preferred professional attire, bike can result in a lovely array of bruises, scrapes, and marks on one's legs. One of my lawyer friends gets very upset when she ends up with a bruise while riding (often from vehicles throwing up occasional gravel) because it looks 'unprofessional' in hose and skirt and her body type isn't well suited to pant suits.

I am in my 30's, pretty average looking, a little overweight. I have had guys cut me off intentionally, and get out of their vehicles to hit on me. That is a scary experience. When a van pulls off in such a way that you have to swing really wide in a heavy traffic road to avoid it, you do have the thought 'how far can they reach out to grab someone' as you go past the driver side (if you can even manage to do that.) I have had a guy reach out a car window and hit my shoulder, resulting in me wrecking and needing stiches. I have had guys throw beverages on me. I am in a university town. I think male riders don't get this as much because it's easier for a lot of jerks to confront a smaller woman (regardless of her actual abilities or strength) than a man. I do get some ribbing from my female friends, but it's pretty good natured.

Dealing with other cyclists. I find that mountain bikers are far more encouraging than road bikers. Commuters and tourers vary. I have yet to join any of the group rides in my area because I've heard so many negative experiences. I fear that I couldn't keep up with the group (as a commuter I tend to carry 30+ lbs of gear when I ride...I am not a speedy cyclist by any means.) It's easier to do my own thing than struggle to deal with a group that ride fast bikes that weigh 1/5 of what my bike weighs unloaded, then tell me that weight and styling have no impact on how fast they ride (yeah, uh huh, I may never be as fast as you are, but let's see you set a personal best on a 40lb bike.)

I do worry about breaking down. I've only had one flat, but I leave for my morning commute an hour early just in case. We have mandatory attendance (med school) and missing a class is a huge issue. I realize that there is the same risk with my car, but I can then catch a ride with someone else. Part of the reason I head out so early is so I can get hold of another person if I have to, to get where I have to be.

I do ride for 90% of my grocery shopping and local errands. Most of these rides are 1/2 - 3 miles one way. my commute is 5.5-6miles one way (depending on route.) My husband lives in a different state. For him to ride for groceries would be a 7 miles trip one way...to work isn't even possible (it's an hour drive.) I also find that the lack of places to lock bikes up bothers me. I'd love to slap a latte lock on my bike and think it wouldn't walk away, but I just don't trust that someoen wouldn't find it fun to just damage it for damagements sake (which is something I never experienced in other countries.)

There's no nurturing or kids for me to deal with, but if there were, I'd drop my bike commute days because the nearest day care is a 15 minute drive in the opposit direction. I don't care about fashion (I do care about professionalism.) I do have issues finding a bike that actually fits me (very long legs, very short torso.) I'm not afraid of street riding, but all my female friends are (I'm a very proactive bicyclist in street riding, I like to be visible.) Some of the things they are afraid of don't even involve vehicles: crossing rail road tracks, steep hills where sand and clay silt sit on the road, bad pot holes, blind turns, inability to trigger light changes. Some of this could be changed with experience, but that often means trying to find safer places for them to get that experience, which isn't always easy.

That's just my perspective on this topic. I'd bike commute daily if the temps didn't soar with high humidity (making hair a huge issue), and if I could find a bike that I am really comfortable on (not cnmfortable as in cushy, but comfortable as in frame fits my body.) Add in showers at my destination, or even a locker room, and I'd be willing. My friends wouldn't do it because it's too much of a commitment (time wise) with too many unpleasant issues (dealing with traffic and the after affects.)

MNBikeguy 07-12-11 06:06 PM

Today in the Minneapolis StarTribune:
Women Bike More in Minneapolis

buzzman 07-12-11 09:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sunstorm (Post 12917322)
hmmm.....I do bike commute a couple days a week. I have dragged my roommate and another best friend (both women) into riding, and my husband.

I can tell you what I find unappealing about biking.

I have shoulder length thick hair. In 100F weather, even a half mile is eneough to have my scalp drenched. To actually blow dry my hair is a 35 minutes minimum process. I'd love to wear a pixie cut, but 3 cowlicks make that a very unprofessional look for me. Air drying my hair creates a tangled mess that looks greasy. I don't wear any make-up, so that is easier for me. Clothing wise, I work in medicine; scrubs with road dust on them isn't acceptable, so I do have to change clothes. I do not have significant storage space at my work. It's easy to say 'chop the hair, drop the clothes, etc' but there have been several studies that illustrate that women are viewed negatively in the work place when they act in ways that are accepted or even expected of men (I don't have citations on me, and I don't have time to look them up, but the studies were really cool designs.) Like most ambitious individuals, I balance my ambition and what serves me best career wise with my own views and beliefs. One thing no one mentioned....for women where skirts are considered the preferred professional attire, bike can result in a lovely array of bruises, scrapes, and marks on one's legs. One of my lawyer friends gets very upset when she ends up with a bruise while riding (often from vehicles throwing up occasional gravel) because it looks 'unprofessional' in hose and skirt and her body type isn't well suited to pant suits.

I am in my 30's, pretty average looking, a little overweight. I have had guys cut me off intentionally, and get out of their vehicles to hit on me. That is a scary experience. When a van pulls off in such a way that you have to swing really wide in a heavy traffic road to avoid it, you do have the thought 'how far can they reach out to grab someone' as you go past the driver side (if you can even manage to do that.) I have had a guy reach out a car window and hit my shoulder, resulting in me wrecking and needing stiches. I have had guys throw beverages on me. I am in a university town. I think male riders don't get this as much because it's easier for a lot of jerks to confront a smaller woman (regardless of her actual abilities or strength) than a man. I do get some ribbing from my female friends, but it's pretty good natured.

Dealing with other cyclists. I find that mountain bikers are far more encouraging than road bikers. Commuters and tourers vary. I have yet to join any of the group rides in my area because I've heard so many negative experiences. I fear that I couldn't keep up with the group (as a commuter I tend to carry 30+ lbs of gear when I ride...I am not a speedy cyclist by any means.) It's easier to do my own thing than struggle to deal with a group that ride fast bikes that weigh 1/5 of what my bike weighs unloaded, then tell me that weight and styling have no impact on how fast they ride (yeah, uh huh, I may never be as fast as you are, but let's see you set a personal best on a 40lb bike.)

I do worry about breaking down. I've only had one flat, but I leave for my morning commute an hour early just in case. We have mandatory attendance (med school) and missing a class is a huge issue. I realize that there is the same risk with my car, but I can then catch a ride with someone else. Part of the reason I head out so early is so I can get hold of another person if I have to, to get where I have to be.

I do ride for 90% of my grocery shopping and local errands. Most of these rides are 1/2 - 3 miles one way. my commute is 5.5-6miles one way (depending on route.) My husband lives in a different state. For him to ride for groceries would be a 7 miles trip one way...to work isn't even possible (it's an hour drive.) I also find that the lack of places to lock bikes up bothers me. I'd love to slap a latte lock on my bike and think it wouldn't walk away, but I just don't trust that someoen wouldn't find it fun to just damage it for damagements sake (which is something I never experienced in other countries.)

There's no nurturing or kids for me to deal with, but if there were, I'd drop my bike commute days because the nearest day care is a 15 minute drive in the opposit direction. I don't care about fashion (I do care about professionalism.) I do have issues finding a bike that actually fits me (very long legs, very short torso.) I'm not afraid of street riding, but all my female friends are (I'm a very proactive bicyclist in street riding, I like to be visible.) Some of the things they are afraid of don't even involve vehicles: crossing rail road tracks, steep hills where sand and clay silt sit on the road, bad pot holes, blind turns, inability to trigger light changes. Some of this could be changed with experience, but that often means trying to find safer places for them to get that experience, which isn't always easy.

That's just my perspective on this topic. I'd bike commute daily if the temps didn't soar with high humidity (making hair a huge issue), and if I could find a bike that I am really comfortable on (not cnmfortable as in cushy, but comfortable as in frame fits my body.) Add in showers at my destination, or even a locker room, and I'd be willing. My friends wouldn't do it because it's too much of a commitment (time wise) with too many unpleasant issues (dealing with traffic and the after affects.)

What a great, informative post.:thumb:

Dean7 07-12-11 09:10 PM

My wife rides nearly every day I'll have you know.

crhilton 07-13-11 09:02 AM

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. A skirt really isn't more professional than pants, and expecting perfection in a woman's legs is DEFINITELY not professional ;).

As far as recreational group rides. I don't live in your area, but I bet there's a variety of group rides with varying speeds. Find the local bike club on the internet and ask them. Typically clubs that aren't involved in racing will know about the less aggressive road rides. Another thing to try is asking at a few shops.

Don't let people scare you off. I've met people in my area that spout endless bull about various group rides. Most of them seem to have no clue what they're talking about.

Brontide 07-13-11 09:55 AM

There have been studies that show that men who weigh less than their counterparts are paid less as well, so men biking should cause financial disincentives as well, but we still turn out in much higher numbers. Maybe we should change the topic to be "Why do so many men ride bikes?".

idoru2005 07-13-11 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tundra_Man (Post 12818774)
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.

That's lame. Can she prove it to you? Have her ride around for two miles and come home. Check to see if she's sooo sweaty and disgusting that she needs to take another shower.

chipcom 07-13-11 11:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brontide (Post 12922140)
"Why do so many men ride bikes?".

cuz they can't find women

chipcom 07-13-11 11:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by idoru2005 (Post 12922426)
That's lame. Can she prove it to you? Have her ride around for two miles and come home. Check to see if she's sooo sweaty and disgusting that she needs to take another shower.

you're obviously not married :lol:


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