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  1. #26
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadandmountain View Post

    The cycling industry caters primarily to male, middle aged, faux racer types. There's a huge emphasis on the latest gadgetry, and the vast vast majority of shop employees are male (perhaps 90%+ plus).
    As entertaining as those types are, and I'm not denying their existence, there's a number of shops around here that have female staff and sell everything from CF road bikes to beach cruisers. It's knowing your market. Most folks won't buy a Madone, they really want a hybrid.

    The expense and pretentiousness of the typical bike shop is really unfortunate. It has been a long time since I've enjoyed a visit to a bike shop. You're likely to see 3 types:

    -gadget obsessed, annoyingly pompous owner with $11K bike.

    - a couple of 30-something cat 3/4/5 shop managers with shaved legs, and $5K bikes who look down on anyone who doesn't have aero wheels and a carbon frame.

    -half a dozen bonged out druggie mechanics who make minimum wage, but surprisingly, also have $5K bikes just like the 2 shop managers.

    Even though I've been riding for about 25 years now, I can probably say that I've never actually enjoyed visiting a bike shop for the purposes of buying a bike or accessories.
    Man, where do you shop? My condolences, that's horrendous. Each of the two shops I frequent are courteous to customers, try to discern what type of ride will make them happy, and deliver on their promises. I really think it's time for you to look for a new LBS. I don't know how those types of places can stay in business.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  2. #27
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadandmountain View Post
    The cycling industry caters primarily to male, middle aged, faux racer types. There's a huge emphasis on the latest gadgetry, and the vast vast majority of shop employees are male (perhaps 90%+ plus).
    I'm assuming you're talking about the "cycling industry" in North America. Am I correct?

    I'm glad my LBS has quite a few female staffers. They are all nice, friendly and knowledgeable.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  3. #28
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    In my area of the Northwest, most of those that exercise ( jogging etc ) along the road, sidewalks, or MUPs are female. IMO female bicyclists are slightly less prevalent than males though, but not by much. Cycling even in a group it seems to me is a solitary activity while underway, so maybe the social aspect play a part.

  4. #29
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    & lots of writing from the Computer on the job , at work .. the women have other things they choose to do with their time .

    <generalization alert> Guys like talking about things fixing stuff,
    , women talk about feelings , and relationships , and each other, often.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-09-14 at 03:03 PM.

  5. #30
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    Around my neighborhood, it's mostly the women who are biking with their children. Sometimes I see dad join the fray, but not usually.

    We belong to a bike club and there are just as many women who are cycling as men. Overall, I think more men ride single, but I've never noticed a shortage of women riding bicycles.
    - Dan \m/

  6. #31
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermespan View Post
    short story: Why are bikes 'a guy thing?'
    They aren't where I ride. Especially when it comes to commuting: around here, statistically men are more likely to drive a car, women are more likely to take the bus, train, metro - or bike, or walk. I'd say I see more female bikers than male bikers during my commute.

    The ratio may be totally different in road cycling, MTB, cyclocross etc. I've no experience in that kind of cycling.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  7. #32
    Senior Member Hermespan's Avatar
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    In southeast Asia, except for schoolgirls getting too and from school, bikes are *definitely* a guy thing. Which frankly is disappointing because I prefer talking to women. My theory, and that's all it is, is that in traditional cultures (East Asia is less so, especially Japan)...

    1. Women are less adventurous (a bicycle is riskier transport than the bus)

    2. In SEA Buddhist countries women do most of the work. They don't have time for the leisurely habit of bicycling

    3. Bikes cost money. See number 2.

    4. Women study more than men in SEA

    4. Women are less mechanically inclined than men are

    5. Bikes are for exploring and a sense of freedom of movement. These are male qualities

    6. Risk of ****

    7. Bikes, unless top end are inefficient use of money. They are a low status item. While men seek power, women seek social status. The partner of an American friend in the Mekong Delta wants to get a bicycle or at most an electric bike. His wife says she will never ride one and implied that she be shamed in her neighbourhood if *he* does.

    8. You RIDE a bicycle. Like horseback riding, bicycling has had, at least when invented, a sexual connotation. Men are more encouraged, women less so.

    In my home city of Vancouver I also see many more men and boys on bicycles than women and girls.

    Just speculating.
    Last edited by Hermespan; 05-15-14 at 06:41 AM.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    They aren't where I ride. Especially when it comes to commuting: around here, statistically men are more likely to drive a car, women are more likely to take the bus, train, metro - or bike, or walk. I'd say I see more female bikers than male bikers during my commute.

    The ratio may be totally different in road cycling, MTB, cyclocross etc. I've no experience in that kind of cycling.

    --J
    My wife and I MTB and I see far more men than women. The comment about women being "less adventurous" is somewhat true, because it took a bit of coaxing to talk my wife into it. Since she's heavy, I also attribute that to being part of it. The other part, I just attribute to the fear of getting hurt, which is understandable, considering as a kid she never did the "BMX thing," she only rode around neighborhoods on her 10-speed.

    After getting out on a few MTB trips, she enjoys most aspects, save for the steep climbs and sketchy descents.
    - Dan \m/

  9. #34
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    1. Women are less adventurous (a bicycle is riskier transport than the bus)
    I'll buy that, generally women are more risk adverse then men.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  10. #35
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    care to match your bike riding mileage against my wife's?
    She has ridden over a quarter million miles.
    wow!!!!!!!

  11. #36
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    I will ad one more to your list, sort of. There are several days a month that I just won't ride. It just isn't comfortable to do so, and while many women do, I'm sure there are others that are like me that don't.

  12. #37
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Personal observations:
    Some of the women I know are okay cycling by themselves, whereas some just don't. So you have a perception of physical safety that influences participation.
    Group rides are noted for dropping people, which is worse for newbies, which, combined with the above, makes them less desirable for women than for men.
    Some women don't like to navigate. (One lady I know said "I never learned to navigate until I got divorced!") That makes solo riding or getting dropped from groups less desirable.
    I have no interest in joining a gym and working out there, but I get the impression that is more popular with women.
    Long ago when I was more into photography, I heard the same question there. The basic thought that came up was that men liked cameras and women liked taking pictures. That is, the men tended to be gadget-oriented more so than the women, and I assume that crops up in cycling as well. I don't hear too many women going on and on about Hub A is better than Sprocket B.

    AntimonySarah mentioned the RUSA figures above. Those are informative. But for perspective, the average RUSA rider tends to be 50'ish or so, and a disproportionate number of the ones that ride a LOT tend to not have any children. Which is to say, they are not your average typical Americans, either. I am very blessed to be able to ride with a few of those 18%, though!
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  13. #38
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermespan View Post
    If philosophical discussion of bicycle social issues do not belong here, moderstors please move this post.

    short story: Why are bikes 'a guy thing?'

    Long story: Whether as an elementary school boy or adult, in 1965 or now, in Asia or Canada, things remain more of less the same - girls (except in Vietnam and China?) do not ride bikes.

    I can think of a few possible reasons some from Victorian era, some based on the different ways are brains are hardwired. Never the less I find it strange.
    Because girls are girls and boys are boys. Little girls like to get dressed up in princess costumes. Ever see a 6 year old melt down when one of the ruffles in her dress gets torn? Ain't pretty. You want her to ride a bike where she could fall off or have her outfit get caught in spokes or chains? You're kidding right? Things only progress from there. If you just spent a ton of dough and a ton of time getting "ready" to hang out with your friends are you going to want to get all stinky and sweaty and have your hair messed up? I didn't think so. On the other hand, if you just rolled out of bed, scratched your …deer..self, smelled you had and decided you were clean enough to not need a shower before playing basketball, you pretty much don't care how you get to the playground, and if your a boy, the faster the better. Now, of course girls can have times in their day, times in their lives, when the don't WANT to be dressed up or look pretty and don't care about falling. It is those girls, those women, at those times who you are likely to encounter riding their bikes for whatever reason. It's not that girls don't like to or want to ride, it's just that they like and want other things to that are antagonist to being sweaty and dressed like a guy.
    "I'm built like a marine mammal. I love the cold! "-Cosmoline
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  14. #39
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Perhaps my view is skewed. When I started cycling I rode a lot with one rider in particular who was much better than I was. But following his wheel was a dream. It caused me to push more to keep that wheel.

    Women often will not make that effort. Not never, just less often.

    The most unusual compliment I have received in any sporting area was from 2 very good women riders. At the first cycling club monthly dinner I made it to one of them pointed to me and said 'That's him, you remember that big guy that was behind us on the hills, the one we kept wondering how he kept close'.

    I was big, about as non-ideal as you can get for climbing and still be fit. I made the effort on the hills. Few women do.

    Sad really as I enjoy the social aspects of riding and many women are much better as part of a group.

    Once they get to a good level. It just seems fewer get to a good level.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

  15. #40
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    Personal observations:
    Some of the women I know are okay cycling by themselves, whereas some just don't. So you have a perception of physical safety that influences participation.
    Group rides are noted for dropping people, which is worse for newbies, which, combined with the above, makes them less desirable for women than for men.
    Some women don't like to navigate. (One lady I know said "I never learned to navigate until I got divorced!") That makes solo riding or getting dropped from groups less desirable.
    I have no interest in joining a gym and working out there, but I get the impression that is more popular with women.
    Long ago when I was more into photography, I heard the same question there. The basic thought that came up was that men liked cameras and women liked taking pictures. That is, the men tended to be gadget-oriented more so than the women, and I assume that crops up in cycling as well. I don't hear too many women going on and on about Hub A is better than Sprocket B.

    AntimonySarah mentioned the RUSA figures above. Those are informative. But for perspective, the average RUSA rider tends to be 50'ish or so, and a disproportionate number of the ones that ride a LOT tend to not have any children. Which is to say, they are not your average typical Americans, either. I am very blessed to be able to ride with a few of those 18%, though!
    Bolding mine. I hadn't thought of that, but I've known a lot of women who are poor at navigating. I am rather good at it. I had no qualms about getting dropped and lost on a ride anywhere near home. I could point towards the start and get back. (Honestly I get half mystified every time I read a tragic news story about a lost hiker).

    Oh and the navigation things can compound. If I committed to a ride that was just too long or I was feeling bad I was confident I could short cut it. I could afford to stretch my limits.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

  16. #41
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    Bolding mine. I hadn't thought of that, but I've known a lot of women who are poor at navigating. I am rather good at it. I had no qualms about getting dropped and lost on a ride anywhere near home. I could point towards the start and get back. (Honestly I get half mystified every time I read a tragic news story about a lost hiker).

    Oh and the navigation things can compound. If I committed to a ride that was just too long or I was feeling bad I was confident I could short cut it. I could afford to stretch my limits.
    My wife really hates to go anywhere new because she's afraid she'll get lost. I get lost too, I'm just used to it and it doesn't bother me. So a lot of that is in perspective. So I might be out riding, see a street and wonder "where does that go, anyway?" and ride down it to see, and she just doesn't think that way at all.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr,grumpy View Post
    Because girls are girls and boys are boys. Little girls like to get dressed up in princess costumes. Ever see a 6 year old melt down when one of the ruffles in her dress gets torn? Ain't pretty. You want her to ride a bike where she could fall off or have her outfit get caught in spokes or chains? You're kidding right? Things only progress from there. If you just spent a ton of dough and a ton of time getting "ready" to hang out with your friends are you going to want to get all stinky and sweaty and have your hair messed up? I didn't think so. On the other hand, if you just rolled out of bed, scratched your …deer..self, smelled you had and decided you were clean enough to not need a shower before playing basketball, you pretty much don't care how you get to the playground, and if your a boy, the faster the better. Now, of course girls can have times in their day, times in their lives, when the don't WANT to be dressed up or look pretty and don't care about falling. It is those girls, those women, at those times who you are likely to encounter riding their bikes for whatever reason. It's not that girls don't like to or want to ride, it's just that they like and want other things to that are antagonist to being sweaty and dressed like a guy.
    Not always the case. I have a few female friends who LOVE to mountain bike and get dirty, while another one is addicted to downhill. Or, I could always bring up the one who has an obsession with Meguiar's products for cleaning her car. My wife and I are good friends with her and her husband, and he even made mention, "She wanted a case of motor oil for her birthday."

    Now, the funny part about the "motor oil momma" is that she's actually fairly sophisticated. While she does like some of those girlie things (arts and crafts, etc.), she just loves to paint (houses, not pictures) and do home improvement projects. Just this past March, she got a nailgun for her birthday. I'm still trying to figure out why she enjoys hanging drywall, but whatever...and then, of course, there's the obsession with cars. Not exactly "ladylike."
    - Dan \m/

  18. #43
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    Of COURSE there are exceptions to every rule and degrees of commitment to a cause but I'm willing to bet you let and of those gals (women love to be called gals) get all dressed up and THEN tell them they are going on a peddle bike and you're going to be riding alone!
    "I'm built like a marine mammal. I love the cold! "-Cosmoline
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  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr,grumpy View Post
    Of COURSE there are exceptions to every rule and degrees of commitment to a cause but I'm willing to bet you let and of those gals (women love to be called gals) get all dressed up and THEN tell them they are going on a peddle bike and you're going to be riding alone!
    Well, admittedly, if I were dressed up, I wouldn't wanna get on a bike, either. I can't be the only one who winds up with the greasy "tattoo" of the chain on my leg every time I get on a bike.
    - Dan \m/

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    Lots of great information in this thread. This is a knowledgeable group.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by achoo View Post
    Is it a result of socialization, or are the social norms driven by innate differences in the sexes?

    Go watch a basketball game played by 4- and 5-year-old boys. When the ball is going out of bounds, they know which team touched it last and players on that team will dive to save the ball. 4- and 5-year-old girls don't play a basketball game, they have a group conversation that peripherally involves bouncing a ball. If the ball goes out of bounds one or two of the girls might notice.

    Watch 3- and 4-year-olds on the "kiddie squad" of a local pool's swim team. The boys talk trash and brag about beating the slow kids. The girls cheer each other on and try to help the slow kids.

    There's such a huge disparity in behavior at that young of an age that it's pretty hard to attribute it to just social pressure.
    While there is indeed an innate difference between the sexes, there is an amazing amount of pressure for children to conform to gender role norms as well. Once you start noticing it, it's probably greater than the innate differences between sexes. I make a strong effort not to do it with my kids, but not extreme. I've heard hundreds of comments from acquaintances and strangers like legos aren't for girls, tools aren't for girls, trucks aren't for girls, don't cry like a girl, and other types of comments pushing girls towards dolls, playing house, etc and boys towards boy toys and activities and away from girl toys and activities. So again, there are real differences, but the societal pressures are very strong, and much more common and relentless than you might think if you don't focus on noticing it. It starts early and like maneuvering operations on a spacecraft, small adjustments over time can lead to large changes. My goal with my kids is to make them aware, expose them to a lot of things, encourage them to do anything that's good for them, and to eventually make them aware of the pressures and options.

    But to act as most people here have done, that nothing is going on, is naive. Of course the gender role norms and social pressures affect the choices people make for exercise and whether to take up biking beyond childhood. How much is up for debate of course, but it's not none and I don't think it's small.

    Edit: Oh and I'd actually go as far as to say that some of the documented differences in the adult male and female brains are partly due to the activities they are encouraged to do as children and throughout life. I don't have evidence to back that up specifically, but there is increasing evidence now that what activities we focus on do affect our brains.
    Last edited by Tim199; 06-08-14 at 11:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim199 View Post
    While there is indeed an innate difference between the sexes, there is an amazing amount of pressure for children to conform to gender role norms as well. Once you start noticing it, it's probably greater than the innate differences between sexes. I make a strong effort not to do it with my kids, but not extreme. I've heard hundreds of comments from acquaintances and strangers like legos aren't for girls, tools aren't for girls, trucks aren't for girls, don't cry like a girl, and other types of comments pushing girls towards dolls, playing house, etc and boys towards boy toys and activities and away from girl toys and activities. So again, there are real differences, but the societal pressures are very strong, and much more common and relentless than you might think if you don't focus on noticing it. It starts early and like maneuvering operations on a spacecraft, small adjustments over time can lead to large changes. My goal with my kids is to make them aware, expose them to a lot of things, encourage them to do anything that's good for them, and to eventually make them aware of the pressures and options.

    But to act as most people here have done, that nothing is going on, is naive. Of course the gender role norms and social pressures affect the choices people make for exercise and whether to take up biking beyond childhood. How much is up for debate of course, but it's not none and I don't think it's small.

    Edit: Oh and I'd actually go as far as to say that some of the documented differences in the adult male and female brains are partly due to the activities they are encouraged to do as children and throughout life. I don't have evidence to back that up specifically, but there is increasing evidence now that what activities we focus on do affect our brains.
    Thank you for your uncommonly comprehensive, enlightened and intelligent comments. My past studies and my continuing interest in brain science and human behavior match well with everything you wrote here. I know it's difficult for most people to move past their personal observations and/or grasp the limitations and short-sightedness, especially over a lifetime, of biological determinism--I've been made aware of my own confirmation bias plenty of times--so your views are particularly refreshing and also give me hope that more parents than I might suppose think like you do.

  23. #48
    Senior Member spdracr39's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    When I lived in Atlanta I saw almost as many female cyclists (roadies and commuters) as males.
    Around here some of the groups are all women -- some on road bikes -- some on trikes -- so on hybrids. And some of them can whip my butt on the bike.

    Not sure where you're getting this gender bias info.
    +1 not that way around these parts at all.

  24. #49
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim199 View Post
    While there is indeed an innate difference between the sexes, there is an amazing amount of pressure for children to conform to gender role norms as well. Once you start noticing it, it's probably greater than the innate differences between sexes. I make a strong effort not to do it with my kids, but not extreme. I've heard hundreds of comments from acquaintances and strangers like legos aren't for girls, tools aren't for girls, trucks aren't for girls, don't cry like a girl, and other types of comments pushing girls towards dolls, playing house, etc and boys towards boy toys and activities and away from girl toys and activities. So again, there are real differences, but the societal pressures are very strong, and much more common and relentless than you might think if you don't focus on noticing it. It starts early and like maneuvering operations on a spacecraft, small adjustments over time can lead to large changes. My goal with my kids is to make them aware, expose them to a lot of things, encourage them to do anything that's good for them, and to eventually make them aware of the pressures and options.

    But to act as most people here have done, that nothing is going on, is naive. Of course the gender role norms and social pressures affect the choices people make for exercise and whether to take up biking beyond childhood. How much is up for debate of course, but it's not none and I don't think it's small.

    Edit: Oh and I'd actually go as far as to say that some of the documented differences in the adult male and female brains are partly due to the activities they are encouraged to do as children and throughout life. I don't have evidence to back that up specifically, but there is increasing evidence now that what activities we focus on do affect our brains.
    I think it's more parental driven than anything else. If the parents like to bike, so do the kids.(generally) I would give some weight to societal pressures, but not much compared to parental example.

    IIRC some years ago there were some studies about gender biasing among small kids, the result was that there a lot more innate differences than previously thought.

    Remember though, everything is a distribution function and in this case , one with a lot of variability, so I wouldn't go pegging one thing or another on specific causation without a BIG sample size.

    "Biology is destiny" is neither overwhelming nor nonexistent.
    Last edited by delcrossv; 06-13-14 at 09:45 AM.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

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    There are many, many ladies around here (Colorado) riding bicycles, from a group of young (10-14 or so) on beach-type bikes to ladies who wipe me out on the trails and the road. I would guess that about 60% of the many, many bicyclists in this area are female, and most can beat me!!

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