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Women on Bikes

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Old 03-13-18, 11:21 PM
  #26  
Korina
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Originally Posted by DeadGrandpa View Post
Men sweat. Women glisten.
Actually, horses sweat, men perspire, women glisten. Personally, when I get going I glisten like a horse.
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Old 03-13-18, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by RunForTheHills View Post
Is this a real problem? I like to run as well as cycle. I can't convince my wife to to do either of those activities. She prefers tennis, so I encourage her to do that.
When women take 24% of U.S. bike rides, I think it's a problem. We're not just talking racing and MTB, we're also talking commuting, shopping, and other errands.

Good on your wife for knowing what she wants.
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Old 03-13-18, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexanderLS View Post
Women are unlikely to adopt cycling in mass.

Women who are cycling get leared at and approached by any number of creep cagers.
Then there is the chance of potential victimization of the female cyclist. Cycling is sometimes safe for men, it's never very safe for women. It's a dangerous hobby.
No more dangerous than any other outdoor activity, and frankly I feel safer at 12 mph than a jogger's 5, and I see women exercise walking and jogging everywhere.
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Old 03-13-18, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
"gender gap in urban cycling"; this is common in US cities - even NYC.
But not true for Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Shanghai, etc.
Cycling is normal in these places, which speaks to Eben Weiss's essay.
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Old 03-14-18, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
So what do you think? How can we get more women on the road?
I'm a woman, and I've been cycling for 45 years now ... since I was 6 years old.

How did I get into it?

My parents put me on a bicycle when I was 6, and I just kept riding.

For me ... it's normal.


Happily, we see quite a few women cycling in the area where my husband and I live now.
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Old 03-14-18, 05:40 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Actually, horses sweat, men perspire, women glisten. Personally, when I get going I glisten like a horse.
Willie Nelson said that there is much we can learn from horses.
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Old 03-14-18, 05:47 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Ms Murphy rode solo, but packed 'heat'.. she did go through Afghanistan to get there..
My fiancee does as well. We're in Ohio.
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Old 03-14-18, 05:52 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
When women take 24% of U.S. bike rides, I think it's a problem.
I'd agree, but I think to start to figure out what the attitude and belief based causes of that problem are you'll need to ask the non-cycling women, not the folks that hang out here.
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Old 03-14-18, 07:00 AM
  #34  
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I think if you took cycling and changed it a bit by making the bikes stationary, putting a bunch of them in a small brightly lit room with loud music, and having an instructor at the front of the room with a microphone calling out instructions, that possibly more women would take interest.

Women seem to value the group/social aspect of fitness and exercise more than men. Go to your local gym and peek in the yoga, zumba, pilates, or spinning classes and see how many women vs men are in there.

Find a way to bring that aspect more to actual outdoor cycling, and maybe more women will get involved.
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Old 03-14-18, 07:06 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Nubie View Post
I will say, as a woman, when you are alone (either running, cycling, walking down the street, sitting in a restaurant, riding the bus, you name it), a part of you is constantly on high-alert for potential harassment. Always. It's exhausting, but unfortunately just the way it is. This is partially why you often see groups of women doing activities together - biking, running, etc. There is safety in numbers.

This is exactly why Sorella Cycling is so popular in Atlanta.

Sorella Cycling | Dynamic, fun-loving Women's Cycling Club/Race Team


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Old 03-14-18, 07:17 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
I think if you took cycling and changed it a bit by making the bikes stationary, putting a bunch of them in a small brightly lit room with loud music, and having an instructor at the front of the room with a microphone calling out instructions, that possibly more women would take interest.

Women seem to value the group/social aspect of fitness and exercise more than men. Go to your local gym and peek in the yoga, zumba, pilates, or spinning classes and see how many women vs men are in there.

Find a way to bring that aspect more to actual outdoor cycling, and maybe more women will get involved.
Because ...

-- it is safer and less stressful than cycling outside, or at least it is perceived as such.

-- it is a 50 minute class with a bit of stretching after, and then you're done, so it isn't that much of a time commitment.

-- gyms are often conveniently located to work or university or wherever the women are.

-- if the gym has a childcare facility, even better!

-- the group isn't going to drop you in a spinning class ... you're all there together at the end no matter what kind of effort you put in, or didn't feel up to putting in.

-- you don't need to worry about weather and all sorts of extra clothing and packing and preparing ... you can toss a pair of tights, a tank top, a towel, and a water bottle into a bag and you're set.
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Old 03-14-18, 08:07 AM
  #37  
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Plenty of women cycle in Philly. I see them all the time while commuting and running errands. The bike share program has increased that number. Lots of women also participate in club rides. Been on and/or led hundreds of club rides since 2005. Only once did I see a guy aggressively try to get a woman's digits. A few of us chuckled silently because we knew she way gay. There is even a women's cycling club:


Sturdy Girl Cycling - Philadelphia Cycling Club for Women


Things are way different than when I started riding for sport back in the mid-80s. Seeing women on sport rides was not common like it is today. They were more common on transportation/commuting rides, but still not nearly as prevalent as men.
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Old 03-14-18, 08:11 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Start a club like Sorella Cycling in Atlanta.
Sorella Cycling | Dynamic, fun-loving Women's Cycling Club/Race Team

See my post above. We have one too.
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Old 03-14-18, 08:26 AM
  #39  
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Women on Bikes
Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Hey, guys (and I know you're mostly men). This essay from Eben Weiss about normalizing bicycles led me to this article about the gender gap in urban cycling, which led me indirectly to this podcast about women cycling…

So what do you think? How can we get more women on the road? Or do you guys prefer the He-Man Woman Hater's Club? If so, why?
Originally Posted by RunForTheHills View Post
Is this a real problem? I like to run as well as cycle. I can't convince my wife to to do either of those activities. She prefers tennis, so I encourage her to do that.
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I don't know.

There is a large group of female joggers that seem to be home mid-day for jogging.

But, I think for sheer exercise, many women would select jogging over cycling. And, those that don't have to work likely would choose to drive rather than cycle to the store.
Originally Posted by ph0rk View Post
I'd agree, but I think to start to figure out what the attitude and belief based causes of that problem are you'll need to ask the non-cycling women, not the folks that hang out here.
I didn’t read the article or listen to the podcast, and I wouldn’t presume to know what “women (cyclists) really want.” However, I have previously posted,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I have on occasion posted this observation about gender specific exercise from my early morning commute (~6-7AM) from downtown Boston to a suburb:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
... on my daily commute, it seems that female joggers outnumber males by a large margin, at least 5 to 1, if not as high as 10 to 1.
Among the cycling commuters that I see I would say the men outnumber the women by a greater ratio, [at least 5 to 1, if not as high as 10 to 1] though in much fewer numbers, maybe about one cyclist for every 40-50 runners.

My estimates of joggers and cyclists are a general observation made over the seasons, though I do “guesstimate” the gender during the cold weather.
Originally Posted by jonc. View Post
There are a large number of female recreational roadies around here. I was dropped by a female pace line once.

Urban commuting does seem to be predominantly male, but the numbers are small in any case
I also made this observation in reply to a thread on the Fifty-Plus Forum, "50+ the way that it used to be,"
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
... Another change IMO is the seeming disappearance of self-identified females from those good old days. Miss Kenton, Miss Jean, and Beverly come immediately to mind as the Women of Fifty-Plus, since I have met them all in person…
Finally, on a personal note, I started out in my cycling lifestyle mainly as a cycle tourist, and soon thereafter my then-girlfriend-now-wife followed, though I think she had a personal inclination to pick up cycling back then.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… In Ann Arbor MI in the 70’s I really realized the utility of bicycles for commuting, and began touring on a five-speed Schwinn Suburban, but soon bought a Mercier as did my girlfriend, later my wife. We toured in Michigan and Ontario.

In 1977 we moved to Boston on our bikes, as a bicycling honeymoon from Los Angeles to Washington, DC and then took the train up to Boston. We have toured in New England and the Maritime Provinces, and one trip to the Delmarva peninsula.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Touring companions

… We initially toured together as BF-GF, and our honeymoon was a cross-country tour. I don’t think you can find a better (socially) matched companion, and she was a good rider.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I can't think of a more nearly perfect touring companion than a new bride as on our cross-country honeymoon. We had toured together previously for a few years so had a system.
So maybe as a couple of posts suggest, a personal relationship might be the necessary inducement.
Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
The club I ride with has a lot of women in it. It helps that the founder/leader is a woman -- I think that's crucial to attracting more female participation in lots of things.
Originally Posted by Nubie View Post
Iwill say, as a woman, when you are alone ...a part of you is constantly on high-alert for potential harassment. Always. It's exhausting, but unfortunately just the way it is.

This is partially why you often see groups of women doing activities together - biking, running, etc. There is safetyin numbers.
Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
...There's also the camaraderie thing.
However, in the sense of be careful what you wish for:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
However, I don't proselytize about cycling. I posted to this A&S thread, “How can we get more people riding their bikes?.”
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I’m going to be a Captain Bringdown to this thread, but I just posted yesterday to this Commuting thread, Beginner Commuting In a Big City,” given the state of current Road transportation,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Frankly, I have posted that I would not be inclined to encourage, unless by example (nor discourage) someone to cycle-commute, but if they so chose, I would freely and gladly give any advice.
Public exhortations to cycle-commute, or utility cycle are well and good with no individual responsibility for bad outcomes, but I would not want the recriminations of a personal endorsement if something bad happened.

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Old 03-14-18, 08:26 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I'm a woman, and I've been cycling for 45 years now ... since I was 6 years old.

How did I get into it?

My parents put me on a bicycle when I was 6, and I just kept riding.

For me ... it's normal.


Happily, we see quite a few women cycling in the area where my husband and I live now.
I think this is one reason why my wife doesn't ride a bike. She grew up with her mom (dad passed at 26 yeas old from an accident) and she and her brother never really rode bikes growing up. So it can be a "family" or "cultural thing" as well. And its not gender specific. Her brother still doesn't ride bikes either. I was the opposite like you. I think I actually got rid of training wheels at 6 and remember riding in the basement and outside of a big apartment building when I was young.
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Old 03-14-18, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
See my post above. We have one too.
Good for Philly. The OP asked how to get more women on bikes. Women specific clubs are the number one way.

Women want to ride with other women. When they see happy women enjoying themselves they want to participate too. It is as simple as that.

This model is also what got lots of black people into cycling in Atlanta. Their rides are huge.
MACC - Home
They are open to anyone but it is no secret that it is a predominantly black club and they actively promote cycling as a sport and hobby within the community.


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Old 03-14-18, 08:29 AM
  #42  
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I believe it starts earlier in life when we teach our sons about cars, mechanics, building, and electronics. Yet "We" check the oil, change the tire, fix everything for our daughters. So a multi speed bicycle seems more complex and sometimes intimidating. I have two sons and two daughters, my girls were trained/taught to be as fearless as my boys. But whether they choose to ride or not will be based on desire and not intimidation with no need for organizations, committees, associations , and the like.
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Old 03-14-18, 08:50 AM
  #43  
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Re: Grands Tours

The issue is marketing. Someone has to pay those women, pay the teams … those are sponsors. And mixing the Tours might create more sponsorship but it might just be crazy confusion. And once the men caught up … where would the cameras go? On some stages, particularly climbing stages, there are so many groups of riders it is hard to follow already.

The breakaway splits, and splits again, and a group attacks the peloton, and another group tries to bridge, and then the rGC guys start going at it … but they are way behind the race for the stage, where about five different groups are moving up or falling back.

Add in a whole ‘nother race, and someone if not everyone will get short-changed.

On top of that the sponsorship has to be there first. Which means the exposure has to be guaranteed before the sponsors would fork over the money.

If sending a squad for a day is expensive, a week, or three—more mechanicals, more fatigue, more support staff needed, more vehicles, more fuel, more lodging and food—it is all RoI for the sponsors, and if they thought it was worth it they’d already be doing it.

I don’t know why there isn’t more interest in women’s pro cycling. I wish there was, because I’d have more cycling to watch—but there isn’t.

Also—and anyone who thinks this is sexist is … never mind … well, why didn’t Rafa Nadal ever play Serena Williams?

Men on average are larger and stronger. I am sure Serena Williams could have trained to play five sets—she is an athlete. But ....

But look at sport in general—weightlifting, high-jumping, mixed martial arts, sprinting, even marathoning …. Men, by dint of being a few percent larger and commensurately stronger (more muscle mass per pound as a rule) tend to be a few percentage points faster, running or jumping.

Not saying “Men are better” or any such crap … but the female athletes train just as hard and long and with all the same science and nutrition info and all that … and the men seem to perform a little better.

That is why the women might not be able to do the same courses and schedule as the men. If they were an extra hour on the bike each day, they would be that much more fatigued, have that much less recovery time, transit times would be tighter …. The women might need shorter stages.

Also … trying to run two Grands Tours in one country in one year …. People come from all over Europe and a good portion from other countries to see the Grands Tours. Not sure a lot of people could afford to do it twice in a year. Of course those people aren’t buying tickets, but they create the event, and the event creates publicity. And publicity pays sponsors.

Not sure what the answer is. I’d like to see “Women’s Classics”—they could be run the day before the men’s Classics or monuments, when hopefully people would already be in the region to see the men.

I’d like to see more independent women’s stage races, maybe on three-day weekends or four or five days in the summer, like the shorter mens’ stage races … the hard part would be scheduling, because it seems to me that more people would watch one of the lead-ups to the Tour (Tour de Suisse, Tour of Romandie) in order to assess the form of the Tour favorites, than watch a women’s race full of people they don’t know.

Obviously it can be done—women’s soccer, women’s tennis, softball, volleyball, … I saw some awesome women’s Aussie-rules football last week. I have seen women’s cricket. And obviously women are on par with the men or near to it in track and field and winter sports.

I don’t see a way to run dual meets at the stage races though.

As far as the rest … I really don’t think women are less safe than men on the road. (There weren’t many women in “Deliverance.” ) I think any cyclist faces the same percentage of ignorant drivers, and most drivers don’t stop, so they don’t even know who they are yelling at.

I think that possibly fewer women want to cycle competitively because women are less interested in general in competitive sports—whether that is culture or character or both, I cannot say.

Possibly also there is the perception that cycling has a dirty mechanical/technical side—again not sure if it is just cultural, but most women I have met (and I have met a Lot, doing everything from cooking in restaurants to landscaping to martial arts to cycling to yoga) didn’t seem inclined to mess with greasy mechanicals.

Also, in our culture a Lot of emphasis is placed on a woman’s appearance, and unfortunately the thing we define as “beauty” is often highly stylized and artificial. Not many women are going to want to commute with full hair, nails, and makeup, and not many are going to want to get to the office drenched in sweat and have to try to look “beautiful” for work.

Men can towel off, comb their hair, and be ready. Big difference.

In a place like the Netherlands, cycling is part of the culture. Even there I am not sure ladies in $200 pumps are riding to the office … but the distances are shorter, the roads are safer (in terms of traffic) and the culture in general allows for the time it takes to get to places by bike.

Not sure at all … but maybe the biggest factor in preventing men and women from cycling on the road is traffic.

Again, please don’t label me as “sexist” but it seems that men are trained to be more aggressive and to react to fear with combat … so a man whose buddy says “Come on give it a try” won’t admit (maybe) to being scared when a car buzzed by at 45 mph.

Possibly women are less prone to risk-taking and more able to say “that is freaking scary,” where a guy will just clench and relax and keep going and pretend. In both cases it is a matter of acclimatization … pretty soon you get used to the cars going by. But ladies might need to really convince their friends—“Look, I do it every day and I am fine. It only Seems scary.”

Otherwise … all I can do is echo what others have said. Start a cycling club and keep promoting it even if no one ever joins. Post rides online on whatever community calendars might be in your area and always be there early and leave a little late and see if anyone shows up. Work with local bike shops … I don’t know.

Last edited by Maelochs; 03-14-18 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 03-14-18, 08:52 AM
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ptempel
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I've wondered about that. Perhaps start the women an hour early on the same course... So the fans will be out for both races. The men might pass them somewhere along the way, perhaps implement a no cross drafting rule. But, it could make for a great day... well... a great month.

No doubt we'd see a new group of women cyclists that were truly spectacular on the road.
It may sound blasphemous, but why not have men and women racing together? I know and have read about women pros training with men and I think they can easily hold their own in the peloton. Just award the same jerseys to both men and women (lowest overall time, most points, best hill climber, best new pro, etc).
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Old 03-14-18, 08:54 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
When women take 24% of U.S. bike rides, I think it's a problem. We're not just talking racing and MTB, we're also talking commuting, shopping, and other errands.
Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Cycling is normal in these places, which speaks to Eben Weiss's essay.
I think you have to be careful trying to draw too much from bike commuting/shopping/errands numbers in America. It simply isn't that common, regardless if it is men or women (yes, I realize there are some communities it is big, I am talking about the whole of the country). I never commute on a bike, I rarely run errands on one. It just isn't a common mode of transport here, whereas a place like the Netherlands, it is ubitquious. It stands to reason that they are going to have a much more equal distribution when it is a common mode of travel, just as I'm sure the ratio of car drivers here are fairly equivalent.

That said, most of the women I know simply prefer running. I've heard less upfront cost, more perceived safety, better workout for the same amount of time spent doing it, far more organized events, and perhaps most importantly, it is what their friends are already doing. It isn't easy to get a group people invested in and continuing on with any new sport or hobby.
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Old 03-14-18, 09:02 AM
  #46  
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My cycling club, Thread City Cyclers...Willimantic, CT, has about 170 members. I'd be surprised if at least 70 of them weren't women.
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Old 03-14-18, 09:17 AM
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I've never noticed a gender gap in cycling. Our local cycling group has about 50% or more women.
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Old 03-14-18, 09:19 AM
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Saddle/fit issues dominate in our household.
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Old 03-14-18, 09:33 AM
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More power to the women who ride. I started riding again 18 years ago when I turned 50. I rode with two sisters, one of which was my wife's colleague from work. Being an overweight middle age couch potato, but an ex-bike racer, it was embarrassing having them wait for me on the big hills. Their patience and understanding, made me a better rider. We did lots of charity and training rides together, and I was even accepted as an honorary member of their "50s Chicks" team. Good times. One sister has moved on to yoga and stopped riding, but the other sister and I do several club rides a week, enjoying the miles and smiles. At first it was weird, because their husbands are not riders, and my wife doesn't ride either. The spouses have been very supportive, and understanding. One other thing, last Saturday, I rode the Solvang half century in rain all day, and was amazed by the ratio of women to men riders, I think it was more than 50% women. Go girls!
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Old 03-14-18, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ptempel View Post
I think this is one reason why my wife doesn't ride a bike. She grew up with her mom (dad passed at 26 years old from an accident) and she and her brother never really rode bikes growing up. So it can be a "family" or "cultural thing" as well. And its not gender specific.

Her brother still doesn't ride bikes either. I was the opposite like you. I think I actually got rid of training wheels at 6 and remember riding in the basement and outside of a big apartment building when I was young
Originally Posted by texaspandj View Post
I believe it starts earlier in life when we teach our sons about cars, mechanics, building, and electronics. Yet "We" check the oil, change the tire, fix everything for our daughters. So a multi speed bicycle seems more complex and sometimes intimidating.

I have two sons and two daughters, my girls were trained/taught to be as fearless as my boys. But whether they choose to ride or not will be based on desire and not intimidation with no need for organizations, committees, associations, and the like.
Both replies well written, and IMO best answers too, though the post by @texaspandj may be overgeneralized. Basically a matter of early socialization.

I had posted,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… I started out in my cycling lifestyle mainly as a cycle tourist, and soon thereafter my then-girlfriend-now-wife followed, though I think she had a personal inclination to pick up cycling back then

So maybe as a couple of posts suggest, a personal relationship might be the necessary inducement.
My wife was athletic in High School, on the tennis and basketball teams. However, in general I would say less women are socialized as athletically as men, so there is a smaller critical mass of women to associate and influence other women to cycle.

My wife was lucky to find me, I guess.

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