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Women on Bikes

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Old 03-13-18, 04:50 PM
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Korina
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Women on Bikes

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.

I found all this fascinating. Having never been cursed with good looks (the least important thing about me, IMO), I've never really received a lot of harassment (barring the one #metoo incident when I was 18). In the last couple of years since I've gotten back on my bike there have been two incidents; one was with my husband, when some yahoos drove past us and the passenger made an odd shooting gesture to both of us, and the other was when a pair of utter idiots drove past me and the passenger screamed at the top of his lungs right behind me. I jumped about a foot, but only internally; I didn't give him the satisfaction of crashing.

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?
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Old 03-13-18, 05:11 PM
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Dervla Murphy wrote some excellent books, among her earliest was ; Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle https://www.travelbooks.co.uk/shop-o...ooks/full-tilt
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Old 03-13-18, 05:16 PM
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Safety. Most women have the perception that cycling is dangerous. A big effort would have to be made to convince them to the otherwise.
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Old 03-13-18, 05:22 PM
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Ms Murphy rode solo, but packed 'heat'.. she did go through Afghanistan to get there..
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Old 03-13-18, 05:26 PM
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Hmmm... Good question.

Even men have had slurs yelled at us. Usually the people yelling are too drunk to understand a word they're saying.

And, a month or so ago, I had someone slow down, then some garbage sailed past me into the bushes.

But, I don't let those incidents define my riding.

There are probably a lot of issues. Strength, access, safety... "glistening"

In fact, I wonder if that may be part of the issue... an unwillingness to arrive at a destination with grease on the fingers, "glistening", perhaps pants shoved into the socks.
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Old 03-13-18, 06:32 PM
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"Glistening?"
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Old 03-13-18, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Nubie View Post
"Glistening?"
Men sweat. Women glisten.
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Old 03-13-18, 07:08 PM
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Here in Tucson, I see quite a few women roadies. Usually they're in pairs, but a lot ride solo too.

Seeing women out playing in the dirt on mtn bikes is a little more rare.
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Old 03-13-18, 07:39 PM
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Great question, @Korina . I'm listening to the podcast, and it's funny as heck and informative.

I don't want to sound arrogant, but NYC is ahead on this issue. I can think of three organizations here that promote cycling to women. Check out WE BIKE NYC. Think of forming your own.

A friend and I formed a non-profit cycling coalition, not aimed at women. We started by leaving leaflets on bikes locked up at the train station. Then we sent out messages on social media. It had a good amount of steam for a few years, and we got some help from the town. Anyway, starting an organization is work, but it's very rewarding, especially since, in this case, you get to organize group rides.
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Old 03-13-18, 07:58 PM
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A good question! If some dudes weren't so crappy in their treatment towards others and drivers learned the very thing they have set out to do, driving, maybe just maybe it might get a bit better.

One huge step forward would be more equalized pro cycling like a women's Tour, Vuelta and Giro in full glory no one day B.S. or easier ride but full on same thing as the men with the same everything especially coverage. It would be awesome to watch and would inspire folks all throughout. Some people want to be like the pros and if we start hearing and seeing more about pro women's cycling...
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Old 03-13-18, 07:59 PM
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"gender gap in urban cycling"; this is common in US cities - even NYC.
But not true for Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Shanghai, etc.

We should try to copy what those cities are doing to increase female riders.
Here are some media I've taken in my travels:
DSCN0771 by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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Old 03-13-18, 08:05 PM
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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.

I found all this fascinating. Having never been cursed with good looks (the least important thing about me, IMO), I've never really received a lot of harassment (barring the one #metoo incident when I was 18). In the last couple of years since I've gotten back on my bike there have been two incidents; one was with my husband, when some yahoos drove past us and the passenger made an odd shooting gesture to both of us, and the other was when a pair of utter idiots drove past me and the passenger screamed at the top of his lungs right behind me. I jumped about a foot, but only internally; I didn't give him the satisfaction of crashing.

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?
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.
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Old 03-13-18, 08:10 PM
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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.
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Old 03-13-18, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
How can we get more women on the road?
Start a club like Sorella Cycling in Atlanta.
Sorella Cycling | Dynamic, fun-loving Women's Cycling Club/Race Team
-Tim-
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Old 03-13-18, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
One huge step forward would be more equalized pro cycling like a women's Tour, Vuelta and Giro in full glory no one day B.S. or easier ride but full on same thing as the men with the same everything especially coverage. It would be awesome to watch and would inspire folks all throughout. Some people want to be like the pros and if we start hearing and seeing more about pro women's cycling...
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.
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Old 03-13-18, 08:38 PM
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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.

Hmmm...I don't know how well that would work but could be interesting. Logistics would be tough I imagine.
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Old 03-13-18, 08:43 PM
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A biker is a biker to me.
That being said if someone disrespected a lady biking with me,
he would find out what a bicycle tastes like.
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Old 03-13-18, 08:50 PM
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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.
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Old 03-13-18, 09:00 PM
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One possible issue is that women in the US have less spare time.
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Old 03-13-18, 09:04 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.
Cycling has risks, but I believe that it is a relatively safe sport.

I've met several women cycling solo on long tours. My wife and I met 2 women riding solo across Canada, and several on long tours in the U.S. I also know several women who ride regularly, sometimes solo. I've never heard any of them even mention the concerns you portrayed. They usually have the same concerns that men do, young kids riding in black pickups yelling unintelligible things at them out the truck's window.

My wife and 2 daughters are cyclists, and avid bike tourers. My wife has cycled 19,000 miles through 12 countries in the last 10 years, and the "girls" are working to catch up. If you asked any of the women mentioned, if they had a problem with "glistening", they might answer, " no, but I sometimes have a problem from sweat getting in my eyes when riding up a hot steep hill."

Three very competent cyclists that I know up-close and personal.

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Old 03-13-18, 09:12 PM
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It's not women on bikes that you have to worry about. It's when they get behind the wheel of car things can go really pear shaped.

In my home town in England they designed a roundabout for women where you can go around it in any direction.
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Old 03-13-18, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
One possible issue is that women in the US have less spare time.
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.
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Old 03-13-18, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Hmmm...I don't know how well that would work but could be interesting. Logistics would be tough I imagine.
Logistics of running two races simultaneously on the same course would be tough, but not impossible. Almost all other races are run with multiple ages and categories.

It is likely that with a bit of riding analysis, one could predict when the men would catch up with the women, if at all.

Of course, one wouldn't have to organize it so they'd pass each other, but it would get the two groups on the course for the least amount of time, and thus seen by the most spectators. And the pass itself could be exciting.

For a no draft rule... just have required outfits... someone wearing black shorts can't draft someone wearing pink shorts... and visa-versa. It would really depend on the cyclists whether one would end up with a merged peloton, but even that would be interesting. But, if they passed, one could discourage merging the pelotons.
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Old 03-13-18, 10:03 PM
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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.

I will say that there is something about a woman on a bicycle that infuriates certain men. I'm not sure what it is, but evidently this has always been a thing (and is also addressed in the podcast): https://www.vox.com/2014/7/8/5880931...-about-bicycle. Perhaps it is the sense of independence, or something slightly offensive about straddling a bicycle seat? Not sure. I have never been harassed by another cyclist, only those in cars or pedestrians.
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Old 03-13-18, 10:20 PM
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Numbers. It's not just safety in numbers. It's the *perception* of safety in numbers. It may not actually be safer in numbers, but if it feels safer, more casual or timid cyclists are likely to participate.

I've heard a few women joke around about our group rides being "sausage fests" or "too much testosterone". But if they're joking about it, there's probably a serious subtext. And they may have a point. I've heard a couple of guys in group rides indicating they considered it an opportunity to meet women for potential dating, etc. But not everyone who joins group rides is interested in that, and it can create a certain tension that may be uncomfortable for folks who just join up for the ride and zero-pressure socializing without any romantic or sexual overtures.

There's also the camaraderie thing. Several of my cycling friends who are women also participate in weekly or monthly women-only events, including the Dallas "Critical Lass" alternative to the monthly Critical Mass rides.

Keep in mind that if you're considering a women-focused regular group ride or club, these things usually fall on the shoulders of one person to organize, schedule and be there, even if nobody else shows up, and to ride even if only one person shows up. Helps to be active on social media and post regular reminders. If you're that kind of person, give it a go and best of luck.
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