What is stopping women from cycling?

Mavis2016
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Mavis2016 » 23 Mar 2018, 2:49pm

You can’t quote ‘cycling in the Netherlands’ without looking at the way wider society operates.

As a more than full time working parent with children in rural primary schools until this year, without any sort of before or after school care options, cycling to and from work was definitely not an option. I wouldn’t have had the time even if I wanted to.

Commuting distance, lack of affordable childcare options (in the Netherlands employers pay ⅓ of childcare costs which are capped at a reasonable sum and childcare is actually available) and all manner of other things contribute to the lack of parent cyclists on the UK’s roads, rendering cycling a leisure activity for most.

For me, one to be juggled with the fact that I don’t see much of my family during the week which makes my leisure time too precious to spend doing something I feel lukewarm about, which is cycling alone. We have a concept 2 rowing machine in a spare room for cardio - takes 20 mins.

Cycling is very much a leisure time thing for me and many other folk - not surprising either.
Last edited by Mavis2016 on 24 Mar 2018, 7:23am, edited 1 time in total.

gnvqsos
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby gnvqsos » 23 Mar 2018, 8:39pm

Mavis wrote


I would be really interested to know what on earth an interest in my appearance has got to do with pedalling on a bike?

Many women would avoid ridiing a bike if it affected their hair-style.Many women (and men) place premium on their appearnace and consequently eschew cycling and other forms of vigorous exercise.Also some women might be ungainly and lycra does not flatter all women.I nnot determine whether these obswervations apply to you as you are an unknown quantity.I still cannot understand why you find it so hard to cuycle alone-I find it sharpens my senses and makes me more observant.

reohn2
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby reohn2 » 24 Mar 2018, 12:53am

gnvqsos wrote:

Many women would avoid ridiing a bike if it affected their hair-style.Many women (and men) place premium on their appearnace and consequently eschew cycling and other forms of vigorous exercise.Also some women might be ungainly and lycra does not flatter all women.I nnot determine whether these obswervations apply to you as you are an unknown quantity.I still cannot understand why you find it so hard to cuycle alone-I find it sharpens my senses and makes me more observant.

:? :roll:
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brynpoeth
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby brynpoeth » 24 Mar 2018, 1:31am

gnvqsos wrote:I do not think anything is stopping women from cycling,but I would suggest many women find cycling incompatible with their self-image.For example many women choose to have their nails manicured,and spend more £ than men on hair cuts,make-up and other things which they seem to believe will make them more attractive and the subject of envious comments..
..
. .

Why on earth do they spend money to make themselves look worse? :?
Why do most men shave their faces, do they want to look like women? :wink:
Plenty of males look ungainly in cycling clothes too I think
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Mavis2016
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Mavis2016 » 24 Mar 2018, 8:10am

Fantastic work moderators - cognitive bias rules.

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Si
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Si » 24 Mar 2018, 8:31am

I think that what you might find works is being able to argue your point of view with out resorting to name calling. The point that you were trying to make is not a problem, the way that you are making it is.

Whilst one might have sympathy with your point and with your feeling that you are banging you hhead against a brick wall, as soon as anyone starts with calling other forum users names one invites the thread to degrade into a tit for tat, playground squabble, and your original point gets well and truely buried.

After all, if you belueve that you point of view is credible and reasonable then do you really need to resort to name calling to make it? If you can make it in a civil and friendly manner are you not more likely to convince others of its worth?

brynpoeth
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby brynpoeth » 24 Mar 2018, 8:35am

Mavis2016 wrote:You can’t quote ‘cycling in the Netherlands’ without looking at the way wider society operates.

As a more than full time working parent.
..
.. .

Why do you work more than full time? That is undesirable for several reasons I think
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reohn2
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby reohn2 » 24 Mar 2018, 8:54am

brynpoeth wrote:
Mavis2016 wrote:You can’t quote ‘cycling in the Netherlands’ without looking at the way wider society operates.

As a more than full time working parent.
..
.. .

Why do you work more than full time? That is undesirable for several reasons I think

But may be necessary to make ends meet.
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ThePinkOne
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby ThePinkOne » 25 Mar 2018, 11:33am

As I just said in this thread..... :wink: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=16725&start=315

(Mods- should these 2 threads be merged? They seem to be very similar/same-y)

Another issue is clothing. 2 aspects- size and social expectations.

Size. Not all ladies who want to cycle are size 8-12 and built lightly, however it's rare to find ladies cycle clothing above a size 12, and when it does exist, a smallish size 18 is generally all that can be had. Try getting a decent ladies-cut cycle waterproof when you have a 48-inch chest (bust) and wide shoulders. Nor is men's kit an answer as sleeves tend to be too long and hips too narrow, plus the shaping around the bust doesn't really work properly. Even Corinne Dennis and Altura don't cater for ladies with large busts (max size 18 which is about a 42-inch bust- at a push). Thank goodness for Fat Lad at the Back (Lasses range) and Cleverhood cycle capes; but these are not exactly budget options.

Social expectations. There are very strong (generally unspoken) social expectations on how women should dress for the workplace, these make it more difficult to cycle to work. Unless of course you are luckly enough to work in a sector where a degree of "imperfect grooming" is tolerated. TBH, the social expectations for (work) clothing get in the way of all cycling, but I'd say it's far worse for women then for men. I spend a fair bit of time in places like construction sites and engineering workshops, so can get away with wearing a pair of (Corinne Dennis) cycle tights as leggings and adding my site jacket and safety boots, and I keep my hair in a "no fuss" style that works under a hard hat or bump-cap (as my hairdresser says- cutting my hair uses barbering techniques really :lol: ). However, I am very much in the minority; most women in work are expected to dress in a very stereotypical "female" way and have "well-groomed" hair/makeup.

Nor is "have a shower when you get to work" an option as female grooming to the social expectation generally involves considerably more than a quick shower; think: putting on makeup, drying/styling hair etc. (Just becasue I don't do it doesn't mean to say I don't know what is involved :wink: ).

TPO

Altissima
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Altissima » 25 Mar 2018, 11:40am

A bit of research on the internet uncovered this post on Sustrans referring to a 2009 survey that they carried out;

https://www.sustrans.org.uk/blog/why-do ... omen-cycle

As a result Sustrans launched a Motion for Women petition because their survey revealed that:

not feeling safe was the biggest concern women had about cycling (20%)
other big concerns were age (17%) and lack of fitness (8%) followed by a range of other issues around appearance

So the biggest concern by far, was safety.

Sustrans also asked women what they believed would enable many more women to cycle.

67% of women said cycle lanes separated from traffic was the number one thing that will get more women cycling over other options which included:
33% wanted clearly defined cycle lanes shared with buses
21% wanted enforced 20 mph speed limits or less
16% wanted bike training to be available where they live
We therefore launched a petition calling for the creation of a safer environment for cycling – the wording is below:

"We, the undersigned, want to be able to choose to cycle much more. To do this we need to feel safe when we cycle.

"We demand that governments prioritise the creation of environments that encourage and support cycling, specifically this must include cycle paths separated from traffic, as a way of enabling many more women to travel by bike.”

My OH and I have cycled in France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark and our experiences in these countries has been a revelation. Not only is cycling a mainstream activity, it is literally for all. So, all age groups (25% of over 75's in the Netherlands make their trips by bike), lots of women cycle (In Netherlands 55% of the cyclists are women and in Germany, 49%) and it is an intrinsic part of the transport network. Drivers of motorised vehicles are in our experience far more accommodating of cyclists when on the road and ironically our only close pass that we can remember was on last year's tour in France....by a car with a UK numberplate.

Contrast this with the UK where cyclists are viewed as eccentric at best, social outcasts, nerds or parasites at worst. Add onto that the poor or non-existent cycling specific infrastructure in many places, lack of showers or decent changing facilities at work and for many women their caring role - The Fawcett Society's largest ever survey on gender inequality in care, which included 2,372 parents of children under 18, finds that
whilst fathers are concerned about balancing work and care, women continue to do the majority of tasks around raising children. This alone gives women less social and leisure time than men. Add to that the fact that society (fuelled by newspaper and magazine coverage) still judges women by their appearance. GQ Magazine on 13 March 2018 commented (with regard to Theresa May) that ;

"Yes men are criticised, insulted and ridiculed when they stand for office, but rarely so for being male. Masculinity itself is not usually associated with incompetence. How men look matters a lot less than what they say. Speculation about sexual preferences or behaviour are generally kept out of the picture, and threats of physical violence are almost unheard of.

Not so with women. Theresa May gets three times as many comments on her appearance as Jeremy Corbyn"

In June 2017, at the same time as the UK had suffered terrorist attacks, the Conservatives had a drubbing in the election, Nick Robinson a BBC reporter apologised after being accused of making “sexist” comments about British Prime Minister Theresa May’s “thick make-up” during an on-air broadcast of the election count Thursday night. Furthermore the suggestion was that she was wearing extra makeup because she had been crying.

“Sorry if I offended some by talking about May’s thick make up but politics is about the personal & emotional not just stats and charts,” BBC reporter Nick Robinson wrote on Twitter.

So if the Prime Minister of the UK is judged more by her appearance rather than what she says is it any wonder that the rest of us continue to focus on our appearance, for fear of being judged in the same way? Comments like this from gnvqsos don't help, they continue the myth that women focus on their appearance to either attract men or to make other women envious;

"I do not think anything is stopping women from cycling,but I would suggest many women find cycling incompatible with their self-image.For example many women choose to have their nails manicured,and spend more £ than men on hair cuts,make-up and other things which they seem to believe will make them more attractive and the subject of envious comments"

and his (I have assumed that gnvqsos is male, apologies if you aren't) comments;

"I am delighted that you enjoy cycling but find it hard to do so alone.Why not try riding on bridleways where there are fewer cars?i really do not understand why cycling with another person will protect you from cars,or is it protectionn from predators you seek?I do regret you feel patronised-you are no doubt one of those women who combine a love of cycling with an interest in your appearance.Why not act as a pilot for a blind tandem rider?That will allow you to enjoy cycling and do something for someane less advantaged?It might even lead to a fantastic relationship which will endure into imminent old age."

So more comments about appearance, one about imminent old age (Mavis2016 gave her age as 50) and some unsolicited advice to accompany them.

What I would suggest to us all, not just gnvqsos, is that if we want to increase the numbers of female cyclists and total cycling journeys, that we focus on the real issues, which aren't linked to appearance, they are linked to safety. We could all make a difference by lobbying our MP's about real issues, not what they wear, but improving cycling infrastructure. Here's a starter - why don't we make it a requirement that for each new mile of road we have a mile of new, dedicated traffic-free, cycling specific infrastructure?

(Edited for typos)

gnvqsos
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby gnvqsos » 25 Mar 2018, 2:33pm

I would think one thing stopping women from cycling is spending far too much time talking and typing about cycling,rather than going oiut for a good ride.I think many readers lack a sense of irony and are easily provoked by one or two obviously patronising and bigoted comments,which were read at face value rather than laughed off.Many teachers are able to handle such outrageous comments by comic retorts,which is far more effective than exhibitons of indignation.

reohn2
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby reohn2 » 25 Mar 2018, 3:42pm

gnvqsos wrote:I would think one thing stopping women from cycling is spending far too much time talking and typing about cycling,rather than going oiut for a good ride.I think many readers lack a sense of irony and are easily provoked by one or two obviously patronising and bigoted comments,which were read at face value rather than laughed off.Many teachers are able to handle such outrageous comments by comic retorts,which is far more effective than exhibitons of indignation.

The problem with the written word is that it is so easy to misinterpret what is written in jest in such situations,and them that post such posts,especially on such a touchy subject,would perhaps do better to realise that.
There's a bank of emoticons to my right as I type,they can be useful :roll:
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Vorpal
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Vorpal » 25 Mar 2018, 4:03pm

gnvqsos wrote:Many women would avoid ridiing a bike if it affected their hair-style.Many women (and men) place premium on their appearnace and consequently eschew cycling and other forms of vigorous exercise.Also some women might be ungainly and lycra does not flatter all women.I nnot determine whether these obswervations apply to you as you are an unknown quantity.I still cannot understand why you find it so hard to cuycle alone-I find it sharpens my senses and makes me more observant.

As a moderator, I'm not allowed to use the sort of language in suitable to the reaction this evokes from me ;)

What I will say is that most women are rather less worried about their appearance than you suggest. However, society does set high expectations on women, and when they fail to meet them, total stangers have no qualms about letting women know if they are thought to be overweight, under-dressed, ugly, etc.

I have had people call out rude or personal things as I cycled past, even in relatively quiet rural villages. I've been threatened with sexual violence by drivers who didn't like the fact that I was in the road with a bike and child trailer. I've also heard people shaming women for their weight when they've been out jogging or taking other exercise.

If you can't understand why women don't want to cycle alone, it is only because you have never had fear for your personal safety whilst cycling alone. The vast majority of women in the UK have experienced sexual harrassment. That alone could be a deterrent. To add things like body-shaming, appearance expectations, child care and household duties, and the other issues brought up by women on this thread and others, is it any wonder?
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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gnvqsos
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby gnvqsos » 25 Mar 2018, 10:18pm

I have been abused while cycling and have cycled alone in many parts of the USA,Portugal,France,India where a lone cyclist could be attacked.Some people are riskaverse and this would deter them from such ventures.In have also been spat at,squirted with liquids,stoned and various unpleasant experiences when cycling through rougher areas of British cities but I resist the temptation to stop and take the safer option of staying indoors sipping hot cups of tea.I think you may find men also have a rough passage.I note that you heard other womenn being insulted but you do not mention what steps you took to help them in their plight.And what steps did you take to report the offenders who threatened you?If you ignore these peopel they will select another target.People now wear body cameras which would supply the evidence that would help you incriminate these offending persons-have you considered this option?

brynpoeth
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby brynpoeth » 25 Mar 2018, 11:10pm

gnvqsos wrote:I would think one thing stopping women from cycling is spending far too much time talking and typing about cycling,rather than going oiut for a good ride.I think many readers lack a sense of irony..
..
. .

I spend too much time on these fora too, managed to drag myself away for the longest ride of the year, 42 km
Irony is a problem, I use it and am sometimes understood, have been here awhile, one gets to know people quite well, +1
As a middle-aged male I think things have got better for females, but I do not know what I am talking about :wink:
Entertainer, juvenile, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life