What is stopping women from cycling?

Vorpal
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Vorpal » 26 Mar 2018, 9:48am

gnvqsos wrote: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?

I have reported verbal abuse and sexual harrassment to the police, and been told that there was nothing they could do (didn't have the registration number). When I have observed others being verbally abused, or assualted, I have offered them help. In each case, that there was a witness there was enough to get the abusers to leave their victims alone. I don't think what I have done has any relevance to the argument, however.

Verbal abuse hasn't been enough to put me off, but I'm pretty thick skinned and feel reasonably capable of defending myself in many situations. Not every one does, and it shouldn't have to be necessary. I know women who cycle in somewhat limited circumstances because they fear for their safety.

If I were subjected to frequent abuse, I certainly would do something differently than I currently do. I certainly wouldn't (for example) cycle in places where there was a significant risk of having stones and things thrown at me.

Yes, everyone has a different tolerance for risk, and I was not suggesting that men don't experience these things, but I am confident that men do not experience them to the same extent, and furthermore are much less likely to fear for their personal safety as a result.

I now live in Norway, where the few negative encounters I have had with motorists have been of a more mundane sort.
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pjclinch
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby pjclinch » 26 Mar 2018, 10:35am

gnvqsos wrote: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.


This comes back as a whole list of things that are stopping people in general, women included, from cycling, and sitting inside drinking tea is not the only alternative. You say some people are risk averse, but people in general are unpleasantness averse. That more men than women are prepared to put up with unpleasantness isn't actually much to shout about, and I think efforts to make cycling pleasant for everyone would be time better spent than complaining that women aren't daft enough to ignore unpleasantness.

gnvqsos wrote:People now wear body cameras which would supply the evidence that would help you incriminate these offending persons-have you considered this option?


The main reason I cycle is because (for me) it's easy and faff free. If I felt the need to tool myself up with cameras any time I went out I'd stop doing it. It's another reason to stop more than it is a reason to start.
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Flinders
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Flinders » 26 Mar 2018, 8:34pm

One thing I would like to ask. Please don't ask us to 'laugh off' insults and abuse, especially in this section. We have been given this sort of 'advice' for so long I do understand it is almost a given, and some people do say it without meaning to be anything but helpful, but it really isn't helpful. A lot of us have just about had enough of being asked to laugh such things off, some of us have had 30 or 40 years of it, and are sick to the back teeth of it.

I know nobody here is defending bad behavior, but that's where asking people to laugh off bad behavior eventually leads- it encourages those individuals who do behave badly to use phrases which I hope nobody here would defend, like the old 'you can't take a joke' defence of bad behavior that used to be thrown at us women in the 80s and 90s, currently replaced by the equally obnoxious 'it's just a bit of banter'.

Just to make it clear that I am not in any way anti-male, I'd like to thank, here, those males (the vast majority in my opinion) who step in to protect females subjected to bad behavior by other men- and those we can never thank because we women never see it, who, when with solely male friends, resist unpleasant talk about women when I'm sure it isn't always easy to do so.
And of course, bad behavior from women towards men is just as bad. But not as common, and is less likely to lead to actual bodily harm.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Sally brown » 27 Mar 2018, 8:21pm

What's stopping me right now - well not stopping, but causing frustration is trying to buy a new bike. I only have one shop nearby. On my recent visit, the assistant didn't ask any questions, he just looked at me and directed me towards a pink shopping bike complete with wicker basket... there was very little choice. It is probably a vicious circle - unless more women buy bikes, they won't stock them. I have contacted Dawes about the Galaxy X, and the nearest one in stock is 150 miles away, and the wrong size anyway. Then saw a Trex FX Sport 4 which looked OK. However again, no-one stocks it, and it isn't available until August anyway. It's a long time since I bought a bike, and it seems that a lot now come in small, medium and large frames rather than inches. I hired a bike on holiday. Had to go medium because of having relatively legs for a short person, but the frame was just too long, and gave me back ache.

I am happy to travel to see a bike and am prepared to spend a reasonable amount, but really don't want to just buy, sight unseen. I am considering going to Holland, every town there has a huge bike shop where you are spoilt for choice.

Does anyone have any suggestions. Sure there are more makes than Dawes and Trek... I want light weight but with a bit of give. Not sure about suspension, but I am fed up of crashing into pot holes and being shaken by rough surfaces. Straight handle bars, decent road tyres but not too narrow and capable of up to hundred miles a day, even if I'm not these days....

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby brynpoeth » 28 Mar 2018, 5:57am

100 miles a day, I used to do that, plan to do it again sometime
In the meantime I 'trick myself' by doing 100 km instead, makes me feel nearly as smug
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby pjclinch » 28 Mar 2018, 9:06am

Sally brown wrote:It's a long time since I bought a bike, and it seems that a lot now come in small, medium and large frames rather than inches. I hired a bike on holiday. Had to go medium because of having relatively legs for a short person, but the frame was just too long, and gave me back ache.


The move to more general frame size is as a result of the "compact frame" with a sloping top tube where more adjustment is possible through the saddle post which means a manufacturer can make fewer sizes and save money. In practice you get a cheaper bike and don't lose the facility for correct frame size as with a traditional frame you can be too stretched out as well. There are various ways around it such as shorter and/or more steeply angled stems, but a particularly good way around is a frame built for shorter reach (often labelled "women's specific" by marketing departments).

Sally brown wrote:I am happy to travel to see a bike and am prepared to spend a reasonable amount, but really don't want to just buy, sight unseen. I am considering going to Holland, every town there has a huge bike shop where you are spoilt for choice.


Up to a point. You'd be spoiled for choice for e-bikes and omafietsen and quite possibly road bikes but if you want e.g. a light trad tourer you may well be out of luck.

Sally brown wrote:Does anyone have any suggestions. Sure there are more makes than Dawes and Trek... I want light weight but with a bit of give. Not sure about suspension, but I am fed up of crashing into pot holes and being shaken by rough surfaces. Straight handle bars, decent road tyres but not too narrow and capable of up to hundred miles a day, even if I'm not these days....


Suspension is probably more trouble than it's worth on the road unless it's quite specifically for the road (e.g., Moultons). It's extra weight and it's more usually for taking big hits rather than a general efficiency improvement so good off road but overkill on. On the other hand, there's a trend to rather fatter but still easy tolling tyres. Back 25 years ago you might have been on 25 mm where today the same sort of bike might run 32 and up semi-slicks, which at a decent pressure will roll just as easily and make a big comfort difference.
If you want straight bars there's now a big selection of good quality light hybrids from all sorts of brands. For example, here's a Boardman which is the first thing I came across, there must be plenty of others like it (including higher spec and lower spec). Should be possible to get that through any branch of Halfords.
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Vorpal » 28 Mar 2018, 9:10am

Sally brown wrote:Does anyone have any suggestions. Sure there are more makes than Dawes and Trek... I want light weight but with a bit of give. Not sure about suspension, but I am fed up of crashing into pot holes and being shaken by rough surfaces. Straight handle bars, decent road tyres but not too narrow and capable of up to hundred miles a day, even if I'm not these days....

You don't need to get a women-specific bike unless you want to. Of course, the size is important. I have several bikes, and only one is women specific, and that's a Claud Butler. My daughter has a Trek FX 7.2.

The last time I went bike shopping, I called around, first. I would guess that I called 30 shops, and narrowed it down to 5 within and hour's drive. A couple of them were useless and didn't have what I wanted, despite me giving quite specific requirements on the phone. I think they figured if they got me in the shop, they could sell me something.

If you create another post with some information about what you want to do with the bike, or what type of bike you want, I'm sure that forumites can offer some suggestions :)
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NUKe
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby NUKe » 28 Mar 2018, 9:38am

Sally brown wrote:Does anyone have any suggestions. Sure there are more makes than Dawes and Trek... I want light weight but with a bit of give. Not sure about suspension, but I am fed up of crashing into pot holes and being shaken by rough surfaces. Straight handle bars, decent road tyres but not too narrow and capable of up to hundred miles a day, even if I'm not these days....

You haven't specified a budget But another suggestion would be Thorn Cycles they St John Street Cycles in Bridgewater.
http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/
there bikes are semi bespoke in that they have a wide range of sizes including long and short top tubes and you can customise the kit it is supplied with.
Or one of the more tradition builders such as Bob Jackson, Ellis Briggs or Mercian and Spa cycles.
others brands that might suit are Kona, oxford bikes, Tifosi
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby eileithyia » 28 Mar 2018, 5:53pm

Hi sally, waves. Any shop that treated me like that and I would immediately walk out. When i first north I was building up a bike and went into a local(ish) bike shop to price up parts... at the bottom of the quote was an extra £30 with no explanation... on asking I was informed it was their build-up costs. When I told them that was not necessary I was looked up and down with some amusement and a 'well if you think you can do it' Needless to say they did not get my business.

More recently I visited J.E. James in Sheffield and Wheelbase Staveley to discuss time trial bikes, and credit to both staff in both stores as the addressed me directly and not via fylbike,

You don't indicate where you live but I would suggest any of these shops to you, also consider Specialized Concept Store, JE James supply Liv bikes which are very nice looking bikes. Good hunting.
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby lvabd » 30 Mar 2018, 11:20am

hi

At my workplace it's a 50/50 on cycling (and men outnumber women... so larger proportion of women cycle!), but that's academia.
I know a few male cyclists' girlfriends: although they do cycle a little bit, they see it as rather dirty, dangerous, and competitive.

Beyond my little personal case, I believe the good ol' loophole of sexist thinking, VERY largely internalized by women, combined with biased view of cycling, does some harm:
"- women are not competitive. Cycling is competitive, so it does not suit women.
- women are not interested in mechanics. Bike maintenance requires that. So it does not suit women
- women need to be all-time dressed up. Cycling makes you sweat and messes up the physical appearance.
- women are weaker and easily scared. Cycling is dangerous"

Last but not least, I would second this:
pjclinch wrote:
gnvqsos wrote: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.[...]I think you may find men also have a rough passage.


This comes back as a whole list of things that are stopping people in general, women included, from cycling, and sitting inside drinking tea is not the only alternative. [...] That more men than women are prepared to put up with unpleasantness [...].

Around here, cycling on the roads requires a fair amount of assertiveness, or it becomes quite overwhelming (I think..?). Again, this trait is not encouraged at all for women.

For the stats of that thread: women, 29 years old, NE Scotland, cycling for commute, touring, bikepacking off road and audax

cat skis
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby cat skis » 18 Apr 2018, 11:54am

As others have commented, many factors are involved. Safety is a big issue and I find that drivers give me much less space when I cycle alone than when I’m with my husband. This does put me off cycling alone. There’s also the abuse and “banter” that we have to deal with and the difficulties of finding kit that fits unless you are a standard size.

I enjoy cycling as a leisure activity, but have never commuted by bike. The sheer length of the commute was the main issue, but the hassles associated with needing to look professional and well-groomed for work and combining that with cycling are a concern for many.

Better cycling infrastructure would help but there also needs to be a cultural shift to make cycling more normal. I often find myself thinking about cycling to the shops or to another activity, but usually decide to walk instead because then I don’t need to worry about taking a helmet, where to park the bike securely, what to do with my helmet when I’m not cycling, whether my clothes are perceived as suitable for cycling etc, etc, etc.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby pjclinch » 19 Apr 2018, 10:14am

cat skis wrote:As others have commented, many factors are involved. Safety is a big issue and I find that drivers give me much less space when I cycle alone than when I’m with my husband. This does put me off cycling alone. There’s also the abuse and “banter” that we have to deal with and the difficulties of finding kit that fits unless you are a standard size.

I enjoy cycling as a leisure activity, but have never commuted by bike. The sheer length of the commute was the main issue, but the hassles associated with needing to look professional and well-groomed for work and combining that with cycling are a concern for many.

Better cycling infrastructure would help but there also needs to be a cultural shift to make cycling more normal. I often find myself thinking about cycling to the shops or to another activity, but usually decide to walk instead because then I don’t need to worry about taking a helmet, where to park the bike securely, what to do with my helmet when I’m not cycling, whether my clothes are perceived as suitable for cycling etc, etc, etc.


I think you're right about the normality thing. One aspect of it seen to be a non-normal activity is the degree to which many think special gear (aside from a bike) is needed, and it turns out that that, at least, is less of an issue than normally perceived. What do I do with my helmet when I'm shopping? I leave it at home with my mountain bike because it's not really an issue for a shopping trip. Clothes I use are whatever I was wearing.

I do workplace cycle instruction as a voluntary extra on top of my normal day job (NHS Clinical Scientist) and most of my clients are women who want a confidence boost. I just show up in my usual work clothes (standard office attire) and first time out my clients are usually quite surprised, having all decided on "proper cycling gear". As long as you're not in to long billowy skirts it's usually possible to ride in your usual threads, though for skirts a low crossbar may be helpful, though certainly not always necessary...
Image
Special clothes are handy are good on long trips, but for a couple of miles to the shops are really not worth the effort. For a more professional look than you might want to have when shopping, travel clothing is often a good source. It's designed for not needing ironing and looking sharp after a day in an airport, so can easily cope with the rigours of a typical ride and come out shining. Rohan is an example, though far from the only one.

That doesn't answer all of your issues, of course, but might help with some of them.
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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby gbnz » 27 Apr 2018, 7:29am

cat skis wrote: needs to be a cultural shift to make cycling more normal. I often find myself thinking about cycling to the shops or to another activity, but usually decide to walk instead because then I don’t need to worry about taking a helmet, where to park the bike securely, what to do with my helmet when I’m not cycling, whether my clothes are perceived as suitable for cycling etc, etc, etc.


An individuals self limiting approach immediately springs to mind, rather than cultural requirements having any responsibility.

I.e. I normally cycle because I don't feel any need to worry about a helmet (I either wear one or I don't), I park the bike insecurely at work (Being the only cyclist who isn't frightened to park the bike outside the "cycle store", despite mine being the highest quality bike on offer), I've never bothered taking a helmet to work, my local shop keepers (Espcially Sainsburys security guards) took a little while to understand that I arrive at the store via bike wearing several hundred opounds of suits/handmade shoes/silk ties and shirts during the week, but scraggy 15 year old shorts and fleeces after work or at the weekend - after 3 months using my latest store, it's pleasing to note that store employees now always take the "good evening sir" approach to the shock of some customers, as I'm clearly of dubious character (Arriving sweaty, in dirt encrusted shorts and top, paying for the milk with loose change - I never take a bank card when cycling)

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby Tangled Metal » 27 Apr 2018, 8:34am

What's stopping a lot of women I guess is the need to manage childcare / taking junior to school with getting to their own place of work by a certain time. Since in this enlightened world we live in the UK workplace isn't cold friendly and most fathers are unable to help it's left to the mothers to do the family stuff. So a lot of very doable journeys by bike get done by car.

We're the classic case of this. I'm free to cycle my half hour onto work to get in at 8am. My partner has to get junior to school then sort out matters for herself before going to her work. She tries to work from home but can't always do that so it's half hour drive or over an hour cycle. That's 3 hours out of an already shortened work day due to childcare. My inflexible workplace doesn't allow me to help with any of that.

However that does not explain leisure riding. However I would bet even in their free time mother's do more than fathers with child arrangements. The phrase soccer mum is an American phrase but over here it's joined with karate mum, tennis mum, ferry your kids to their friends house across town mum, etc, etc, etc.

I'm sure you all know examples of men into their endurance sports who dedicate vast lengths of time to training and taking part. Only do you see as many women at home or looking after kids at home, in town or elsewhere entertaining them on her own? I know a friend into triathlon, my partner's relative is into triathlons and ultra running events and there's a lot round here like that. All men, all of the age where there's kids or likely to be kids and all without kids involved in large periods of by their free time.

I am not feeling self righteous because I've given up my single man activities like challenge walking events, backpacking, etc, because I know I don't do enough to b take the strain off my partner, to give her some space to do what I can fit into day to day life. That is not my choice to do, without giving up more money than I have already and am able to live on.

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Re: What is stopping women from cycling?

Postby gnvqsos » 27 Apr 2018, 11:20pm

Youn are right to blame selfish men because if they did more of the womens work the missuses would be able to cycle more.In adsditon I would like to see female role models like Dawn French,Ann Widdlecombe,Sandy Toksvig, Clara Balding,and Katie Price take up some cycling.As far as I iknow none are regular cyclists but they are trend-setters in their own way.I would invite all female MPs to cycle to Parliament-after all Cameron,Johnson and that guy who swore at the police all rode Bromptons and Moultons round London.I bet even Diane Abbot could be paired off withCorbyn to ride atandem round Parliament Square in a sponsorship deal to raise funds for a greenTrident.