Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

1982john
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Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby 1982john » 15 Sep 2018, 7:07pm

I can't remember where I first heard this I think it might have been Emily Chapple? But it went something along the lines of being out on the road, alone, is about as close as a man can get to what it's like being a woman.

That is, any car could take you out and there is not much you could do about it. You get unsolicited verbal abuse. And the roads were not designed with you in mind.

What do people think? Is there anything to this?

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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby landsurfer » 15 Sep 2018, 7:11pm

Absolute nothing like being a woman ... says Jules ..... and probably any woman .....
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monxton
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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby monxton » 1 Jul 2019, 8:46pm

That's an analogy I have made myself, and if Emily Chappell has said so too, then I am in good company.

Cycling on the road you are vulnerable, and if something goes wrong then it is your fault. It's because you are wearing the wrong clothes, or your lights are too bright or not bright enough, or you went out without a helmet, or it's your fault just for being there, in the domain of the motorist, whom you have provoked by getting in his way, and who can't be expected to control his natural impulses.

Cyclists are 'othered' in the same way as women are, treated as a homogeneous group of road warriors who all jump red lights and knock down pedestrians. Oh, and it's fine to make 'jokes' about killing cyclists and if you object it just demonstrates you're a smug git with no sense of humour.

Only difference is, a cyclist can go incognito. Put the bike away, change your clothes, and you can pass as a normal person.

reohn2
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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby reohn2 » 1 Jul 2019, 9:45pm

Only a woman can truly answer that question.
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monxton
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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby monxton » 2 Jul 2019, 6:27pm

reohn2 wrote:Only a woman can truly answer that question.

A woman with experience of road cycling, yes.

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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby reohn2 » 2 Jul 2019, 7:35pm

monxton wrote:
reohn2 wrote:Only a woman can truly answer that question.

A woman with experience of road cycling, yes.

Without doubt :wink:
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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 3 Jul 2019, 1:12pm

The question rather assumes that "what it's like being a woman" is only one thing; and the same assumption for road cycling. I'm not a woman so will only say that seems unlikely, but the experience of road cycling is certainly not one uniform thing.

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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby PDQ Mobile » 3 Jul 2019, 1:17pm

reohn2 wrote:
monxton wrote:
reohn2 wrote:Only a woman can truly answer that question.

A woman with experience of road cycling, yes.

Without doubt :wink:


Mountain biking doesn't count?
Take the rough with the smooth? :shock:

Sorry, I'll get me coat.

reohn2
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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby reohn2 » 3 Jul 2019, 1:18pm

PDQ Mobile wrote:
reohn2 wrote:
monxton wrote:
A woman with experience of road cycling, yes.

Without doubt :wink:


Mountain biking doesn't count?
Take the rough with the smooth? :shock:

Sorry, I'll get me coat.

Oops :oops:
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I cycle therefore I am.

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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby Vorpal » 3 Jul 2019, 2:06pm

In some ways, they are similar. Certainly, the harrassment that cyclists sometimes get from motorists is not unlike the street harrassment that women sometimes receive. I have experienced both in a neat package. The greatest commonality is in the feeling of vulnerability with an underlying threat of violence.

I am not someone who allows such things to put me off. I have used active travel and public transport in places where I was advised against doing so for my own safety. I have never worn unneeded clothes for sake of covering myself, nor carried weapons, except when I hitchhiked as a teenager. I have, frankly, followed very few of those things that offer safety advice to women. But IMO, it stands me in good stead when it comes to taking a bike out on the roads.

That said, my experience with both is very much better in Norway than either the UK or the USA.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 3 Jul 2019, 4:39pm

I remember a previous conversation on a similar topic pointing to a blogpost which made this comparison. I don't remember all the details but I do remember two: the pressure to apologize for yourself and to display that you take society's safety measures.
"Yeah, but I only ride to work and the shops, I'm not one of those lycra warriors." "Of course I'm not a feminist."
"Obviously I wear a helmet and hi-viz, it's sensible." "I never walk home on my own at night."

1982john
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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby 1982john » 5 Jul 2019, 7:55am

I'm pleased to see this post, which I thought was an interesting question, is finally getting some discussion 10 months later!

Lots of great points, especially on the victim-blaming element which I had not considered.

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 15 Jul 2019, 8:28am

I don’t really think that this is an issue for women at all, or even a cycling one either, as it seems to be about helping men understand what it is like to be a woman in our society. The cycling link really seems only to be an analogy here. It strikes me that it really needs some input from a trans person who cycles and drives, such that they can relate first hand experiences of how different it is be a man and a woman in society, and can compare that to their experiences of how differently one is treated on the roads when travelling by car compared to by bike. Whilst many of us can imagine how differently people are treated in various situations I expect that very few actually have direct experience of both sides of both situations (man/woman and car/bike). I’m sure that we all look forward to such input to the discussion.

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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby brynpoeth » 15 Jul 2019, 7:16pm

The Guardian has an interesting article by a woman who had breast reduction surgery, having overlarge heavy breasts can be quite inconvenient, a famous tennis player had breast reduction surgery too
Breast enlargement is more popular than breast reduction, apparently
Interesting and quite hard for me as a male to comprehend, illustrates how different being a female is
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Re: Is the experience of road cycling comparable to what it's like to being a woman?

Postby Vorpal » 16 Jul 2019, 9:21am

Bmblbzzz wrote:The question rather assumes that "what it's like being a woman" is only one thing; and the same assumption for road cycling. I'm not a woman so will only say that seems unlikely, but the experience of road cycling is certainly not one uniform thing.

Neither is being a woman.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom