What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Tony
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby Tony » 22 Mar 2009, 12:20am

My partner works in a bike shop. I am encouraging her to expand her cyclin, and she contacted meabout the "belles" campaign.
The politest word she used was "patronisibg"

Flinders
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby Flinders » 22 Mar 2009, 9:45am

The 'women aren't strong enough to maintain a bike' argument is, I'm sorry, pants.

Women drive, but many of us (and some men, too) would struggle to change a wheel on a car, as the automatic tools used by garages to tighten wheel nuts make undoing them much more difficult than it used to be. S0- we keep an extension bar in the boot for the wheel-nut tool. You work around what you can do. It isn't to do with being female. There are plenty of females who are stronger than a lot of males, why aren't they cycling? Getting back cycling after a long break has strengthened my hands anyway......

I have cycled on and off for twenty five years, including commuting in London for about seven years, and have never yet (touch wood) had to remove a tyre whilst out on the road. I've never had a problem when doing it at home. I am female, 5' tall, have small hands,and am not particularly butch, by the way. I maintain my bike myself, and if there is ever anything I'm not sure I can deal with, I take it to my LBS (just like I can change fuses and bulbs on my car lights, but for the brakes I take my car to a garage for servicing).

The narrow high-pressure tyres I have now are certainly harder to inflate than my old wider ones, but even puny little me can do it, though I have to jump up and down a bit..... :wink: However, if I couldn't, I'd use the CO2 cylinders. There are alternatives.

You wouldn't say about a weedy 15-year-old male that he couldn't be expected to cycle as he wasn't strong enough to use a tyre-lever. :roll:

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meic
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby meic » 26 Apr 2009, 9:16pm

The 'women aren't strong enough to maintain a bike' argument is, I'm sorry, pants.

It was not an argument, it is part of an observation.

As no-one seems to know the real answer it seemed wothwhile to suggest a possibility from a real life experience.
It could well be wrong, totally wrong.
I am not sure that it needs to be dismissed by a blanket dismal as "pants" because it doesnt apply to you personally. Especially as you ARE a cyclist.

Also it was not an absolute "Women arent strong enough"
It was a "less women are strong so less women persist with cycling because of the hassle"
Yma o Hyd

George Riches
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby George Riches » 27 Apr 2009, 9:56am

Being patronised doesn't help.

Also you need to be pretty assertive to survive as a cyclist in Britain. Males are more aggressive than females and people do use aggression to bolster their assertiveness. In fact some people seem to have difficulties in distinguishing aggression from assertion.

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EdinburghFixed
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby EdinburghFixed » 27 Apr 2009, 11:24am

Without delving too deeply into the Bike Belles website, I clicked on the "what to wear" page... fearing that I would see the usual list of "essentials" (helmet, dustbin-man suit, luminous bag cover, blah blah) and was enormously encouraged.

It says "The golden rule here is to wear what you like and feel comfortable in." NOWHERE does it suggest that any specialist gear is necessary.

Maybe women do find it patronising to be told that it is OK to cycle in heels. But the thing is, there will be some women out there who don't want to ride because they'd need to find some way to carry another pair of shoes (on top of everything else).

In fact I'm amazed by the absence of references to the extreme danger of cycling anywhere on the Bike Belles site. All the photos are of normal looking people having a good time doing something... normal :)

The closest it gets to throwing it all away is under "essential accessories" where it says helmets can help, if you are unlucky enough to come off and unlucky enough to land on your head. However by not dwelling on this remote possibility (in fact the whole site gives the idea that you might come off about as little weight as it deserves!) it does an OK job of side-stepping the Culture of Fear...

Making it seem normal, safe, easy, and accessible is surely half the battle. Since the barriers to women cycling are mainly illusory, many would take it up if they had a better understanding (IMO, anyway!)

(It also says under 'tips' - "avoid cycling in the gutter and leave about a metre or so between you and the kerb". I loved them straight away after reading that!)

Ru88ell
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby Ru88ell » 18 May 2009, 10:41am

Saturday was the third running of the Stourbridge to Stratford upon Avon ladies cycling challenge that my Stourbug group runs and has been mentioned in this topic. In 2007 we had 33 ladies, in 2008 up one to 34. This year we had 77 ladies new to cycling, 18 returnees, and some blokes for assistance. The youngest of the ladies was 19 and the oldest 80.

Ladies of all ages, shapes and sizes. Most of them unable to cycle 6 miles in January, but cycling between 45 and 58 miles on the day culminating in a 100+ critical mass thingy through the streets of Stratford.

I'm more than happy to offer consultancy. :D

Some pics here

...and here

...and a video

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Coffee
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby Coffee » 18 May 2009, 11:54am

Ru88ell wrote:Saturday was the third running of the Stourbridge to Stratford upon Avon ladies cycling challenge that my Stourbug group runs and has been mentioned in this topic. In 2007 we had 33 ladies, in 2008 up one to 34. This year we had 77 ladies new to cycling, 18 returnees, and some blokes for assistance. The youngest of the ladies was 19 and the oldest 80.

Ladies of all ages, shapes and sizes. Most of them unable to cycle 6 miles in January, but cycling between 45 and 58 miles on the day culminating in a 100+ critical mass thingy through the streets of Stratford.

I'm more than happy to offer consultancy. :D

Some pics here

...and here

...and a video


They don't seem overly bothered about helmet hair and being sweaty do they? :)
Rule 63

Cycle Lanes. These are marked by a white VAN (which may be broken) along the carriageway (see Rule 140). Keep within the lane when practicable, watch out for Anna Meares elbows.

SP
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby SP » 9 Jun 2009, 10:13am

Hello All,

For all the comments regarding hair, sweaty, etc, I cannot imagine that women in Holland have significantly different concerns regarding these issues. My conversations with women regarding cycling almost always bring up safety as an issue - something to which men tend perhaps to be a little more cavalier?

What is needed, in my opinion, is to change the behaviour of traffic on roads where most people might walk or cycle, ie those roads where people live, shop, work and send their children to school. The overwhelming evidence is that where this is done by reducing the baseline traffic speed from 30mph to 20mph there is a massive reduction (60%-70%) in child casualties. This reflects the inherently safer nature of traffic at this speed.

The government is currently consulting on the possibility of changing the basic urban speed limit to 20mph, with appropriate signed exceptions.

Now to my pet subject. I have a petition on the No 10 Downing street web site which is as follows:

‘We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Restore the
balance between traffic and people by making 20mph the default
speed limit in towns to remove traffic threats to pedestrians
and cyclists, children and the elderly.’

The direct link is:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Rebalance/

I have mentioned this elsewhere on this forum under 'Restore the Balance'. (Well, this is a campaingning section!) I have already had an undertaking from 'Living Streets', the pedestrians organisation, to promote this and the more that individuals support this, the more likely that cycling might be seen as reasonable safe transport for everyday, as Chris Juden keeps trying to encourage.

No apologies - I really do think that the time may be right to encourage a fundamental change in the nature of traffic in our towns etc.

Please sign up and encourage others to do so. Thank you.

Steve

whoops
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby whoops » 9 Jun 2009, 2:16pm

The only people who are keen on getting women on bikes are those with vested interests and profits in mind.! Women who want to cycle, will. And good luck to them. Charities don't seem to have much trouble getting women to take up the challenge, whether it's a sponsored cycle ride, run, or even a sack race. Why all the focus on cycling to work? As for the young and trendy, if they want to ride a bike they will, just go to a of fairly low traffic village on a nice Sunday afternoon and you'll see young and older mums with their families, and young women enjoying cycling, and when they have finished riding will return HOME to freshen up. Leave them alone! Let them do their own thing. There is also another angle to all this of course? Just think about it Gents!


brynpoeth
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby brynpoeth » 21 Jan 2018, 2:23pm

+1, -1 for bbc language, someone is described as a "former non-cyclist", reminds me of a professional described as a "former amateur" in Cycling Weakly

Actually cycling was the most important influence in female emancipation, it was the first (?) chance they got to wear trousers
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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 21 Jan 2018, 3:57pm

Tony wrote:My partner works in a bike shop. I am encouraging her to expand her cyclin, and she contacted meabout the "belles" campaign.
The politest word she used was "patronisibg"


Belles is OK. They were hardly likely to call it Munters, were they?
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Pete Owens
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby Pete Owens » 22 Jan 2018, 12:18am

This isn't just a cycle thing - you will get similar figures for participation in just about any physical activity.

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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby Vorpal » 22 Jan 2018, 6:55am

Pete Owens wrote:This isn't just a cycle thing - you will get similar figures for participation in just about any physical activity.

Similar? I don't think so. Overall about 40.5% of men and 31.9% of women particpate in sport of some kind*. There are, of course sports where the numbers of women participating are much, much lower than the numbers of men. But physical activity, in general, does not have such a great difference.


* https://www.sportengland.org/research/u ... and-women/
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thirdcrank
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Re: What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

Postby thirdcrank » 22 Jan 2018, 8:22am

The BBC piece in my recent link above has no reference to CyclingUK at all.

I've not looked at the quoted data in any detail but a decade ago when this thread began, it was said that male riders outnumbered women 3:1 and they are now saying 2:1. If those estimates are comparable, rather than the typical think-of-a-number headlines, then that's a remarkable change in such a short time, although it might simply mean fewer men riding. :?