What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15184
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Postby Si » 28 Sep 2008, 5:25pm

I don't deny that I personally think it would be great if more women did cycle, but that wouldn't justify my saying that it was a problem that so few of us do chose to.


It is a problem that so few people of both sexes cycle. If more did then IMHO our society would be a nicer place to live: less obseity and drains on the health service, less polution, less congestion, safer streets, cleaner and more sociable streets, etc etc.

Within cycling certain groups are under-represented. We might suppose that white straight males are genetically better disposed to cycle. What's that you say? "Rubbish"?, yes, I quite agree, almost any able bodied, and many less-able can cycle perfecty well. So why does this one group make up so much of our low number of cyclists - we need more cyclists and so we need to empower everyone, not just WSMs, with both the ability to cycle and the appriciation of the benefits that it would offer if they did.

I'm guessing that "female" is often identified as the biggest group that has lower cycling numbers, thus tackling this group would increase numbers most dramatically.

Rider: I fully admit that there is no such thing as the typical female, male, etc and that one solution won't work for all (unless you are Harry Seldon) but we have to start with macro solutions and hope that fit is just about good enough to cover a large part of the target group.

Perhaps, mhara, you would rather the question was: "what can we do to give more women the oppotunity to understand and experience cycling?" as this does not have the overtones of forcing them into it?

thirdcrank
Posts: 30833
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Postby thirdcrank » 28 Sep 2008, 7:18pm

Cunobelin wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:Do they use Hammerite on those railings, I wonder?


Possibly - it comes in Gold.......

Image


Look closely and the answer to my question is on the tin, or rather, not on the tin. It does not say, 'By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen...' :cry:

They will soon have the next best thing 'By appointment to Thirdcrank, purveyors of paints for fences, hack bikes and ancient Landrovers.' :wink:

AlanD
Posts: 1669
Joined: 27 Mar 2008, 1:29pm
Location: South Oxfordshire

Postby AlanD » 28 Sep 2008, 8:44pm

Please excuse me if my thinking is a little off kilter this evening, but my Girlfriend has served me the most wonderful dinner, washed down with a glass of wine on top of a bottle of beer. :D
Anyway, we took advantage of this sunny day to go out for a ride and this very question has been on my mind recently. I am an enthusiastic cyclist, she is not and I asked her this very question, to which she replied, "Women don't have the time." Now thinking about this myself I have observed that there is no shortage of ladies that go jogging, so I don't think that doing it for sports sake is the issue. However, having seen another male cyclist trying to explain gears to his lady in tow, I think that we may be onto something here. Our outward expression of pursuing a sport or recreation requires some understanding of what lies between our muscles and the tarmac. As I ride along, I must learn to grit my teeth and develop patience as I see my lady struggle with the things that are second nature to me. Perhaps the ladies are less mechanically minded as the men are? If the man's bike is not working exactly right, he should know what to do about it; but how many ladies are not 'in tune' with the sound that is being made and will probably cry, "it does'nt work so I wont bother" or some such? Even today, I experienced a frustrated scream that made me question my priorities. Perhaps we have unwittingly turned cycling into a 'closed male group' with our competitiveness and our tech speak.
If any person (perhaps a ladies perspective would be better) can share insight into how I can explain how to use gears, "What do you mean, 'change up' there's nothing there!" then please please, you can save much gnashing of teeth and frustrated outbursts.

Alan

User avatar
meic
Posts: 19355
Joined: 1 Feb 2007, 9:37pm
Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Postby meic » 29 Sep 2008, 12:07am

Maybee a lot of women dont feel like joining local cycle groups because they are so male dominated and then are less likely to continue cycling as they lack the benefits of such a group.
In the various cycling activities that I attend, I do see a greater proportion of women in the less strenuous events and the less strenuos events are much rarer.
Yma o Hyd

mhara

Postby mhara » 29 Sep 2008, 4:39am

Si wrote:
Mhara wrote:I don't deny that I personally think it would be great if more women did cycle, but that wouldn't justify my saying that it was a problem that so few of us do chose to.

....
I'm guessing that "female" is often identified as the biggest group that has lower cycling numbers, thus tackling this group would increase numbers most dramatically.

Rider: I fully admit that there is no such thing as the typical female, male, etc and that one solution won't work for all ... but we have to start with macro solutions and hope that fit is just about good enough to cover a large part of the target group.


Hi Si,
At a macro solutions level
1. Women have less disposable income than men.
Even women in full-time employment get paid 17% less than men in full time employment.
Women in part-time employment get paid 36% less.
A pair of trainers for jogging/running costs far less than outlay on cycling.

2. Women have less leisure time than men.
We do more housework, more cooking, more child-care, more family support and liaison, e.g. parents/close relations,
and more voluntary work - don't take my word for it check the official stats.
And we also enjoy spending time with our female friends, but hardly ever choose to do this on bicycles because of the macro solutions levels 1, 3 and 4.

3. The cost of outlay on cycling can't be offset by using the bicycle for transport
and therefore reducing costs of running a car or using other transport

This is because of macro level 2, where transport of children, elderly parents, shopping, drycleaning, etc is most quickly and flexibly (i.e. fitted round work) done by car.

4. Women are far less likely to have had bicycles as children,
and if they did, to have been encouraged to learn how to maintain them
.
To women who have never ridden cycling looks expensive, bike maintenance feels daunting (and dirty) and hardly anyone they know cycles - female or male. Where are the role models?

And then ... factor in the traffic fears. :?

The point I'm building up to?
It's that the CTC is about cycling,
not about sorting out the gender inequalities that women and men experience vis a vis each other.
Can you imagine the membership uproar if the CTC suddenly started to tackle the macro solution levels 1 to 4 above?
Newsflash! CTC declares war on unequal pay. :o

Si wrote:Perhaps, mhara, you would rather the question was: "what can we do to give more women the oppotunity to understand and experience cycling?" as this does not have the overtones of forcing them into it?
I would rather the CTC gave everyone the opportunity to understand and experience cycling.
The CTC should stick to its core purpose.

However, I don't think it goes beyond the core purpose for the CTC to expect its women and men members to behave pleasantly towards each other.
That assumes that all women and all men do understand what the opposite gender finds pleasant or unpleasant - which is where Moderators can have a role. :wink:

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15184
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Postby Si » 29 Sep 2008, 9:30am

Seems to me that if the CTC's aim i to get everyone ycling and that there are more barriers to one group than another then it is reasonable to look at those barriers.

mhara

Postby mhara » 29 Sep 2008, 12:51pm

Si wrote:Seems to me that if the CTC's aim i to get everyone ycling and that there are more barriers to one group than another then it is reasonable to look at those barriers.


On that premise, reasonable indeed. :lol:
So -
when does looking at barriers reach the point where informed action can start?
what will the doing consist of?
Rhetorical questions :) , because, as Thirdcrank says, CTC don't reply.

IMHO plenty of Forum members, e.g. Dee Jay are already being very pro-active and encouraging re getting others to cycle.

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15184
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Postby Si » 29 Sep 2008, 1:07pm

Rhetorical questions , because, as Thirdcrank says, CTC don't reply.


Have you asked them? If you are expecting CTC policy to be outlined in this thread then I shall bore everyone by repeating that these message boards are not an official line of communication. You may get info from the CTC via them but if you really do want some specific info then do not rely on the message boards: ask either someone at head office or your councillor.

However, it was my impression that the CTC were asking us for ideas (using the recent study as a point of departure) so that they could decide upon what action to take.

User avatar
bikely-challenged
Posts: 159
Joined: 16 Aug 2008, 12:46pm
Location: Argyll & Bute

Postby bikely-challenged » 29 Sep 2008, 1:36pm

Alan D wrote:If any person (perhaps a ladies perspective would be better) can share insight into how I can explain how to use gears, "What do you mean, 'change up' there's nothing there!" then please please, you can save much gnashing of teeth and frustrated outbursts.

Alan


LOL, your girlfriend sounds like me. When my husband tries to explain something techy to me, my mind goes blank. Partly because I know that if I don't get it he'll get annoyed and frustrated and it'll end in showing-off and tears.

I usually end up working these things out by reading the instructions and then trying to do it myself and getting it wrong a few times.

Perhaps you make it sound more complicated than it is, judging by her comment quoted above.

I remember my old driving instructor explaining to me the workings of the clutch with two old fag packets, techy talk would have meant nothing to me. KEEP IT SIMPLE!
-----------------------------------------------------------
DISCLAIMER: The above constitutes my personal opinion only on any given subject. Other opinions are available.

Kirst
Posts: 375
Joined: 16 Nov 2007, 7:38pm
Location: Edinburgh

Postby Kirst » 29 Sep 2008, 1:47pm

Alan D wrote:If the man's bike is not working exactly right, he should know what to do about it;


Does having a Y chromosome automatically confer mechanical knowledge, then?
I can handle bars and cycle paths but I can't handle cars and psychopaths

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/notinmyname

kwackers
Posts: 15458
Joined: 4 Jun 2008, 9:29pm
Location: Warrington

Postby kwackers » 29 Sep 2008, 2:39pm

Kirst wrote:Does having a Y chromosome automatically confer mechanical knowledge, then?


Nope, but it does make us more anal.

In my experience men don't know when to stop and will fiddle/tinker with something forever, women on the other hand seem much happier to stop when something is good enough and most seem to have no desire to get their hands dirty seeming happy enough with a superficial explanation of how something works.

P.S. I did try with my daughter, as a child I loved taking things to bits to see what made them tick, but she just wasn't interested...

dan_b
Posts: 249
Joined: 12 Sep 2008, 2:46pm

Postby dan_b » 29 Sep 2008, 3:26pm

bikely-challenged wrote:LOL, your girlfriend sounds like me. When my husband tries to explain something techy to me, my mind goes blank. Partly because I know that if I don't get it he'll get annoyed and frustrated and it'll end in showing-off and tears.

I usually end up working these things out by reading the instructions and then trying to do it myself and getting it wrong a few times.

Chances are that's how he worked it out in the first place anyway. I can't speak for all men but certainly I'm no more likely to ask someone to explain techy stuff to me than I am to ask them for directions. And it's not because I don't want to know (I work in tech, of course I want to know) it's because asking people is chronically inefficient.

highrider
Posts: 4
Joined: 29 Sep 2008, 4:47pm

Postby highrider » 29 Sep 2008, 5:31pm

I have spent too much time reading all these threads and felt I'd like to add something as a female, middle aged cyclist, but definitely not glamourous.

I have cycled all my life and I have a very assertive style and yes, I have had some very worrying moments on my bike involving close shaves. It has not put me off but I have heard the "it's too dangerous" argument from my non-cycling friends. I can't think of a counter to this to encourage them. I have even tried looked at the cycling accident figures on various web sites but these are rather crude and don't include gender or miles travelled. So I wouldn't feel able to reassure them or indeed warn them off!

On another point, no-one has mentioned encouraging the use of electric assist bikes by "non" cyclists. I took my nano fitted Brompton to the Bike Blenheim Palace event yesterday and had a great time, along with LOTS of others, including many women. I went round the whole course in top gear with no sweat at all. Several people asked about the bike. And you should have seen the looks of amazement on their faces when I showed them what it could do. After having a go two women said they wanted one! One of the big reasons for anyone not cycling as a normal everyday thing is our geography. With an electric assist I get the benefits of enjoying a ride to the shops (or wherever) and back up a huge hill home without getting sweaty, just nice and warm. If we are keen to encourage others who are not fit enough or think they are not fit enough to enjoy cycling then even the purists should give them serious consideration. I have two and I cycle far more regularly, quicker and further because of them. :P

User avatar
Cunobelin
Posts: 10798
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

Postby Cunobelin » 29 Sep 2008, 5:35pm

thirdcrank wrote:
Cunobelin wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:Do they use Hammerite on those railings, I wonder?


Possibly - it comes in Gold.......

Image


Look closely and the answer to my question is on the tin, or rather, not on the tin. It does not say, 'By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen...' :cry:

They will soon have the next best thing 'By appointment to Thirdcrank, purveyors of paints for fences, hack bikes and ancient Landrovers.' :wink:


The coat of arms could be on the back!

thirdcrank
Posts: 30833
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Postby thirdcrank » 29 Sep 2008, 5:39pm

Cunobelin

At the risk of being banished forever for going off at a tangent - not on the back of my tin. (Are you creating a diversion from an electric bike post?)