What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

MTB rider

Postby MTB rider » 30 Sep 2008, 7:24pm

Mountain biking has some rad girl bikers. Go to Canada and the ratio is almost 50:50. Maybe we're doing something wrong in the UK, but the scene is getting better. I've notice that you see more girls riding when you're out on the trails compared to two or three years ago. There are top (I mean World Champions) Team GB girl riders out there - Rachel Atherthon being one. Bike companies are doing their best to get into this undiscovered market, companies like Specialised, Transition, Norco are coming up with some great girly-specific rigs. It's getting better - certainly on the mountain biking front.

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Cunobelin
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Postby Cunobelin » 30 Sep 2008, 7:42pm

thirdcrank wrote: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?)



Electric bike - I technically own three, but none are hammerited!

eileithyia
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Postby eileithyia » 3 Oct 2008, 5:57pm

I don't believe us girlies are non techy minded, just generally brought up to believe we are (and alas it stil goes on).
I frequently spent weekends watching/helping with my dad's diy projects. I also learnt at an early age to dressmake, which involved technical stuff like putting together a pattern.
I never rode a geared bike until I was 18 and was frequently told "stick it in that gear and it will be ok" But I was too inquisitive and constantly wanted to know why, in order to learn for next time. As I did not drive at the time it was not as if I could relate it to 1st gear on a car etc. But for a girlie who drives that might be one way of tryng to teach gear workings.
My first boyfriend was actually quite good at teaching me how the bike worked, and we spent our evenings one winter, stripping down the two bikes/cleaning and regreasing etc. (knew how to treat a girl... :lol: ).
However he was totally incapable of explaining an SLR camera to me, whereas someone else managed it. So in many cases it might the teacher not the student.

Have seen plenty of other "girlies" who clearly believe they are not capable of learning techy stuff, you can actually see their brain switch off.

Mind you there maybe another reason....
We were delayed from starting our clubrun by a blonde cycling girlfriend of one of the members once. She turned all girlie as she stated she had actually had her puncture since Wednesday and Mark had not repaired it for her!!!!! My comment to another member was perhaps she should have got on and repaired it herself. At which point he agreed that I would have done so but perhaps that was why I was single and she was not!!!!!!!

Thru the 80's I regularly attended Birthday rides and it was clear some of the blokes quickly ceased conversations when they realised my techy and touring knowledge matched or surpassed theirs.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

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bikely-challenged
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Postby bikely-challenged » 3 Oct 2008, 6:49pm

eileithyia wrote:Have seen plenty of other "girlies" who clearly believe they are not capable of learning techy stuff, you can actually see their brain switch off.


Some believe they're incapable and some pretend to be incapable because they don't want to do it. What's the point of having a Man around the house if you have to do your own fixing? (NB, this is just my opinion).

On the subject of turning Men off with your techy knowledge, I once had a boyfriend who was delighted when he heard I played Chess ("..I've never had a gf who could play chess!!"). He played me twice and I beat him both times and he never wanted to play again.

Generalisations don't apply to every individual, but they become generalisations because there is a lot of truth to them IMHO
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DISCLAIMER: The above constitutes my personal opinion only on any given subject. Other opinions are available.

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Postby kwackers » 3 Oct 2008, 7:44pm

eileithyia wrote:Have seen plenty of other "girlies" who clearly believe they are not capable of learning techy stuff, you can actually see their brain switch off.


In my limited experience, most women just aren't interested. I know plenty of women that easily have the nounce to understand some pretty technical stuff, but they're just not interested. My partner for instance is interested in a lot of what I do, but her eyelids start to droop when I get carried away on the technicalities.

Men and women don't think in the same way, why do we insist on claiming there's something wrong when either side doesn't show the same interest in a subject?

I'm a big believer in nature THEN nurture. Both sexes are born with a predisposition towards a particular type of behaviour or interests, after that either can be taught to behave in a 'out of character' manner but why go out of your way to change behaviour in what is essentially a symbiotic relationship?

If my daughter had shown interest in what I did in my workshop I'd have been made up and gone out of my way to explain what I was doing - she didn't and I didn't push it. To be fair my son wasn't that interested either...

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Postby meic » 3 Oct 2008, 7:46pm

People often drift off when I start talking about technical things, I think they are just bored or think I am wrong but dont want to upset me.

The question I would ask is

Is there anything about our structures or attitude that makes it more unpleasant or impractical for females than males to cycle?

I have taken my baby in the trailer on some club runs, I had to think and choose which ones were suitable.
Could I pull the trailer quickly enough to avoid being a liability?
Would I be able to attend to the babies needs without being a burden on the group?

Of course, the group were fully supportive and appreciative of having a cute little girl come along but what if she had played up?
These are ideas which could affect my decision to cycle or not?
Yma o Hyd

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Postby eileithyia » 4 Oct 2008, 8:26am

I tend to believe we all have talents/skills and not necessarily ones that belong to specific genders, but then that is where nurture comes in. Current bf is always surprised when I admit I do not know something technical as he expects me to be able to do it.
I have seen many females who have clearly learnt to look daft and flutter their eyelashes for assistance.


I can relate to the chess experience having beaten ex up a couple of hills early in our marriage, I had to live with grumpy ole git for the next few days and my life was hell!!!!!
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

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Postby eileithyia » 5 Oct 2008, 4:44pm

Getting back on track, Phil says;

1. Bad bike shop attitude.
2. Being sold unsuitable bike (and even blokes get that sort of service)
3. Using unsuitable clothing ie jeans
4. Bike not fitting properly
5. Being encouraged out with bf, but bf then rides several yards (or more) ahead thus disheartening female and (she ) thinking he won't be enjoying it, also remember they were so supposed going out together, so why doesn't he drop macho image and actually ride with her. He can do the macho riding at speed at other times!
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

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Postby thirdcrank » 5 Oct 2008, 5:08pm

1 through 4 (as the Americans apparently say) could and often does happen to anybody.

One solution to 5 is a tandem. (With that outlay, it probably signals commitment as well, although somebody did post on here that he had shelled out £700 on a music centre to just get a chance to ask for a date with the sales person in Currys.)

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Postby jan19 » 5 Oct 2008, 6:43pm

We went out this afternoon to our local Evans, to get a new rack bag. Last time we went to this shop, they had a small women's bike section - I tried a couple in the shop but in the end they had to order one in for me.

Today they had ONE woman specific bike, (a fairly chunky hybrid) although a few of the mountain bikes weren't particuarly gender specific.

The men's bikes on show were probably in excess of 100.

And they wonder why women don't cycle - we're not wanted it seems!

Jan

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Postby kwackers » 5 Oct 2008, 6:58pm

jan19 wrote:We went out this afternoon to our local Evans, to get a new rack bag. Last time we went to this shop, they had a small women's bike section - I tried a couple in the shop but in the end they had to order one in for me.

Today they had ONE woman specific bike, (a fairly chunky hybrid) although a few of the mountain bikes weren't particuarly gender specific.

The men's bikes on show were probably in excess of 100.

And they wonder why women don't cycle - we're not wanted it seems!

Jan



Chicken and egg, if women bought lots of bikes they'd stock more...

How many women have a bicycle, how many have more than one? I have three and I suspect that's low for most on this forum.

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Postby Brian123 » 5 Oct 2008, 8:07pm

Up until 10 days ago I used to cycle the 2 mile commute to work 3 times a week. Then a car reversing out of his drive, nearly hit me but luckily didnt', but totally crushed my bike. The next day he completely denied doing it. I have had a lot of stress, getting this sorted through the police.

The main factor is though, I do not cycle to work anymore, it is not worth the risk. Is this a woman thing? Do men recover from these things more easily than women? I have two kids and I cannot get over what could have happened.

To encourage more women it has to be safer on the road. I get bored with all the technical stuff as well, but all the technical knowledge in the world is not going to stop an idiot knocking me off my bike.

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Postby kwackers » 5 Oct 2008, 8:20pm

Brian123 wrote:Up until 10 days ago I used to cycle the 2 mile commute to work 3 times a week. Then a car reversing out of his drive, nearly hit me but luckily didnt', but totally crushed my bike. The next day he completely denied doing it. I have had a lot of stress, getting this sorted through the police.

The main factor is though, I do not cycle to work anymore, it is not worth the risk. Is this a woman thing? Do men recover from these things more easily than women? I have two kids and I cannot get over what could have happened.

To encourage more women it has to be safer on the road. I get bored with all the technical stuff as well, but all the technical knowledge in the world is not going to stop an idiot knocking me off my bike.


I don't know if men recover faster from these sorts of things than women.
I got knocked off on a roundabout once and simply got back on, I think it helps to carry on. Certainly wouldn't want to be deprived of doing something I enjoyed just because of some idiot.

Life is full of risks, cycling is actually quite safe and the more you do it the safer you tend to feel. If you decide not to ride a bike any more then you're never going to feel safe on one again...

It's good that you weren't injured, once your bike is replaced I'd start with a few small rides just to get your confidence back. Hopefully you'll be commuting again in no time.

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Postby bikely-challenged » 5 Oct 2008, 9:34pm

kwackers wrote:
Chicken and egg, if women bought lots of bikes they'd stock more...



But how can a Women buy a bike if they only have 1 in the store? I don't expect a tiny independent LBS to stock a range of Ladies bikes, but Evans? I think that's quite shocking! It took me weeks to find a bike shop where I could actually sit on a bike and try it for size. True, I live in the middle of nowhere, but if I had a local Evans I'd expect more than 1 ladies bike on the floor.

On the subject of crashing, I do think this kind of thing rattles more Women than Men. I believe that Women are usually more risk averse than Men and more conscious of their own safety.

An American Women's Cycling web site had an article written by a Female cycling instructor. She said Women beginners nearly always asked about crashing/falling off ("does it hurt?") etc. She said Men never asked these things.

Brian123, If you really don't want to cycle anymore, then that's fine, but if you would like to cycle again you should. Feel the fear and do it anyway, to use a well-worn phrase. Sorry you had such a traumatic experience, I hope you feel better soon. You could try a very short trip somewhere quiet and see how you feel.
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Postby jan19 » 5 Oct 2008, 9:37pm

"How many women have a bicycle, how many have more than one? I have three and I suspect that's low for most on this forum."

Indeed, Malcolm has three. His pride and joy is a Ridgeback Panorama Tourer which he bought to do such jaunts as the C2C ( where it performed perfectly). He also has a road bike (a Carrera from Halfords which has served him well for more than 10 years) and a Claud Butler which was his original tourer (it wasn't up to the job) but acts as a sturdy alternative for the road bike during the winter.

I have one bike - a Specialized Globe Sport (urban hybrid) which I use for commuting but which is proving to be fairly useless at anything even gently off-road. It took a lot of research for me to get this bike (OK, I'm very short and I'm something of a hard case) but I did the research and found it. I've since found one other which might have done (Ridgeback Velocity).

My point is, if you are a man you are spoilt for choice. If you are a woman, unless you are prepared to put the effort in yourself, you get no support. Can anyone suggest to me the female specific tourer equivilent to the Panorama (£899) because I've yet to find one. Unless of course you go to the likes of Thorn and get one especially made but that's just a dream for most people.

Yes, its chicken and egg. But any woman going into Evans today would think cycling was just for men...


Jan