What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

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Si
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Postby Si » 20 Sep 2008, 2:32pm

mhara wrote:
Si wrote:
a) a good deal of comprehensive information about how we experience our daily lives - from us, not men.


Why discount the views of half the population? Surely, it would be appropriate to insert a "just" there? You seem to be shooting yourself in the foot somewhat by assuming that there is a male view and a female view and neither can understand the other...thus all women think the same? A little insulting to both sexes. There is no reason why a man cannot put forward a constructive opinion on the subject, indeed, assuming that intellegence is distributed evenly then half the men will be more intellegent than half the women :wink: Going further down this street, should your opinion, as a woman who does cycle, be taken into account, surely it is only those that don't cycle that we should ask for an opinion?

No, let's welcome the views and ideas of all rather than just discard half the population's input based soley on their sex - a bit of a Victorian atttude, eh? I'm sure that those who are going to act on the information provided will be able to sift out the wheat from the chaf.

Thus, I'd encourage everyone to air their views should they wish to, without the worry that you don't have a right to an opinion because you might be male, white, middle class, what ever.

Let's face it, like it or not, the majority of those in power are men. If you decide to exclude them from the discussion then you are doing the cause a disservice. It ain't right but it's the way the world is.


Calm down Si. :)

If the sentence you quote had been thus -
a) a good deal of comprehensive information about how we (as people with disabilities) experience our lives - from us, not able-bodied people

perhaps you will comprehend the intention behind the proposal?
Please don't go looking for slurs or insults when none are intended.

In my, almost always pleasant, experience of men they will give their point of view anyway and that's very much appreciated.
Chill, OK? :wink:


I'm chilled and appologise if it sounded as though I was having a go at you - wasn't my intention to sound all <Niel> HEAVY </Niel>, just making an observation and pointing out tht everyone's input was valid. F'rinstance, if we had a thread about why so few from ethnic minorities cycle (as we have in the past) then it'd be a very quiet thread if those of the country's ethnic majority didn't contribute!

BTW, I suggest adding "just" because a lot of the males on here have female partners who don't cycle - thus they have experience of the reasons why these partners have chosen not to cycle, or, indeed, experience of methods used to allow their partners to successfully experience the joys of cycling in the cases where their partners have chosen to take up cycling.

Let's face it, many (most?) cycling clubs are run by blokes. Cycling clubs are one way of getting newbies into cycling: gives them the opotunity to ride on roads in the company of those who (hopefully) know what they are doing. So, if you want to open up cycling to more women then you need to also include these crusty old club die-hards (moi ? :oops: ) in the mix and show them what they might do to make their clun runs more fun for new female riders wanting to learn about cycling, or, indeed, new riders of both sexes (or genders).

Dee Jay
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Postby Dee Jay » 20 Sep 2008, 6:28pm

My 2p:

I don't know what can be done to get women cycling but here are a few observations from a female perspective.

What started me cycling: I could no longer run because of an old injury and I need to keep fit AND I wanted us something physical as a family AND I wanted to get my children (9 and 11) cycling.

What keeps me cycling: the endorphins, the sense of achievement, increased fitness, the sociable aspect (I cycle with a family club).

What stops me cycling: the fact that I always have so much stuff (the children's sports/dancing/academic/shopping/ blah blah) to cart around over such distances ... it would make life quite difficult. I cannot state strongly enough how central to my NOT cycling this is.

A number of women have said to me that they don't cycle because of perceived dangers and also because of their lack of technical abilty and knowledge to fix anything which went wrong with their bikes. I am a 'feel the fear and do it anyway' sort of person and I have zero technical abilities. Not quite sure what I would do if something broke ... I'll let you know when this happens. (I shall probably phone the bike AA!!! - Is there such a thing?? :D )

I can kinda understand the hair/sweat issues especially if you work in a glam job.

Since I started cycling (January) I have got at least 3 other women into cycling/cycling more.

Maybe something else will occur to me ....
Dee

thirdcrank
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Postby thirdcrank » 20 Sep 2008, 6:43pm

http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=4997

The link is to the CTC equivalent of the AA/ RAC breakdown cover - no idea how good it is or whether you might as well save up the money and take a taxi in an emergency. (I've just noticed they don't do punctures, which might mean it's useless for a lot of people who seem worried about being unable to change a tyre.)

In the days when the CTC did a handbook, there used to be a list of members who had volunteered to provide emergency help for anybody stuck in their area*. I was on it for a few years and nobody ever rang. One day I was discussing it with my wife ( a non-cyclist) and she explained how concerned she was that somebody might ring for help when I was out on my bike. Our discussion was prompted by a CTC HQ check to see if my details were correct for a new edition of the handbook so I took that opportunity to pull out. I don't know how many people ever used the scheme or even if it still exists. A lot of people seem to carry a mobile and do the same as E.T. I suppose that nowadays, everybody is more reticent about speaking to strangers - what a world we live in.

* A note in the handbook said it was only for emergencies, not a puncture repair service, so that might not have been much use either.

Dee Jay
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Postby Dee Jay » 20 Sep 2008, 8:56pm

Thanks for the link, ThirdCrank; I think I probably agree with your thoughts about the taxi fare/E.T. (It has to be said that I am seldom out of range of walking distance of someone I know.) I wonder what the take-up is ....???

Further to lack of techy-know-how: our cycling-club leader is - I hope - still giving thought to running work-shops in our village as a number of women have expressed interest in learning how to do basic repairs. The dreaded puncture repair, tyre change or even - no laughing now - putting the chain back on when it comes off are all things I need to know how to deal with.
Dee

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Postby thirdcrank » 20 Sep 2008, 9:55pm

I'd not want to swing this away from the big social issues of of the 21C (I'm not sure if I really mean that :oops: ) but the puncture thing must be a huge obstacle for anybody who cannot deal with them. Without wanting to come across as the male chauvinst pig (retired pig in my case) who pontificates about what stops women cycling, I know that I would not willingly ride far on a bike if I knew I should have to walk if I punctured. That's because it's pretty much the state of affairs with my shopping bike.

A while ago there was a video - on youtube or similar - which covered everything in detail except the hard bit of getting the tyre back on when magic took over. It was linked from the CTC Newsnet. I criticised it on here and took some flak but I stand by what I said. I expect that by now there are plenty of other videos out there. It's really pretty easy once you overcome the fear of it.

We hear a lot about so-called 'girlie' things and I can well imagine that somebody with carefully manicured nails would not want to ruin them faffing with replacing a tyre. There is even a tyre lever made by VAR which imitates the correct way to manipulate a tyre back on (without conventional tyre levers, if that makes sense.) Perhaps the CTC would do better concentrating on disseminating the basics like this. And before I get even more flak, I'm not suggesting that CJ doesn't do a brilliant job already because he does, but he is one person with a potential group of learners possibly numbering millions.

I, for one, would never laugh at somebody brave enough to say, 'I do not know how to do this, please show me.' So long as they made at least an attempt to learn from the demonstration.

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Burscough Girl
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Postby Burscough Girl » 20 Sep 2008, 10:45pm

Where on earth do I start with this one??!!
I've often said that although I own a bike, and sometimes use it, I'm no cyclist, so perhaps I'm reasonably placed to remark on this thread.
Why don't I cycle more than the one and a half miles two or three times a week only in clement weather?
1. Cornwall is hilly and we live in a valley.
2. I didn't have a bike as a child, ( although I'm 50 something)
3. I'm scared of traffic
4. I'm not nor ever have been obsessed at keeping fit.
5. I really don't like feeling sweaty. (not even on a dance floor!)
6. I don't go in for "hair dos" but having long hair, a helmet doesn't go over my pony tail.(only an excuse for not wearing a helmet really)

Quite apart from all that, I strongly object to being judged by a strange race of people who think cycling is the be all and end all. We do not all think alike. We do not all get motivated by the same things. Why oh why does there have to be some especial girlie reason why I'm not cycling?

Meanwhile a similar question was posed today. Why are there so few male Primary school teachers?
Would somebody care to give a blanket bomb answer to that one? Perhaps men think it's not macho enough of a job. Or maybe the staff toilets have too many flowers , and schools smell of girlie perfume, and they would prefer them to smell of sweat!!!!

My rant's over with for now. Sorry.
Burscough Girl

thirdcrank
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Postby thirdcrank » 20 Sep 2008, 11:31pm

Burscough Girl wrote: Why are there so few male Primary school teachers?


It's a job that suits the mothers of young children.

(Before my computer bursts into flames, I am not saying this is desirable, right or proper, but it is the case that women's careers have historically been more often sacrificed to - or at least interrupted by - the demands of childcare than have men's and primary school teaching is a profession which fits in well with childcare.)

Incidentally, when I went to primary school in Leeds (late 1940's) single sex classes started at age seven. All the teachers in the school I attended from age 7 were men. I tend to think that that was something to do with finding jobs for men after the war. (See 'women as the reserve army of labour'.) We moved into the West Riding when I was nine and it was co-ed there and yes, all the teachers were women.

On reflection, I see I have answered a different question, i.e. why are there so many women....

dan_b
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Postby dan_b » 21 Sep 2008, 12:09am

Burscough Girl wrote:Quite apart from all that, I strongly object to being judged by a strange race of people who think cycling is the be all and end all.

Fair enough.

I'd say there's a difference in intent between evangelising cycling to non-cyclists or occasional cyclists because you think they'd enjoy it, and preaching at them because you think they're morally suspect for not cycling. But as the recipient it can be hard to see which is which. A difference that makes no difference ...
Burscough Girl wrote: [primary] schools smell of girlie perfume

Mine smelled of disinfectant most of the time, as I recall. Except anywhere near the hamster cage, which smelled of hamster

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Cunobelin
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Postby Cunobelin » 21 Sep 2008, 9:28am

Coffee wrote:
Cunobelin wrote:It is down to local level


I don't know how they do it, but Every time I visit St Ives in Cambridgeshire I see loads of women on bikes, and it is not uncommon to see groups on a Sunday morning of woen on decent bikes in club strip.

Equally in Edinburgh this week there were a lot of women on bicycles

I don't know ahatthey doe in these two areas but it seems to work!


Hey, I'm one of those women in St.Ives, do you cycle while you are here? Wear a 'Cunobelin' name tag and I'll ping my bell at you. :-)


I live in Portsmouth and visit my Mother two to three times a year usually at weekends.

Usually stay in the Travelodge at Fenstanton and used Brompton into St Ives, but with her lessening mobility we usually now need car as we always end up taking her some way.

It has certainly changed - as a kid (early 70's) I used to cycle out to the back of RAF Wyton to watch the planes, or down through the Thicket to Houghton Mill in the Summer. It is certainly a lot more built in then it was!


What is really nice though is that Richardsons is still there!

mhara

Postby mhara » 21 Sep 2008, 12:20pm

Dee Jay wrote:My 2p:...
What stops me cycling: the fact that I always have so much stuff (the children's sports/dancing/academic/shopping/ blah blah) to cart around over such distances ... it would make life quite difficult. I cannot state strongly enough how central to my NOT cycling this is.

A number of women have said to me that they don't cycle because of perceived dangers and also because of their lack of technical abilty and knowledge to fix anything which went wrong with their bikes. I am a 'feel the fear and do it anyway' sort of person and I have zero technical abilities. Not quite sure what I would do if something broke ... I'll let you know when this happens. (I shall probably phone the bike AA!!! - Is there such a thing?? :D )

I can kinda understand the hair/sweat issues especially if you work in a glam job.
....


IMHO your input is the best summary yet on this thread Dee Jay.
It echoes what I'm hearing on the doorsteps round Exeter when I'm out canvassing for TravelSmart (who have a congestion-busting, alternative transport promoting project going on at the moment).

So long as it's women who predominently get landed with the
* child-care,
* school-runs,
* care of disabled relatives,
* looking after elderly less mobile relatives,
* community voluntary work inclusive of providing transport...
* not to mention groc shopping,
* being a taxi for teenagers,
etc.
then a cycling-focused life isn't going to look possible to millions of women.
Though quite often they say they would like to cycle.
Hair-do's and lack of experience with minor repairs come a long second to this.

(and before Si has a go :) - I wrote 'predominantly', not 'solely')

And Hi Thirdcrank - IMO think it's a great pity that many more men don't become child-carers and infant and primary school teachers/LSA's etc.
Also that the world of work seems to think men don't deserve / need time off to to be with their children.
Last edited by mhara on 21 Sep 2008, 7:03pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Coffee
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Postby Coffee » 21 Sep 2008, 2:36pm

thirdcrank wrote:Coffee

If you can't recognise him from that mugshot, what use will a nametag be? :lol:

Cunobelin

As you were going to St Ives,
Did you meet a man with seven wives?

Could it be that polygamy is the key to getting more women cycling? :?: Or have I got the wrong St Ives? :?


*snigger* I hadn't thought of it like that, obviously money is tight when you have seven wives, hence the cycles instead, it's very very flat and easier to cycle around here! (There is a bit of disagreement over which St.Ives the poem is about....but the Cambridgeshire St.Ives used to have the big fairs, to sell all those cats in sacks! :)

Cunobelin Richardsons isn't owned by Mr Richardsons anymore, I think his son took over for a bit but it was sold and they kept the name, although I could be wrong....they have a few shops and are even online now! http://www.richardsonsonline.co.uk
I used to cycle to the crash barriers down Old Ramsey rd too, the Thicket path is still a nice traffic free trip. You'll soon be able to cycle along the guided bus path from St.Ives to Cambridge(old railway line and traffic free) bit safer than the A14 route hopefully. Maybe it'll get more people in general cycling.

....but I'm probably going off topic now :oops:

I'll count the male/female cyclist ratio next time I'm on the bike!

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Postby byegad » 21 Sep 2008, 4:30pm

thirdcrank wrote:edit....It seems crystal clear to me, therefore, that if you improve conditions for all cyclists, ...edit


That to me says it all. If we had more cyclists the safety for each rider is greater and more people would cycle.

A start would be the continental system of assuming a driver is guilty in a collision with a bike. The Waily Mail will go of on one but if drivers were going to be in trouble unless they could prove a cyclist's guilt we'd ALL get more room on the road.

PaulB
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Postby PaulB » 21 Sep 2008, 6:43pm

I may have missed it, but I did not see "Security for the bike" mentioned. It's OK riding to work but if there is nowhere to keep it out of the reach of theaves not many people will be willing to commute by bike.

The UK still has the snob culture - which applies to men and women - where you ride a bike because you can't afford a car. I have visited Zurich on several occassions and have been amazed and pleased to see many young women cycling around the city on all types of bikes. A recent trip to Montreux revealed the same thing. It's the UK mindset that cycling is "working class" that affects many people, both male and female. Couple that with the silly amount of traffic we have to deal with and our weather and cycling does not hold much attraction to the casual observer.

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Postby eileithyia » 22 Sep 2008, 8:09am

Hmmm I'd forgotten the p fairy. I always coped with punctures, then tyres became harder and harder to remove/put back on. I have seen two very strong blokes struggle to get my tyre back on, what hope have I?
I know of one lady cyclist who cannot cope with punctures and will only cycle a certain route to a certain cafe for fear of being unable to cope.

One reason (shock horror) I ride tubs on my all purpose bike. Easy to tear off and put back on. No struggling in poor lighting conditions to find the offending item in the tyre, and usually does not delay sufficiently to be late for work.

Back to the subject of ladies cycling;
Glorious weekend, after racing (several ladies riding but then they are the converted and not the right image of encouraging others), into Arnside for ice cream on the front, several cycling groups, all families, usually dad 2 kids (predominantly boys) and mum tagging along.

So I would say many take up cycling once their families are up and cycling (can't beat em so have to join em).

The beautiful ladies of Zurich..... Well there we go cycling as a "normal" activity. Normalise it and more will take it up because they see others doing it. In this country it is not a normal activity/means of getting from a to b, it is done by odd looking people in lycra who do amazing speeds and feats or else it is the geeky bloke down the road who can't afford a car and cycles to work.

Of course child care, carrying kids kit, out of school activities etc all come into the mix, but by the time many women are indulging in these activites they are already well and truly non-cyclists.

I still think it comes down to making it a normal activity when our kids are younger, as Burscough Girl said she never had a bike as a child, if kids do not have bikes how can they be encouraged to cycle as they get older?

Of all the women I work with virtually none of my colleagues encourage their kids in cycling related activites, though plenty of other sports are indulged in, and only one child that I know of cycles to his egg collection job.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

mhara

Postby mhara » 22 Sep 2008, 8:50am

Post removed.
Apologies to PaulB for offending him. Si has PM'd me and I take his point.
Last edited by mhara on 25 Sep 2008, 9:44pm, edited 1 time in total.