What can we do to encourage more women to cycle?

kwackers
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Postby kwackers » 5 Oct 2008, 9:48pm

bikely-challenged wrote:
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


As I said...

However I'm curious (having never shopped for a womans bike) what actually constitutes one? Looking back at pictures I have of female friends on their bikes they'll all look like standard 'male' bikes. I'm assuming in my ignorance that a 'womans' bike has the lowered crossbar?
Do women still want a bike with a lowered crossbar? Is that sort of dignity aid still required?
Funnily enough I gave an old lowered crossbar bike away on freecycle, it was wanted by a bloke with a dodgy leg who reckoned he couldn't get his leg over a normal one.

I believe that Women are usually more risk averse than Men and more conscious of their own safety.


I find women very happy to ride on the back of a motorcycle, on the other hand blokes very rarely are. (I hate being on the back).
Whether that's a safety thing or a control issue I'm not sure. Blokes definitely like having control...

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jan19
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Postby jan19 » 5 Oct 2008, 10:06pm

"However I'm curious (having never shopped for a womans bike) what actually constitutes one? Looking back at pictures I have of female friends on their bikes they'll all look like standard 'male' bikes. I'm assuming in my ignorance that a 'womans' bike has the lowered crossbar?
Do women still want a bike with a lowered crossbar? Is that sort of dignity aid still required?"

If you are Nicole Cooke, maybe you are not concerned. However if you read Evans' own booklets, they tell you men's and women's bikes vary because in the main, men and women are built in a different way. Lots of technical stuff about how leg and body length ratios differ so that women's and men's bikes are designed completely differently, also stuff on how women's smaller hands mean that brakes have to be closer together etc.
I'm just saying that in May they had a whole section with bikes designed just for women (maybe 20 bikes) but today they had just one.

And yes, for me, the lowered crossbar is a NECESSITY!. I'd never consider a bike without one. I'm not concerned about "dignity" I just need to be able to get on the bike.

even the women's bike today wasn't a step-through.

Jan

thirdcrank
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Postby thirdcrank » 5 Oct 2008, 10:50pm

Perhaps we could read all sorts into the difference in stock between May and October (might even have written a song if it had been September :wink: ) Have they sold a lot of women specific stock so contradicting the basis of this thread? Have they had a clearance sale because of the basis of this thread? Do they stereotype women as fair-weather cyclists who only want bikes for the summer? I'll guess it's something to do with the model year.

Although a lot of women cyclists who might be called 'committed' ride men's style bikes, i.e. with a diamond frame, many are more suited to one with a shorter top tube. We had a thread on here some time ago when many, including me, argued for the leggy female theory, CJ produced a chart of detailed stats showing that the distribution of women's leg to height ratios is similar to men's. He suggested that the difference might be that women tend to sit more upright and I did subsequently post a link to a non-cycling article that made the point that women's lower spines are different to men's.

You are certainly right to look for a bike that fits rather than making do. There are plent of other bike shops besides Evans.

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bikely-challenged
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Postby bikely-challenged » 5 Oct 2008, 11:07pm

kwackers wrote:Do women still want a bike with a lowered crossbar? Is that sort of dignity aid still required?


Don't know about other Women, but I wanted a step-through. Due to my bad back I'm not particularly agile. Also, like Jan said, Women specific bikes have a different geometry to Men's.

Regarding the motorbikes: Is it less safe on the back of a bike? I'd have thought that was more to do with control, definitely. JMHO
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eileithyia
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Postby eileithyia » 6 Oct 2008, 7:47am

Jan if you have one nearby try the specialised concept stores, a much better set up for women's sized bikes.

At least one of my LBS's (OK Ribble) has jig set up that they can adjust all sorts ofthings on it, frame height, saddle height, bar height and reach. So at least if they have not got one in stock they can source the right size bike for you and not just take a guess.

Even the clothing in Evans is so high up I had to find an assistance to get it down for me, and I pointed out this was hardly an encouragement to women to try on clothes. They seemed tothink it was not a problem as there was always an assistant around.
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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meic
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Postby meic » 6 Oct 2008, 10:51am

I dont think that I could go into a bike shop and find it had a bike to fit me, there and then in the shop.
I would like some replacement forks but dont stand much chance of finding any with a stem long enough.
The cycle world is not as accommodating as the car world. This is the problem for all cyclists and does not explain the difference in take up of cycling between men and women.
In another thread (probably all writers being men) it was discused how the gears supplied on most new road bikes were only suitable for proffesional Tour de France cyclists.

I fear that if cycling manufacturers were pushed to offer a Ladies cycle, they would only see the marketing opportunity of selling a lower quality bike at a higher price. Like they do for childrens bikes.

My wife has a custom made bike and I rode that before I found a bike which was capable of being modified to my size legs. I am tall but not unusually tall.

I am not denying that women are at a disadvantage when trying to buy a bike that is suitable as they are less likely to be the standard male size that bikes are built to. However I do not think it is a major factor.
On an average club ride or possibly even Audax you are more likely to find a man on a poorly sized bike than you are to find a woman at all.
Yma o Hyd

Dee Jay
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Postby Dee Jay » 6 Oct 2008, 11:29am

bikely-challenged wrote:
kwackers wrote:Do women still want a bike with a lowered crossbar? Is that sort of dignity aid still required?



Don't know about other Women, but I wanted a step-through. Due to my bad back I'm not particularly agile. Also, like Jan said, Women specific bikes have a different geometry to Men's.



Re women riding bikes with lowered crossbars: This is the second time I've heard this in as many weeks .. never having heard it before! Is it an idea which is particularly voguish at the moment?

I like a step-through, too, due to a bad back ... bad knees, as well. :roll:
Dee

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jan19
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Postby jan19 » 6 Oct 2008, 12:47pm

To be fair to Evans, they did make a big effort to help me when I first went in - one of their staff spent a long time going through their database suggesting suitable bikes. They also didn't hesitate to recommend the cheaper of the two bikes I tried out. The LBS owner (who I find very condescending to me, although my line manager who has spent a small fortune in the shop finds him very helpful) just pointed me towards mountain bikes. When I said I didn't want a mountain bike, he made his disinterest fairly obvious. Point to Evans on that one!

I could look on the sunny side and think Evans sold all those nice ladies bikes over the summer, and I don't suppose they can be blamed for now stocking the area with kiddies bikes - they are a likely seller for Christmas. It was just that they'd made such an effort in the spring, with female mannekins modelling clothes, and large posters with the useful info like "which bike do I need" (with a picture of a woman on it) all around the area. They'd also got what I assume were quite good bikes (in the £600 range ) whereas yesterday the solitary ladies bike was £209. It was just such a disappointment.

As regards getting a bike to fit, I'm just too fussy! I need extra small, lightweight, step-through (I'm not agile) with mudguards and pannier rack. I asked for suggestions on these boards a couple of times without too much success so when I found I could handle the Globe I just took her gratefully. She does me pretty well OK, and we think we might handle lack of ability off-road by changing the tyres (at least for the winter).

Jan

kwackers
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Postby kwackers » 6 Oct 2008, 1:52pm

I think shops simply stock what they can sell.

With regards the disinterest shown by your LBS, if it's anything like mine they have limited space and usually a core group of customers (i.e. your line manager) that they're happy to service. If you fall outside that group requiring something they don't normally deal with then you'll usually see a marked disinterest, I guess the hassle generally isn't worth the amount they make.

I've found this with most things, small shops tend to be more specialist than they'll admit too, and it's nothing really to do with gender - although if one group has demands outside their 'specialisation' then it can do.

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meic
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Postby meic » 6 Oct 2008, 4:06pm

Jan if you think you are fussy about your bike demands, you should try reading some of the posts on this forum. They make your demands look positivly feeble.
Seriously if someone is riding their bike thousands of miles per year why shouldnt they spend the money on a quality bike that fits both their size and requirements.
Yma o Hyd

Dee Jay
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Postby Dee Jay » 6 Oct 2008, 4:12pm

I must admit to finding this thread riveting ...

Getting back on track, Phil says;

1. Bad bike shop attitude.


This obviously varies enormously - mine is great and can't do enough for me. And the shop has a very relaxed atmosphere where it seems that everyone is welcome. I was there on Saturday where they happily exchanged one pannier rack for another more suitable (I hope) one, and there were very serious cyclists there ... as well as the local vicar - a very serious cyclist - and .... ahem .... me!

2. Being sold unsuitable bike (and even blokes get that sort of service


I am beginning to think that H******'s could have asked a few more questions when they sold me my bike. Although, I can still walk! :roll:

3. Using unsuitable clothing ie jeans


Not wearing jeans esp. in the rain is the single thing which has most changed my cycling experience. That and my padded undershorts! :D

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!


This drives me crazy ... but on the plus side: he puts the kettle on and the tea is made by the time I get home!
Dee

thirdcrank
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Postby thirdcrank » 6 Oct 2008, 4:17pm

jan19 wrote:... As regards getting a bike to fit, I'm just too fussy! I need extra small, lightweight, step-through (I'm not agile) with mudguards and pannier rack. ...


Unless I've missed something, what you are talking about is a 'mixte' i.e a frame with no top tube but a 'twin-lateral' pair of tubes from the head through to the rear drop out. MickF has posted pics of his plenty of times. I think the problem now with getting a new one is that the twin lateral tubes are no longer made - I read that somewhere, possibly on the Mercian site, but there must be loads of virtually new ones lurking in the backs of garages, bought to try to get a wife or girlfriend interested in cycling.

I think people are slow to recommend this sort of thing because in the UK at least, open frame = girls/ ladies bike, and recommending a girls / ladies bike seems likely bring the roof in.

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meic
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Postby meic » 6 Oct 2008, 4:30pm

Yes I have a 1980 Claudette, it is a virtually new (as in unused) Mixte frame and is absolutely lovely. I built it up but it is much too small for me to ride.
My son will be riding it soon and I hope that no-one mentions it is meant to be a Ladies' bike. However I am not sure that it is enough of a step through to satisfy someone who wants a 'proper' step through bike.
However it is good enough to be a 'proper' Audax bike.
I would have been delighted to ride it, if only it was my size. I couldn't care less that it is suposedly a Ladies' bike.
Yma o Hyd

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Postby thirdcrank » 6 Oct 2008, 4:53pm

jan19

I suppose the two most popular models were the 'Claudette' by Claud Butler and the Carlton 'Courette' (and there may also have been a Raleigh but by then, Carlton was Raleigh anyway.)

I think the '-ette' suffix, is what I was getting at.

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bikely-challenged
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Postby bikely-challenged » 6 Oct 2008, 5:36pm

Is this a mixte?

http://www.marin.co.uk/2009/pdf/3911-2F.PDF

This is my bike. I don't know how to post pics though.

DeeJay, I have no idea if lowered top tubes are voguish or not. The last time I was in fashion was 1983.
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DISCLAIMER: The above constitutes my personal opinion only on any given subject. Other opinions are available.