September 8, 2011

Comments (16)

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Sad to agree...

I am sad to agree with "tiresome" above (or below?). Safety issues and most other obstacles are what they are, regardless of gender. It also concerns me when I see articles referring to safe routes/infrastructure being an issue, when the pictures that go along with the article mostly depict women without HELMETS. ???

Female Bike Shop Owner more than 2 years ago

evening gown? binder clips!

I HAVE ridden in evening gowns, and typically ride everyday in skirts and dresses. Nearly 10 years car-free in Los Angeles. (yeah!!) and not that much of a girly girl...but for some reason I don't own pants. Reasonably narrow skirts and dresses with BACK vents or slits don't usually cause any problems with getting caught up in my chain. Those with SIDE slits or lots of fabric DO. My tip: keep a couple of medium- or large-size binder clips on hand and use them to gather up and secure swaths of fabric that could get caught. [Clip 'em on your brake cables while you're in the meeting or wedding reception.]

Holly Harper more than 2 years ago


Cycling was and is the great social liberator. To read this piece and how hard it is to be a women in a cycling world is dreadful. How hard can it be to look at a video of Amesterdam look at the bikes go find one on the Internet and buy it. Or look in the papers second hand and buy it. You don't need special clothes the clothes in your closet are fine. It's never been easier to get on a bike. Is this what women have become in the modern world afraid to walk into a bike shop.

Andrew more than 2 years ago

Well, I like the article!

Wow. I think this article is great. ...And for the record, I'm a woman who's worked in construction, landscaping and in the cycling industry, so I don't believe that there's a 'boys club' or any thing like that There is, however, an 'opportunities club' a 'labor gap club', a 'wage gap club' and a few other related 'clubs' that play a part in preventing women from feeling welcome, qualified, accepted, or able to participate in certain areas of our society. And specifically speaking, I think there *are* real world barriers to cycling that women face. Barriers that men do not- certainly some of which are related to expectations, social norms, etc.... but I do think that they are surmountable, regardless of their nature.
(As for riding in an evening gown- I've found that it's really hard to do and a little bit dangerous.)

Gwen more than 2 years ago


agree that this was confusing/annoying/patronizing. a lot of people are nervous about riding, don't want to get dirty on their way to work, or don't think about it because our social norms are not built around it. it is not a "woman" thing. I'd like to feel safe taking my 80-year old dad out for a ride or my 12-year-old nieces. I'd like better bicycle parking around public transportation, as well as access to more trains and buses, and I'd like fewer potholes and better lane markings. none of this is related to my gender.

chicago (woman) cyclist more than 2 years ago

Women don't like bikes as much as men do

There is a gender gap in cycling because women don't like to ride as much as men do. That goes for pretty much everything else that is done disproportionately more by men: they just like it more. Most women I know rarely do anything physical at all. My mom, sister, grandmothers, cousins, etc. rarely hike, bike, run, or do much of anything physical. Even my female friends, some do physical stuff, but most do not. Men are too busy actually doing things to worry about a "boys club" on the street.

Justin Doescher more than 2 years ago

ride in an evening gown?

I have - not to mention in office-appropriate clothing every day for about 8 years - and the thing is, women on bikes get a lot of harassment, which just about doubles if you wear a skirt instead of pants. Just like dressing like a woman on the bus, which also drives women who can afford it off public transit.

If there's no barriers, why the gender gap? Or do the naysayers LIKE having a boys club out on the streets?

Rosa more than 2 years ago

Women riding bikes

Pretty ridiculous article. The article says that women don't ride because of cultural norms dictating what is feminine, but at the same time, women only want to ride their bikes while looking fabulous and fashionable? A bit oxymoronic. No one, male or female, is stopping you from riding a bike, and if you want to ride in a friggin' evening gown, knock yourself out.

Justin Doescher more than 2 years ago

cycling jersey

Vancouver is not typical of all Canadian cities where there may be greater % of women cycling because of better cycling infrastructure as a North American city. Certainly here in Calgary, I visibly see at least larger % of men cycling ...even on a fine summer day after work. ( This city's infrastructure for cycling struggles along to improve.

Ericjacke more than 2 years ago

What to do?

I've heard it all:
Helmet hair? Not an issue according to my mom's hair.
Mechanically not inclined? This never stopped anyone from driving a car.
Fear of traffic? Statistically we cyclists live longer.
Clothing issues? My friend rode her mountain bike in a skirt and heels.

I think the real issue is not any of the specific issues listed above but rather a general fear and anxiety looking for a rationalization. This fear and resulting paralysis are my biggest frustration. The women around me who don't fear biking are those who've tried it and who have a community of cyclist friends to support them.

Hmm, maybe a girls' bike gang would be a good place to start.

Toe more than 3 years ago

Not a special interest group, but still why less women in some cities?

No, women aren't a special interest group. However it would be very naive to assume that all women are the same, ie. not any different than men in terms of what motivates them to cycling regularily several times per week for many years ahead.

Vancouver is not typical of all Canadian cities where there may be greater % of women cycling because of better cycling infrastructure as a North American city. Certainly here in Calgary, I visibly see at least larger % of men cycling ...even on a fine summer day after work. (I bike commute to work daily on a well-use bike path.) This city's infrastructure for cycling struggles along to improve.

What is lost in the gender specific discussion, is perhaps the number of men who may be uncomfortable to cycle often but choose not to because of also poor cycling infrastructure, lack of safe bike parking, etc. I've had this similar discussion with some men at work where I am.

Jean more than 3 years ago


Not buying any of this. I grew up sorrounded by grils and women riding their bikes to school and work and anywhere else they wanted to go. I refuse to believe there are women who want desperately to ride a bike but don't for any of the above reasons. Like cars aren't more expensive, more dangerous and more complicated to repair?
All this is marketing hype and the authors and the "magazine" should be ashamed.

jen more than 3 years ago

Women aren't a special interest group

I agree with Maria - I was also puzzled by this article and didn't find it particularly relevant. I also think it is unwise for all sorts of reasons to represent women as a special interest group - to put it simply, if WOMEN are the ones who need the bike lanes, I think it becomes a little difficult politically. Why not focus on getting more PEOPLE on bikes? My bet is that if you had more bike lanes, you would have more cyclists - both men and women.

Chris more than 3 years ago

Women for bikes

Some valid points being made here! My bike fears...flat tires(I know how to change them but the rubber on the new tire is almost impossible to manipulate on to the rim so I'm stranded or walking 2-3km's to the bike shop) wild life(bears and cougars) vehicles(on the highway; some drivers are considerate, many are not)
Our bike shop is pretty gender friendly and affordable which makes me feel grateful and I'm not too worried about style...however, it would be nice to find 'affordable' cycling clothes!

Nikki more than 3 years ago

Women riding bicycles

I totally agree with Maria. Who's intimidated? And who dictates what anyone needs to wear while riding a bike? There are so many free classes available and information. And bike shops here are very female friendly.

chevertoo more than 3 years ago

we are stronger than this

This article is so confusing/annoying/patronizing! Are women REALLY as fearful as all that? '...the social pressures that can make women feel uncomfortable in a mainstream bike shop' -- ??? Hunh?? 'Cultural norms that dictate what's feminine'? WHO exactly is telling WHICH women what's feminine? The impression given by the writer is that women need special service or attention, in order to use & maintain bicycles! If women in India can navigate motor-scooters in urban traffic, while wearing saris and carrying kids and groceries... I say FREE YOUR MIND, and your wheels will follow!

Maria more than 3 years ago