Why don't ladies commute?

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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby alexander » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:53 pm

Modern western society is telling women that they need to look a certain way and act a certain way to be a woman. It's about how they look that defines them. The better you look the better woman you are, the body, the surgery, the clothes, the haircut, the makeup, the nails, the perfume, the shoes, the bags, the jewellery, the accessories, the car, the phone, etc.

They spend hours trying to make themselves the best woman they can so that they feel validated in the eyes of others. Even men are to blame here, shaving, waxing, etc. We all want women to be beautiful, and women want to be beautiful, but that doesn't really translate into practical. You need to be fairly practical to commute.

Women don't think being sweaty, smelly, covered in grime, hot, is really beautiful. A lot of women think exercise is a means to an ends, rather than enjoying the ride, they enjoy what the ride does for them, makes them healthy and skinny.

This is by no means a definitive answer, or does it cover all women and their attitudes to sport/exercise/cycling, but it certainly helps explain why a lot of women don't ride.
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby sturmey archer » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:30 pm

As a rough approximation, I 'd say that 99 % of males DON'T commute by bicycle and 99.8% females DON'T.

Not much difference in those rates....
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby wombatK » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:34 pm

simonn wrote:FWIW, my wife commutes most of the time.

She says she feels a bit like ugly betty (she works for a media/online company - a serious mix of ugly betty biatches, online hipsters and IT engineers) some of the time as most of the women who work there wear a different immaculate designer outfit every day, never the same twice. She wears her jeans and top which have been in her backpack and the same shoes everyday.

Ugly betty :?: :?: Hope its only an incy wincy really tiny bit like. More likely the designer outfit girls are mutton dressed as lamb. Bet your missus has a better looking butt and legs than any of them. Jeans and tops are all you need when the underlying assets are in good shape. And she's taking care of the environment as well as her health and little wonder the fixie guys are impressed. They must all be wondering how to get their GF's to do the same.

In another thread, mikesbytes mentioned that many of his female spin-class members were worried about getting legs/bums that were too big - the classic is my ass big concern lots of women have. Don't know if that's a factor that could deter women commuters, but if it is, it's a furphy. Bicycle commuting will make you fit, and trim and taut, not big.
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby jet-ski » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:26 pm

I commute. Honestly all of the listed things that Missy has mentioned...

1. A lot have children to drop off
2, they do the shopping
3. They run to the post office
4. They take the kids to after school activities
5. They have dinners to prepare

all could be solved by a properly fitted out xtracycle....

I'm nearly 30, work, study, look after two dogs, two cats and a house myself. Commuting by bicycle is one way to guarantee that I'm doing some exercise when things seem hectic. Plus it saves me $$$. Every dollar counts.

I think there's a 'macho' element to riding in a city where motorists have a rep for being aggro towards cyclists and there may not be infrastructure that supports cycling. Some people are scared out of it by the idea that every driver is out to get them. Some thrive on it. The division is usually along gender lines.

All in all though, I think these are 'excuses' and some concrete is in order. Problem is that if you tell a guy to 'harden up' they are more likely to take on the challenge I reckon. Women just go 'um, yeah, whatever.' Heh.
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby Parker » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:11 pm

Plenty of women in Melbourne commute by bike
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby Thoglette » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:31 pm

jet-ski wrote:I commute. Honestly all of the listed things that Missy has mentioned...

1. A lot have children to drop off
2, they do the shopping
3. They run to the post office
4. They take the kids to after school activities
5. They have dinners to prepare

all could be solved by a properly fitted out xtracycle....


I have a tandem - and still need the car three days a week (four kids in it some days).

To use a broad brush, survey says: female participation rates are predominatly a function of perceived risk. Commuting routes usually contain sections of "high perceived risk".

Which is exactly why modern SUVs have nice, soft, curved interiors compared to the industrial look of a '70s Landcruiser.
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby jet-ski » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:54 pm

ah but you still commute via bike for 2 of them? I think there's a lot in the 'perceived risk' thing... and the more you read online the more you get the idea that people in cars are out to kill you, I reckon.
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby x8pg2qr » Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:31 am

I think this is not a new question; there is a lot of discussion out there (Google).

Scientific American had an article last year about this:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... n-the-road

(Doesn’t mean I agree with everything in the article). Although if the posters here suggest that 1 in 5–10 riders are males, then that suggests that building facilities targeting women is sensible. Similarly, my observation is that there aren’t many kids and oldies commuting either, but they may be more difficult markets to target, compared to working/uni adult women—or maybe they would benefit from the same infrastructure/changes.

I think that list of reasons: shower/weather/children/shopping/post office/dinner etc is probably true, but doesn’t explain the societies where female commuting (as a fraction) is higher than in Australia.

Googling reveals that BV, CRC, have pages devoted to women, also http://www.gearupgirl.com.au/ etc, so hopefully representative bodies understand the need to attract women. There’s also new cycle chic sites for Melbourne and Sydney at least, which is a good sign.
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby The Womble » Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:12 am

Missy24 wrote:Oh and FYI I'm not on some feminist rampage

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Why don't ladies commute?

Postby Comedian » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:09 am

I saw a lady commuter this morning. That's one for this week .. Big start ..
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby Max » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:09 am

Comedian wrote:I saw a lady commuter this morning. That's one for this week .. Big start ..


I commute, but you never see me because I'm out so early! Maybe all the women commute super-early so that they won't be seen by the male cycling population :lol: :mrgreen:

Who knows why some women choose not to ride their bikes for commuting. I have a very short hairdo, so helmet hair isn't an issue (and I don't think I'd care anyway, even if I had long hair). My workplace has showers, so I can de-stink before starting work.

I have two challenges WRT commuting. The first is time. I work on the other side of town. Even a mixed-mode commute (ride, train, ride) takes a touch over 2 hours. Each way. This is a substantial commitment, and means I have to take time away from other things such as spending time with my partner, my dog, vegging in front of the TV, studying, posting on BNA etc.

The second is carrying a load. I've been commuting off and on with a backpack for the last year, and I'm starting to feel uncomfortable with the extra weight. If I have a heavy load to carry, it can make my shoulders very sore. It also limits visibility. Due to this, I'm giving serious thought to buying a commuter, something that can take panniers.

These challenges aren't limited to women. I'm sure men have those same problems.

So, the short answer is, I don't know why some women don't ride their bikes to work. Silly, silly girls. They have no idea what they're missing out on! :mrgreen:

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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby TheSkyMovesSideways » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:35 pm

jet-ski wrote:I commute. Honestly all of the listed things that Missy has mentioned...

1. A lot have children to drop off
2, they do the shopping
3. They run to the post office
4. They take the kids to after school activities
5. They have dinners to prepare

all could be solved by a properly fitted out xtracycle....

... or perhaps a better husband. :twisted:
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby toolonglegs » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:39 pm

My wife takes a train 30km's...walks two then grabs a hire bike for 2 more km's.She would ride the walk as well but is only confident in the park at the end of her commute.If she had to wear a helmet she would probably skip the bike.I actually think helmet hair would put off a lot of people...but as it is I see a pretty even 50/50 mix on bikes...actually in my little village I would think that it is 70/30 to the women...and many of them are in the 60,70 and 80's :D .
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby ghettro » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:04 am

Most of the studies I've read have compared countries, generally countries where there is lots of good safe infrastructure you tend to see an almost even split, like in Scandanavia, parts of mainland Europe, Asia etc. Where there is little infrastructure and cycling is generally seen as a fringe activity (Australia & US) it's mostly males because of the perceived riskiness.

In fact I remember reading somewhere that the percentage of women cycling as transport is a good indicator of how safe/mainstream cycling in a city.
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby x8pg2qr » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:34 am

ghettro wrote:In fact I remember reading somewhere that the percentage of women cycling as transport is a good indicator of how safe/mainstream cycling in a city.


Possibly:

x8pg2qr wrote:Scientific American had an article last year about this:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... n-the-road


Jan Garrard has been writing about this for a few years now. e.g. 2005 PDF:
Healthy Revolutions: Promoting Cycling For Women
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Why don't ladies commute?

Postby Comedian » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:47 am

I've continued my run of seeing one female commuter a day. I'm not sure if it's because I'm looking harder or not.

When stopped at the lights I want to talk to them and offer encouragement but I'm afraid I'll come over as patronizing or sleazy 8o.

This morning a lady hopped off at the bottom of a small hill. I asked if she was ok and she replied that it was too hard. So I chugged past her on my carbon road bike and as I was sailing up the hill yelled out that it will get easier. I hope she took it as I intended but I felt like a bastard afterwards :mrgreen:
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby simonn » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:51 am

To entertain myself I did a count yesterday evening.

45 blokes (+-3 - I may have counted the same cyclist twice)
4 women
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby jet-ski » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:01 pm

I don't mind random guys striking up conversations with me. There was only one guy who annoyed me who told me to change gear while I was climbing up an overpass. I thought that was a little condescending. I was trying to get out of the saddle a bit on that ride because I had a sore butt! Hahah.
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby Boognoss » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:04 pm

simonn wrote:To entertain myself I did a count yesterday evening.

45 blokes (+-3 - I may have counted the same cyclist twice)
4 women


Well you only saw me once that I noticed :).
n = 3 for now

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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby beauyboy » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:04 pm

jet-ski wrote:There was only one guy who annoyed me who told me to change gear while I was climbing up an overpass

He was an idiot as well cos, as we all know changing during a climb risks, losing speed and losing the chain off the Cassette.

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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:38 pm

Spent a fair bit of time doing jobs around town today...so I did some counting as well.
I saw about 260 bicycles been ridden in about 90 minutes (non commuting hours of 9.30am to 11.30am)...Over 160 had a female at the bars...and of those 260 bikes I saw ONE person (male fixie rider :lol: ) wearing a helmet.
The ratio of hot/not was very favourable as well for the female pilots :D .
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby hartleymartin » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:37 am

http://www.streetfilms.org/women-in-motion-new-lady-riders-reflect-on-nyc-cycling/
Women In Motion: New Lady Riders Reflect on NYC Cycling

I think that the main reasons we don't see the ladies commuting on bicycles:

1.) Perception that cycling is dangerous (better bicycle infrastructure will fix this)
2.) Typical bicycles cannot carry 3 kids + shopping (seen as an un-practical option - get a bakfiet)
3.) Women don't want to arrive places sweaty + smelly (not as big of a problem for women as it is for men)
4.) Bicycles seen as a form of sporting equipment, not a transport option (this will change with time)

I make a habit of wearing regular clothing as much as possible when I ride my bicycle, just to show people that you don't have to be a sporty type, and regular people can ride a bicycle to go places. The only alteration I make in my clothing is that I tuck my right pant-leg into my sock to keep it out of the chain.

Oh, and for those who think that you cannot get the kids and shopping around:

http://cargocycling.org/2010/07/hudson-urban-bicycles.html
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby Chops » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:21 pm

I'd say about half of the women commute to my work. I put this down to a few things:

1) The intelligence level of the women. Most have phd's and are very highly powered.
2) Their age. I don't think any of them have children, although most are taken. :(
3) They work in an industry or area where they try to encourage it, or see the benefits, so to them it is obvious.
4) It seems to be a work place which is very pro-exercise and a lot of staff work out together separately as well.
5) They don't care about looks because they are nerds and don't have to deal with the public.

Interesting to note that I don't think any of the secretaries or admins cycle.
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby Fletcher » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:40 am

Chops wrote:I'd say about half of the women commute to my work. I put this down to a few things:

1) The intelligence level of the women. Most have phd's and are very highly powered.
2) Their age. I don't think any of them have children, although most are taken. :(
3) They work in an industry or area where they try to encourage it, or see the benefits, so to them it is obvious.
4) It seems to be a work place which is very pro-exercise and a lot of staff work out together separately as well.
5) They don't care about looks because they are nerds and don't have to deal with the public.

Interesting to note that I don't think any of the secretaries or admins cycle.


Man, that sounds cool. any vacancies?

Agree with several of the above that the main reason more women don't commute seems to be perceived risk, though only speaking from observation and exp. A frequently heard response when I tell people, especially women, I commute daily is "You ride on the road??" and is usually accompanied with :shock: Even met a few women who are heavily into mtb, compete in enduros and clock up a ridiculous number of km offroad and spinning but rarely venture out onto the roads. When they do, it's usually on the weekend in the safety of a group as they're genuinely concerned about getting wiped out.
It's a bit of a shame, but I don't see many women riding the roads through the week.
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Re: Why don't ladies commute?

Postby marieparr » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:14 am

I started cycling to work in July this year. Swapped my comfy V8 ride for a less than $1000 road bike.. The thought was a bit daunting in the beginning but I bought some good weather gear and mapped out a route that I thought was kind of safe. I only live around 7 km's from work in Melbourne CBD but I cycle on the roads as this is the quickest, most direct way. I could go via Captial City trail all the way but that would add another 40 minutes to trip (which I may consider going home from work one day when it's really nice weather or so). I travel on heavy traffic roads (Heidelberg Road, Brunswick Street, CBD streets) and in the morning it's fine as I normally would leave quite early (around 6 am or so) but going home is different. I have a "near death" experience nearly every day with cars nearly side swiping me, car doors opening in front of me, pedestrians crossing the road not looking - you name it! I am looking into finding a better route to go home but not sure yet which one... I see quite a lot of females commuting and at my work there are a lot of them but not as many as the men. I think it's important to women what kind of facilities are available at work. I'm lucky - I have bike parking, showers, hair dryers, the lot so once a week I "off load" my weekly working clothes, shower gear etc. so I don't have to commute with a full backpack each day. I'm not regetting swapping my car for the bike. It is great with the exercise, freedom and I get to work or home from work a lot faster than in a car. It's a great way to wake up in the morning and a great way to wind down on the way home - although you have to be very, very focused and alert so you don't have an accident. If anyone can recommend a safe way to the CBD (top end of Collins Street) from Heidelberg Road, Fairfield, Melbourne that would be really great!! Current using Heidelberg Road, Queens Parade, Alexandra Parade, Brunswick Street... Cheers!
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