Is cycling intimidating for women?

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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby newie » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:49 pm

-1

Perhaps I've just been lucky compared to the ladies above, but despite working in a male-dominated field I don't feel I have ever been treated differently because of my gender.
Don't get me wrong, I do think that the gender stereotypes and expectations are present in our society and also quite damaging. But I also think that men are equally limited and face just as many challenges as women because of this. Their challenges are often quite different though.
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by BNA » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:52 pm

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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby foo on patrol » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:52 pm

Well this thread took a big detour! :shock: :(

I love riding with the girls/women of a weekend because they give a different outlook on riding. I also get a lesson on how unfit and slow I am at times. :lol:

The only reason I see for women or men for that matter to be intimidated is because they lack confidence in riding within a bunch. :idea:

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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby Eleri » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:53 pm

My bunch is all men. Not deliberately, just by fact. We've had one woman ride with us a couple of times - I like to think she was made to feel welcome. But she was very quick - for a woman (and I say that with the utmost respect), and could keep up. She has obviously done a lot of riding, and may well have gotten over the hurdle of intimidation. I hate that a bunch as easy-going and good-humoured as these guys would ever be seen as intimidating... but yeah, to a slower rider, which is almost all women, it's going to be.


If she only rode with you a couple of times, it wasn't working for her then was it? Maybe you congratulated her on "keeping up" and being "quick for a woman". What you've done there is set the benchmark as your speed and she "kept up" - I would feel patronised by either of those things being said to me.

I might even have told you, in retaliation, that "you're pretty slow for a man."
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby foo on patrol » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:55 am

If any of you girls are within cooee of Bribie Island, then you should come for a ride with the Saturday morning ride. It is a good pace and the bunch gets back together after any quick bits and then there is the coffee at the end. Three or four girls on Saturday and then they meet again on the Sunday for another one. 8)

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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby marinmomma » Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:32 pm

foo on patrol wrote:If any of you girls are within cooee of Bribie Island, then you should come for a ride with the Saturday morning ride. It is a good pace and the bunch gets back together after any quick bits and then there is the coffee at the end. Three or four girls on Saturday and then they meet again on the Sunday for another one. 8)

Foo


I'm not near Bribe but it sounds like a considerate bunch.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby foo on patrol » Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:46 pm

marinmomma wrote:
foo on patrol wrote:If any of you girls are within cooee of Bribie Island, then you should come for a ride with the Saturday morning ride. It is a good pace and the bunch gets back together after any quick bits and then there is the coffee at the end. Three or four girls on Saturday and then they meet again on the Sunday for another one. 8)

Foo


I'm not near Bribe but it sounds like a considerate bunch.


Yes they are and the girls give me a touch up in staying with the bunch at times. :lol: The more the girls ride in a bunch the more confidence they get. :idea:

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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby marinmomma » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:03 pm

foo on patrol wrote:
Yes they are and the girls give me a touch up in staying with the bunch at times. :lol: The more the girls ride in a bunch the more confidence they get. :idea:

Foo


That's great to hear, I always find it difficult to find the 'right' bunch to ride in....most are filled with too much, usually, male ego who are trying to rip each others legs off and the pace and eittiqute just get tossed aside in favour of a PB or more watts on the power meter.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby Stefan_A » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:53 pm

hmm...the thread question would seem inappropriate to target at a bicycle forum, where people are passionate about cycling.
Intimidated women are highly unlikely to be on the forum.

I'm a guy, but can talk from personal experience regarding intimidated women, because I've tried to get about 8 female friends including two partners to ride, and several to race. So by proxy, that's 8 subjects! So let's go through a few of them:

1. the first one had been a school sprint (running) champion, had a couple of kids, then a divorce, then breast cancer, and was emotionally fragile and sedentary when I met her in her mid 40s. When I suggested riding, she was cool with it, and has never looked back. The attention she has received from the opposite sex no doubt has helped her tremendously in all areas of her life, as has the fitness and more toned body. She is certainly more emotionally resilient and happier now than when I first met her. She is not intimidated to ride on the road when with a group, but is reticent on her own. She also will not race due to seeing too many people get hurt badly, although she would definitely be competitive in B grade at the age of 50.

2. A work friend with weight issues wanted to expand her social network (and meet men). I suggested she cycle, and she really seemed to enjoy it for the first 3 mths, especially the coffee stops where she was the centre of attention amongst a lot of men. Nevertheless, as time went by, the excuses became more frequent...the night before she was all yes definitely coming, but the next morning it would be too cold too hot etc. I think at the end of the day, there was a lack of eligible men, to offset how uncomfortable she sometimes felt on the bike. She also didn't like getting her hair messed up by a helmet. She was in a prime position to cycle commute, but would not do it as she felt a professional appearance at work was too important (makeup, styled hair, sharp dresser). She also did not appreciate getting into a sweat on the bike, despite having showers at work. I know many think this is stereotypical, but in her case it was certainly the case.

3. An ex partner took to it with enthusiasm on a heavier bike, but did not like getting dropped by stronger men. Eventually she got a lighter road bike, and she loved it, as she could then keep up with the guys. The thing she loved about it most was the camaraderie with the mostly male group, where once again she was the centre of doting attention. She was never in a position to commute. She did not like riding on her own nor with other women. For her, the male attention made it.

4. Another work mate. She is a very independent and strong person, and prefers to cycle on her own. She loves it, and has little fear of riding around Brisbane cbd on the main roads within reason. She is a strong athletic type, with a bit of a chip on her shoulder about a lot of stuff, and is inclined to bite people's heads off at the slightest provocation i.e. if they sit behind her on the bike for anymore than 30 seconds, her workmates tend to steer clear of her due to her temper. She won't race though due to fear about injury.

5. Another rides an Aldi female bike that must weigh 16kg and has one gear. She is fit and slim, and loves the outdoors, and has good balance and awareness. She loves it, but is nervous on the roads. She is still new to it, and gets a little nervous when groups come tearing past at speed on shared paths. She is the sort that after the first social ride, she wanted to go riding again the next day, and line up the next weekend.

I think at the end of the day, women make up half the population, well more than half, and without a proper statistical study, you will get attitudes right across the spectrum. Overall, I'd say a majority of women over 30 don't like to get hot and sweaty, nor ride on the roads, nor have to confront aggressive and careless riders on shared paths. Naturally, women have less testosterone and more nurturing hormones. To back this up, I know a lot of guys who cycle (200+), whose partners are not interested. Common excuses are they are not fit enough, health issues prevent them, they think it is uncomfortable, it's dangerous.

IME, the things that might tempt more women to riding is the health (toned body) and financial benefits (cheaper than a car and public transport), a fashionably cool thing to do, has social benefits. However, they are less likely to mix it on the road with cars. Interestingly, a mate's 24yo daughter has just come back from England, where she cycled for work and utlity purposes. She wanted to ride here in Brisbane but has gradually let the idea drop due to longer distances to most places she likes going socially, the hotter weather, and the traffic.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby RonK » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:17 pm

Stefan_A wrote:hmm...the thread question would seem inappropriate to target at a bicycle forum, where people are passionate about cycling.
Intimidated women are highly unlikely to be on the forum.

It was posted in the women's forum, and addressed specifically to women. How could that be inappropriate?
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby Eleri » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:39 pm

RonK wrote:
Stefan_A wrote:hmm...the thread question would seem inappropriate to target at a bicycle forum, where people are passionate about cycling.
Intimidated women are highly unlikely to be on the forum.

It was posted in the women's forum, and addressed specifically to women. How could that be inappropriate?


To clarify, there was a post that was removed. It became a sub-thread as others responded to it.

The OP is entirely worthy and relevant to discussion here in the women's forum.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby Stefan_A » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:07 pm

The logic goes - are women on a cycling forum more or less likely to cycle? are women who cycle "regularly" more or less likely to be intimidated by cycling?
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby Eleri » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:11 pm

Stefan_A wrote:The logic goes - are women on a cycling forum more or less likely to cycle? are women who cycle "regularly" more or less likely to be intimidated by cycling?


I don't think that the OP author, Tracey was looking just to this forum for a response to that question.

In my experience, women are intimidated by lots of things to do with cycling, including the attitude of many bunches. So yes, I think it is a valid question and a valid place to ask it. Thank you for your observations.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:26 pm

Mod Says:
This post has now been returned as it went right off track and I have attempted to retain all of the posts relevant to the Original Post remove remove those which are not. As some comments were inbetween, apologies if your post disappeared. Perhaps this is all an indication of the challenges arising with this type of discussion among a broad audience.

So, back to the discussion ladies and gentlemen.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby insightt47 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:14 am

Im not sure if this is relevant but some women may not want to get into cycling because they dont like the changes that cycling brings to ones body shape. Cycling tends to build up alot of muscle around the legs and some women may not like the look of big thighs. Like in swimming women and men tend to develop huge shoulders.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby Eleri » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:54 pm

I'm not sure I've heard women say this.

But unless they are going to become track sprinters, it probably isn't going to happen. And then they would have to be doing considerable weights and riding a fair bit for that to happen.

I'm not a sprinter, and I hadn't noticed my thighs getting huge - in fact, the opposite when I've lost weight overall.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby insightt47 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:51 am

Eleri wrote:I'm not sure I've heard women say this.

But unless they are going to become track sprinters, it probably isn't going to happen. And then they would have to be doing considerable weights and riding a fair bit for that to happen.

I'm not a sprinter, and I hadn't noticed my thighs getting huge - in fact, the opposite when I've lost weight overall.


We'll there ya go, one less reason for women not to get on a bike.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby marinmomma » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:22 am

insightt47 wrote:Im not sure if this is relevant but some women may not want to get into cycling because they dont like the changes that cycling brings to ones body shape. Cycling tends to build up alot of muscle around the legs and some women may not like the look of big thighs. Like in swimming women and men tend to develop huge shoulders.


I say this is totally irrelevant....
Most women's will never gain the muscle mass that men do...not just by cycling anyway.

I think it's the 'perceived' danger of riding on the road and then once riding to then to go the next step into the competitive side of the sport is the danger of racing.
Also the mechanical side of riding, dealing with flats and other mechanical concerns may stop women.

For every woman there will be a different reason I guess
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby Parker » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:12 am

insightt47 wrote:Im not sure if this is relevant but some women may not want to get into cycling because they dont like the changes that cycling brings to ones body shape. Cycling tends to build up alot of muscle around the legs and some women may not like the look of big thighs. Like in swimming women and men tend to develop huge shoulders.

Sure when you swim like 8km a day or train for the olympics, I swim abuot 7km a week and there's nothing big about my shoulders.

Women who don't want to swim because they'll get big shoulders give us a bad name and so do those who don't cycle because of big legs.

Talk about letting the gender down.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby insightt47 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:19 pm

marinmomma wrote:I think it's the 'perceived' danger of riding on the road and then once riding to then to go the next step into the competitive side of the sport is the danger of racing.
Also the mechanical side of riding, dealing with flats and other mechanical concerns may stop women.

For every woman there will be a different reason I guess


+1
From this thread its pretty obvious that cycling is intimidating for women. The next question should be how to make cycling less intimidating for women because it needn't be. Maybe someone can start up a thread for that?
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby insightt47 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:23 pm

Parker wrote:
insightt47 wrote:Im not sure if this is relevant but some women may not want to get into cycling because they dont like the changes that cycling brings to ones body shape. Cycling tends to build up alot of muscle around the legs and some women may not like the look of big thighs. Like in swimming women and men tend to develop huge shoulders.

Sure when you swim like 8km a day or train for the olympics, I swim abuot 7km a week and there's nothing big about my shoulders.

Women who don't want to swim because they'll get big shoulders give us a bad name and so do those who don't cycle because of big legs.

Talk about letting the gender down.


I know of a few women, my sister included who swam at club level (i.e. a couple of times per week) and they developed massive shoulders and in some cases things as well. I guess its mostly up to genetics and the type of cycling you do e.g. sprinting vs endurance vs recreational riding. I agree there are more plausible reasons for women not wanting to to take up cycling.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby zebee » Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:17 pm

A thought.... why would women take up cycling?

What would attract them?

I am a commuting cyclist, with a sideline in "that's my exercise for the day" and "it's a nice day I think I'll take the 'bent out cos I know from experience that it's fun"

Lots of people, men and women, don't cycle because they think cycling on the roads is far too dangerous. I get a lot of that when I'm with my Brompton on the train. The Brom gets people talking because it is both cute and stunningly practical, and the conversation almost always goes to "but isn't it dangerous?"

I say "no, pretty well all drivers do the right thing" and then I talk about how it is fun and I get my regular exercise doing it.

I note that I am a computer bod, meaning that I can wear to work what I please pretty much. So while some men complain about managing their clothes at work, women's "proper work clothing" tends to be much harder to manage cycling, and there's the expected makeup too.... I see one of my neighbours depart for work and know that she'd find cycle commuting a real hassle just from the clothes and makeup point of view. She's full on corporate and that's a lot of work in the mornings.

I can't see many women doing recreational fast cycling. Just like a lot of men don't. They might get into it if they are cycling already, but only if they find riding fun which means a good light comfortable bike properly fitted for proportions. Not a lot of those about really! And few shops with good experience with same.

(Recumbents are a lot easier to fit for women[1] , but are expensive and rare. I love mine and although it's heavy I can get enough speed up not to be totally disgraced. Although I'm mostly disgraced on hills...)

I'd say if you want to see more women on bicycles, give them reasons to be on them. I dunno women are as much intimidated as can't see a reason to ride given that the entire industry - manufacturers, shops, clubs - barely know they exist. And when they do acknowledge them, are grudging and often condescending about it.

Pretty much most women can see a lot of reasons that cycling is a hassle and don't get that it can be a lot of fun. But it is only fun if you have a bike you are happy with, a place to ride it, a reason to ride it, and no one telling you by word or deed you don't belong. Those of us who do ride have overcome all those, but lots of women can't be arsed.

[1] now anyway. Mine's nearly 10 years old and when I bought it, it was the only one that would fit my 157cm height. Now more of them work for short people.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby michelle_s » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:42 pm

I don't find cycling intimidating at all as a woman. I mainly cycle on my own as most cyclists ride very early and I'm usually sleeping off the beer I drank the night before ha but every male cyclist I have ever met has always been friendly towards me and have tried to get me to come along for their group rides at that goes for bike shops I have wandered into also.
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby TraceyG » Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:14 pm

Not exactly intimidating but a real bugbear of mine is how some male cyclists treat female cyclists as though we couldn't or shouldn't know anything about the mechanical side of our bikes. Case in point - on our regular Sunday group ride yesterday, one of the men took it upon himself to tel my husband that MY chain needed to be oiled and he would show my husband a clever trick to do it easily.

Why tell my husband? Why not tell me?

Unfortunately I wasn't aware of the conversation at the time so I couldn't tell the fellow that I appreciate learning from his experience provided he shares it with me when it is about my bike!
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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby foo on patrol » Sat May 10, 2014 7:29 pm

I'm throwing out the invite to any girls in our area, to come and join our Saturday rides and even the Sunday ride for that matter. If you can't stay with the pace on Sunday, there are short cuts and other girls and blokes that drop off and ride together and re group with the faster riders of a Sunday. Saturday we stay together even though we have a couple of sprints and a long hard session on the logging track. Plus we are a great bunch of people to ride with. :mrgreen:

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Re: Is cycling intimidating for women?

Postby AUbicycles » Sat May 10, 2014 11:08 pm

The article is up: Too Afraid to Ride? Is Cycling initimidating for Women?

Australian pro-cyclist Rachel Neylan also provided input into this article and we feature photos from Mark Gunter and Mark Haughton.
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