on girls and bikes

My friend JenKen in Ft. Bragg sent me the link to this inspiring documentary, Beauty and the Bike, about a group of girls in the U.K. who get outfitted with new Dutch bicycles with which to commute to and from school - a bold statement in their small city with no bike lanes to speak of.

I'd love to get a copy of this and make a movie night out if it. In one great scene in the film, one of the girls asks her friend what she's going to wear on her bike, and the girl answers that she fancies a pair of high heels! Naturellement!

Which brings up another article that was recently brought to my attention regarding why women don't ride bikes as often as men. This documentary addresses many of those issues, which is why I'd be interested in bringing the film to schools here in SF and the Bay Area in general to generate some feedback and see how we can inspire more young women to feel safer, more comfortable and more themselves on a bike.

What are the main reasons you can think of that young women tend to not ride bikes? Is it because of fashion restrictions? Is it not cool enough? Not safe enough? Do you get too cold? Too hot? Do you feel you're not in shape? Bike in garage with a flat tire collecting dust? Can't remember the last time you were on a bike? Perhaps these young ladies from Darlington will inspire you to change all that.

And they look mighty cute, too!


Brent said...

Here's one perspective:

Some years ago, my then-girlfriend and I were invited to a post-Golden Globes party. As the party location was about two long blocks from my apartment -- and the party organizers required guests to park at a remote lot and take a shuttle -- I suggested walking over. She quickly shot down the idea as impractical. From what I recall, the issue revolved around shoes. I admittedly don't know much about shoes, so I had to take it on faith that two blocks in heels is too much. So, instead, we dressed splendidly, drove a half-mile to the parking lot, and then took the shuttle.

Of course, riding a bicycle in heels might be easier than walking, but somehow I doubt that the "real" issue was about the shoes. I think, instead, it was about the arrival, the entrance. For us to show up on foot was déclassé. Weirdos go by foot (and ride a bike). "Normal" people go by car and take the shuttle.

It will years to change this kind of attitude.

陳哲毓念阿彌陀佛往生西方極樂世界 said...

阿彌陀佛 無相佈施


之為腥。所謂「葷腥」即這兩類的合稱。 葷菜
(重定向自五辛) 佛家五葷



興渠另說為洋蔥。) 肉 蛋 奶?!

念楞嚴經 *∞窮盡相關 消去無關 證據 時效 念阿彌陀佛往生西方極樂世界

不婚 不生子女 生生世世不當老師

log 二0.3010 三0.47710.48 五0.6990 七0.8451 .85
root 二1.414 1.41 三1.732 1.73五 2.236 2.24七 2.646
=>十3.16 π∈Q' 一點八1.34


Thanks for posting the video. I loved it! So inspiring to see how riding a bike has changed those girls. Of course, I loved their bikes as well!!!

eva said...

what a great blog post!

from what i've gathered during my time spent on & off the bike a lot of the women i know feel that bikes are for the lycra-lovers only & too serious/physical to acutually enjoy.

This is one of the main reasons I started my blog , evoluer , was to show that riding bikes can be stylish, casual , & most of all fun!

I've organized an all-girls ride called 'Cycle Chic Sundays' where i encourage my friends to put on a skirt/dress heels and hit the bike lanes with me!

I hope this catches on down here in SoCal!

Kristin Tieche said...

Hi! Thanks for all your comments, even the one I can't read. I posted it anyway, just in case it says something significant (don't want to discriminate based on choice of alphabet/characters).

@Brent - I noticed when I was in Brazil that in some cities, like Salvador, the people who rode bikes were the people without money. It was definitely a status thing. I agree that it will take years. But hopefully not decades!

@Space Rider - I enjoyed the video clip too. Dying to see the whole film!

@eva - keep up the good work in So Cal! Attitudes will change when people see all you gorgeous ladies riding your bikes and looking fabulous together! Love your blog! :-)

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Brent on this one. Never had to worry about making an entrance to a post-Golden Globes party but this morning I pedaled into work and it occurred to me that my boss's boss would be meeting him at our office this morning and that she might very likely find my arriving on a bike "cute" or just plain odd. I live less than 3/4 of a mile from my office, however, and driving just seems absurd. Several years ago, a local celebrity loud-mouth in Louisville, wrote a piece in one of the weekly tabloids in which he referred to "losers" who rode the city bus. Same sort of thinking.

Kristin Tieche said...

@She Rides - yes, just having this same discussion with Caz from London Cycle Chic this week. We discussed how I observed in Brazil that only the poor people rode bikes religiously down there. To have a car meant status. And so the cities were, quite sadly, so congested with gridlock traffic.

There is another scene in the film where one of the girls tells a group of kids on the street how expensive her Dutch bike was, and I think only then did they try to steal it!

von_bon_bon said...

I love your blog! Im a 18 year old girl from the UK and have been putting off riding a bike for years because of how scary it is to ride on the roads over here, there's not a bike lane in sight! However recently ive figured how much more money i can save and most importantly that you can look fashionable on a bike! i hope by doing this more young girls will start!

Ive now ordered my Pashley! but am still petrified about riding in the road! I just wish England was more "bike friendly"

Kristin Tieche said...

Hi von bon bon! Congrats on your efforts to get back in the saddle! Many of our cities suffer from lack of bike lanes, and lack of awareness of cyclists.

My only advice is to do it with some friends! Take your enthusiasm and motivation and share it with other girls just like you and get a cycling group together!

Also, there are plenty of fashionable helmets out there if you feel you need the added safety element of head protection. Check out cyclechic.com.

Happy riding and send us a pic of you on your new Pashley soon!