Can't stop the women and bikes!

Photo by Teresa Meier

Two recent articles on my favorite subject of late - women and biking.

First, from Chicago - for women, safety = happiness.

“If we make it safe, fun and easy for women, we make it safe, fun and easy for everyone.”

Next, from Oregon - women are lagging in biking and bike businesses.

Speaking from personal shopping experience, I believe most bike shops here in SF are owned by men. The one that was women-owned near my house recently shut its doors (sniff!). My friend Kristen, who rides every day, just visited a men-owned bike shop in Petaluma where she felt downright disrespected by the sales and service reps. What's with the bad attitude, guys?

Maybe it's kind of like when you go to the weight room at the gym. Women feel intimidated by the lack of women in the room to join the guys and pump iron. So weightlifting is seen as a men's activity, and yoga & pilates are for women.

So maybe if women see more of themselves in bike shops and on bike lanes, we women will feel safety in numbers. I think we need to create more organizations and groups that promote cycling for women, such as the Community Cycling Center in Portland, which has done wonders for the female cycling population in that town.

Your thoughts?


christina said...

so glad you mentioned the above, there is a lot to be said on these topics. i wrote a blog post "bike shops, a boys only club?" post http://citygirlrides.blogspot.com/2010/09/bike-shops-boys-only-club.html complaining about terrible customer service towards women in bike shops. also, lucky for us, SF has the bike kitchen "WTF Night's "http://www.bikekitchen.org/programs.htm#wtf a bike learning mechanics workshop for women etc. maybe other women, shops, organizations, and cities can be inspired by something like this and start there own cause that's what it will take, no?

Montrealize said...

"What's with the bad attitude, guys?"

Lots of them are vehicular cycling morons who think cycling is a hardcore affair. Dirty finger nails and break your neck stuff.
The idea of normal riding, pleasurable, non-sweat on a easy bike souds like pussy to them.
That's the reason I like Mikael Colville Andersen so much. He is part of what can bring cycling back to women.
Once you've seen those Amsterdam/Copenhagen images, there is no coming back...

Kristin Tieche said...

@Montreal - Thankfully, we have shops here in SF (and prob in your city too) that cater to both crowds. There are those shops that straight-up serve the hard core athlete only, which is the shop that my friend unfortunately happened upon the other weekend. We do need more women-friendly, women-oriented bike shops, IMHO.

Unknown said...

I've been really lucky in that all the bike shops in Flagstaff are very women friendly. One of the largest shops has in the last few years been carrying many more commuter bikes with upright geometry and panniers and other bags that appeal to women. Plus, they have a couple of women on staff who can talk bikes to both men and women. Probably, at the every least, having some women on staff who know about bikes, as opposed to being just window dressing, would help. Bici Mundo has a wonderful female bike mechanic in her 40's (he trained her) who is a great resource for women riders and very active in the bike community. Having that female presence is definitely a plus.