If you do a Google image search for women riding bikes you’re greeted with images upon images of women riding road bikes in a closed race style setting, or idealised images of a working woman on a city bike, suited & perfectly coiffured. Both of these things could be (& probably are) true, however to me it paints cycling in an idealised setting. Showing that women should probably only ride this type of way….
I first & foremost, identify as a “cyclist” before lifting, before nutrition; I LOVE my bike. I have done since I got it, & I’ve loved riding for as long as I’ve been able to ride. That being said, I am a minority when it comes to bike riding. Courtesy of Cycling UK I have some figures for you:
That’s a huge difference in averages – I can do 9 trips on my bike in a week. Why is this? Why does cycling seem to attract boys moreso than girls & then the continuation of that attraction into adulthood? It’s not like manufacturers don’t make bikes for women. I can’t wrap my head around it, however I thoroughly love being on my bike so it’s natural that I wouldn’t understand why someone would prefer to not ride.
Again, I turned to Google & two main things appeared:
- Safety. As cycling is seen to be male-centric, women have (in some cases) felt belittled, scared or intimidated whilst riding. It’s fair to guess that we’ve all seen *that* viral video (which; to clarify is staged & doesn’t represent a real life situation) However, that being said….if a bloke gets a puncture, chances are he can fix it road side. Could a woman do the same? Perhaps, maybe, certainly – however, not many women would be comfortable on the side of the road pulling out an inner tube, especially if it’s getting dark, or it’s secluded or whatever.
- Ease. Cycling to work, uphills, in hot weather or in winter layers can be a sweaty affair. Not good if you have a customer facing job, or don’t fancy helmet hair/wanting a shower etc. Plus, how do you transport a suit/smart clothes/uniform on a bike? Then there’s the mothers out there…how do you carry your shopping & your child on a bike?!
I also asked friend’s on Facebook if they rode bikes, if so; what for:
“I don’t but I’d like to… no bike, and living in such a built up area there’s nowhere nice to go.”
“I like the idea of cycling but I always had shit bikes and the memories of bike maintenance on the go are kind of off putting.”
“I do! Generally to work and back or town and back for shopping”
“I cycle off road cycle paths as I don’t like car times. It’s my favourite way to relax and focus on the moment outside as nothing is being asked of me and I can just breathe.”
“Not any more, but I wish I did. I used to cycle to work, but it was uphill and I was super sweaty and tired by the time I got there. I also used to go shopping a couple of times a week.”
“I alternate between cycling and walking to work (about 2 miles each way) and just enjoy going on ‘adventures’ where I just get my bike and cycle until I’m tired to discover new places and just because it’s fun. It’s a bit of a nightmare to cycle in Leicester since bike lanes are horribly designed and only cover small segments all of which are crowded with pedestrians anyway.”
“I have a cycle but would like somewhere nice to cycle not just round the roads”
That’s just a few of the responses, however the majority don’t ride, or would like to but facilities/places to ride around England are pretty garbage, unless you can shove your bike in a car, drive somewhere & then ride for a few hours. (For the record, the number of women that regularly cycle in Scotland is higher than it is in England)
I also got a response from Squat Rack Shenanigans (if you don’t follow her blog/insta/facebook, you *totally* should!)
Hi it me! San Diego, CA. I ride for cardio on bodybuilding contest prep, and for enjoyment because I live in a beautiful bikeable city.
July is Women’s Festival of Cycling in the UK, aimed at getting more women cycling. I personally feel that it’s a shame that not more girls & women take advantage of the freedom that comes with cycling. Like, seriously….Short on time? Ride. In a bad mood? Ride. Need to wake up? Ride. Full of energy? Ride. There are many, many reasons to get out on your bike.
They’re not just for men!
If you’d like to learn more about women in cycling: