Women gather to improve conditions (for everyone)

Posted by on June 27th, 2007 at 12:39 pm

Women for Bikes meeting

Women cyclists gathered at the Kennedy School
last week to share ideas and inspiration.
(File photo)

If women on bikes are the barometer of a bike-friendly city, a grassroots effort to improve conditions for and understanding of female cyclists hopes to increase the pressure.

A group calling themselves Women for Bikes met for the second time last week at the Kennedy School in northeast Portland.

The group was created by three ladies who are active in the local bike community: Alison Hill, Communications Director for the Community Cycling Center; Janis McDonald from PDOT’s Transportation Options Division; and Barb Grover, Community Relations Manager for the Bike Gallery.

Women for Bikes meeting

(File photo)

Their first meeting in May packed a room with 45 women and the result was an energetic range of ideas, from an encouragement program for young girls and how to educate bike shops about women customers, to a letter-writing campaign to bicycle product manufacturers.

During their recent meeting — which came on the heels of an Oregonian editorial about “Cycling’s gender gap” — the women brainstormed about how their fledgling group can be most effective.

Participants included a charity ride organizer, a bike shop employee, a massage therapist, and a lawyer.

Ellie Thalheimer, a freelance writer who teaches yoga for cyclists at River City Bicycles, suggested the group creates a curriculum for local bike shops that would help them be more welcoming to female customers. Other ideas brought up in the meeting included working more closely with the local media, making presentations to the community and taking action on important issues.

Women for Bikes meeting

(File photo)

For example, local lawyer and bike advocate Margaret Weddell shared with the group that she was tired of discourteous cyclists who sped by her across the Hawthorne Bridge. But instead of just complaining about it, she took action.

Weddell organized an educational event called Bells on Bridges and she and other volunteers met on the Hawthorne Bridge during the morning commute, held up signs about passing safely and gave out free bells to cyclists.

She hopes to someday make a jersey that says, “My name is On Your Left…say it as you pass me.”

In addition to sharing ideas and inspiration, the group offers a welcoming venue to connect with others who care about making Portland a better place to ride.

Despite its name, the ladies behind Women for Bikes encourage anyone to show up and get involved (they were nice to me!).

The next meeting will be a potluck and picnic at Laurelhurst Park on July 18th at 6:30pm.

You can read reports from both meetings and connect with the ladies from Women for Bikes in the Portland Bike Forums.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

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ME
Guest
ME

The jerks who pass at high rates of speed with no warning usually do so with everybody. Sometimes they take the track mentality to the bridges, esplanade and busy streets, with no thought of what serious complications that may arise from their stupidity. See it everyday. They\’re the same ones who don\’t time stop lights, and after blowing by, need to save face by running a red before you inevitably catch up to them. What I\’m trying to say is, I just hope they aren\’t just targeting women riders. Or am I missing your point of Bells on Bridges?

ME
Guest
ME

Can\’t stand inconsiderate passers who fly by, and leave anxious and pissed off riders in their wakes. Bringing the \”me first\” and \”look at me go\” mentality on busy streets, bridges and even the esplanade is so dangerously stupid, something needs to be done. Then we who time the red lights on our commutes, to better go with the flow, always get blown by as if we\’re not in the bike lane at all. The speeding idiot usually runs the next red (they didn\’t time) to save face before the ones he inconsiderately passes, catch up. Always happens. This sucks, because it takes all the fun and freedom away, and brings in anger and disbelief to those of us enjoying it all.

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

I run into this all the time, in those same places,and I hate to say it but usually it\’s a commuter (MTB w/slicks, fenders, lights, rack, big U-lock). Maybe they are running late or can\’t wait to get home.

Shamus
Guest
Shamus

I run into it all the time too, except I\’m the nerd riding the MTB w/slicks, fenders, etc (I know, I\’m soooo uncool) at a fine pace getting ninja passed by some geared out racer type (I can stereotype people by their equipment, too!). If it\’s done by a wide margin, it\’s merely annoying. If it\’s done by a narrow margin or in sketchy road conditions, it\’s downright frightening and maddening.

Tina
Guest
Tina

I always let people Know I am passing. The problem i encounter most is that people have headphones on and either ignore me or just don\’t hear me. If the \”on your left\” doesn\’t work I usually yell \”behind you\”

Cecil
Guest
Cecil

Funny, most of the riders that pass me are wearing headphones too, so when I call out \”On your right\” to them, they don\’t hear me . . .

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

Hooray! I\’m glad to see this group getting organized. If I were still in Portland, I\’d be right there at those meetings.

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

You know, it\’s pretty interesting. While there are always those jerk-ass real-he-man roadies who will cut you off close and at high speeds, I find that many people who blow the lights/stops are the people *I* wind up passing:

Someone\’s putting along -hybrid, MTB, road bike, doesn\’t matter!- struggling to move because they\’re in way too high of a gear (apparently cos cycling oughta be a struggle!). I\’m closing in on them and don\’t want to have to slow down and then ride their ass like a total creep, so I decide to go around them. I do a shoulder check, get a good 3-4 feet between us, and pass on the left, and then when I hit a red or a stop sign, the person I *just passed* zips around me with maybe a foot or less clearance and charges right through the intersection without even so much as slowing down. Then the light changes or I otherwise get the right of way, and I move on, passing them *again*, only to repeat this leapfrog B.S. at the next stop.

If you want to go slow or you\’re tired, that\’s fine: everbody should be allowed to go at their own pace. But really: why are some people who go *slow* in such a hurry to get through an intersection that they feel compelled to *run a red or a stop sign*? It just doesn\’t add up!

steve
Guest
steve

I know you all! I toootally agree!

I am sooo tired of reading about all the accidents that happen from cyclists passing other cyclists. You know, it\’s like one every 15 years or so. Something must be done!

Why can\’t everyone ride at exactly my pace! If everyone would just do what I tell them to do, I wouldn\’t have to have so many conflicting feelings and emotions while I ride.

While we are at it, I find novelty sized sunglasses on female riders to be very distracting and annoying. I feel intimidated by the ridiculousness of them. They should be banned at once!

Sheesh!

And on another note, they plan on developing a curriculum to give local bike shops to explain how to deal with women customers? I can\’t wait to take the copy they bring by my shop to the shredder.

With all the issues facing cyclists, both men and women, this is the best they can come up with? Re-education propaganda for low wage employees and hassling cyclists to dumb it down to their level?

Yuck!

Attornatus_Oregonensis
Guest
Attornatus_Oregonensis

I don\’t understand why they call it \”Women for Bikes\” if they encourage everybody to show up.

steve
Guest
steve

Feminacentric viewpoints are the new black.

Hip, exciting and ohhhh so radical.

Now do you understand?

Mommy
Guest
Mommy

Steve and AO, if you need me to send over a reading list I will. Seriously, don\’t get me started.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

I should have made it clear in the story that the \”Women for Bikes\” name is not official… it\’s just what they\’re using for lack of a better one.

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

I am sooo tired of reading about all the accidents that happen from cyclists passing other cyclists. You know, it\’s like one every 15 years or so. Something must be done!

Indeed. I\’d consider bitterly sarcastic gadfly histrionics a more pressing issue, or would, if only they actually meant two squirts out there on the road…

Getting cut-off or blasted by some fool who has to run the light, though? That\’s a big deal. A narrow miss raises adrenaline levels and can make folks ride angry, and that can result in stupid decisions that result in injury or traffic violations and the subsequent fines. It can also be intimidating to novice riders and might discourage them from wanting to ride again. We don\’t need angry cyclists, and we don\’t need frightened cyclists. Both are detrimental.

ME
Guest
ME

How about \”Citizens 4 Cycling\”?…otherwise you\’re inviting sarcastic wit and feministic overtones by those like steve. Also I was fooled into thinking my first rant didn\’t hit the blog from up top.

Alison
Guest
Alison

Hey All,

It\’s called Women for Bikes because we believe that while the bike industry has made some strides, it needs to improve gear, equipment, education, and infrastructure that literally fit us.

This Oregonian editorial describes why it is important that is about women:
http://bikeportland.org/2007/06/19/oregonian-opines-on-cyclings-gender-gap/

Janis
Guest
Janis

The group was formed because there are significant fewer women riding. We know there is a need to promote women and cycling.

Everyone is welcome because we know that both men and women are involved in the industry and community.

The goal of this group is promote women\’s cycling which in turn will benefit everyone.

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

Alison, I can understand where gear and equipment figures into things. To a lesser degree, I can also understand where education comes in, although my guess is that this would have more to do with a welcoming, supportive environment than the specific approach or the material itself (I\’m thinking of Ladies\’ Bike Night at North Portland Bikeworks here, if that helps).

But the infrastructure bit has me thoroughly bewildered. I don\’t see what infrastructure non-cycling women need to be encouraged to bike that isn\’t already accounted for by the push for what\’s often described as \”family friendly\” or otherwise \”safer\” infrastructure – completely debatable points in terms of the specific infrastructure, but not so much in terms of the general idea behind it all. Could you please elaborate on what infrastructure you or your group has in mind?

Dave
Guest
Dave

I wonder as well about the need to treat women differently in the sales process. I managed a bike store and found that the issue lies more with treating all customers with respect than with differentiating between sexes.

By talking to a customer and asking some basic questions and listening to the answers you should be able to place the customer on the correct bike regardless of gender. Ask what type of riding they expect to do? How often do they plan to ride? How far do they plan to ride? Are they riding off road, on groomed trails, paved trails or on the road?

Asking these questions will lead you to understanding their knowledge of bicycles and cycling and help you in finding the best bike for them, again regardless of gender.

The customers who could talk head tube angles, and top tube lengths like a design engineer weren\’t always the men.

steve
Guest
steve

Well put Dave!

Isn\’t equality simple?

I have never understood why people try and muck it up so much.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

\”I wonder as well about the need to treat women differently in the sales process.\”

Dave,

My hunch is that you wonder about this precisely because you are a man and it is impossible for you to know what the bike shop environment is like for some women.

Elly
Guest
Elly

So a group of women wants to organize and use their as-yet-largely-untapped influence to improve cycling for everyone. And they don\’t want to exclude anyone. What on earth is there to complain about? Here\’s a link to the press release from their first meeting, which might put things a bit more in perspective for all you critics:

http://bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=863

Women *often* have different experiences than men, are treated differently, are talked-down-to by bike industry professionals, have trouble finding bikes and gear that fit, and don\’t enjoy the adrenaline rush of using roads with zero bike amenities. Improving these things improves cycling for everyone. Getting more people on the roads, period, improves cycling for everyone, and women are a HUGE part of the potential riders who aren\’t out there yet.

Analogy: think about Mothers Against Drunk Driving. A group of mothers want to use their influence to improve society for everyone. Their message is much more powerful than if their group identity included all other types of parent, guardian, and family members, even though people of that description are active in the group.

One last thing: you could argue that nearly every other cycling group out there is a de facto \”Men for Bikes\” group. There are just more men cyclists, and the industry has long been geared toward that market. Shame on anyone who doesn\’t recognize that feminism still has a loooong way to go, in the bike world and everywhere else. And good for Women for Bikes for being inclusive and looking at ways that women can make things better for everyone.

beanphed
Guest
beanphed

My partner has had issues of being invisible by some male bike mechanics who ignore her when she walks in. Men will parade in after and get almost instant attention. She tried to address this discrepancy by pointing out that she doesn\’t get this treatment by women mechanics the response from the men was \”Well there\’s a woman working at the other store.\”

We were also out on the coast at a bike shop, with a lot of posters. All the men where in these action shots throwing their wheels in the air or diving through puddles, racing etc. The few women posters out were all breast augmented sales models for gears, cranks or some other sort of bike part. Where were the athletes? Where were the woman racers? Again, when my partner asks the owner he gets defensive. \”well people like that\” (he means men)

yeah so I see a need to address specifically women and bikes.

steve
Guest
steve

Elly-

The bike industry professionals I know are equal handed in their condescension and rudeness.

Also you should see the fellas falling over themselves to help the women who happen by our store. They are given a level of service that men rarely receive. And this is not just the cute ones. We really are quite thrilled when women who resemble our mothers, or grandmothers are in the shop.

Why the rush to assume all of us dumb, sexist bike shop employees need to be re-aligned to your agenda? This whole thing is demeaning and sad.

I would also point out, that every shop I have worked at, has clinics and training for how to pander to \’Women\’s special needs\’. Important to note that everyone of these is framed as a means to get your money!

Altruistic concerns are not the driver here. You are an untapped market and the industry is concerned about dollars, not feminism.

Part of the problem I see is in the goals your group puts forth. I am all for more women, men and animals on bikes.

What i am against is a group of people trying to change how I interact with others. A group deciding to stroll into my place of business, treat me like an unaware and sexist arse, and tell me how I should behave. Very demeaning.

I also find fault in trying to alter cyclists riding behaviour, with the model being the lowest common denominator. I do not want to ride my bicycle like a 50 year old who just started last week.

In return I will not crowd you or threaten you in any way. But please do not expect me to ride my bicycle while constantly worrying about how you feel when I pass you. I have seen you wobbling, and swerving along for quite some time as I approach and have no trouble moving around you safely.

And again, we are not discussing safety. It is the illusion of safety. We are talking about feelings and emotions that peple have when they are passed.

You can\’t grab the world, shake it real hard and have it suddenly a child like utopia. Experienced and faster cyclists have to deal with the slower novices. Slower cyclists in turn have to deal with us faster folks.

I don\’t see any organized attempts to force everyone to ride faster. We are leaving you alone, why do you have to hassle us?

Also MADD is very close to the type of groups that bought us Prohibition. I am always wary of people trying to make the world better for \’everyone\’. I have noticed that they are usually just trying to make it better for themselves and telling me what is best for myself.

Your post and this group have unaddressed stains of totalitarianism. I know that sounds dramatic, but you all smack of paternalism and authority. I am not overly concerned, as that photo shows 10 women in a room. Not really a groundswell movement there!

Cecil
Guest
Cecil

Dave said: \”I wonder as well about the need to treat women differently in the sales process.\”

We don\’t want to be treated \”differently.\” We want to be accorded the same amount of respect in our transactions at the LBS as is accorded to men. Sadly, that doesn\’t always happen. I have had a number of encounters with male bike mechanics and salespeople who make a whole lot of assumptions about the way I ride, where I ride, and what I should ride, based merely on the fact that I am female. Because of that, they often steer me toward services and products that are of no use to me. It\’s just like when I went to buy a car, and the salesperson ignored my questions about mechanical details and kept trying to direct my attention to things like cupholders and the thing that holds my gas cap while I fill the tank.

All we are asking is for those who we are dealing with to listen to our questions without first filtering them through sexist pre- and mis-conceptions.

ME
Guest
ME

Pretty exhausting stuff. What I\’m getting is that men and women alike get treated differently in different shop environments…depending on who\’s working that day, and what the the salespersons intentions are with the level of service they\’re giving… Easy.

steve
Guest
steve

Cecil-

I agree with everything you just said. For your own benefit and awareness, please note the following- This same thing happens to men!

It happens in any environment where the staff thinks they know more than the customer. It happens in electronics stores, gear shops, rock climbing gyms and on and on.

It is not a sexist thing, it is a cliqueist thing.

More importantly, is this really the biggest barrier to getting more women, or peple on bikes? Every study I have read says, no way!

Another consideration is how put off the shop employees will be by the \’curriculum\’ this group wants to produce. I guarantee you, that bringing that nonsense into a bike shop will be several steps backwards. You will be offending the staff, as well as making yourselves look ridiculous.

But what do I know, I only work in a bike shop and know what all my co-workers think of this crap. Both the men and women employees are completely sick of this nonsense. How do I know this? We talk about it! Right now in fact.

However, we would all love to see more women on bikes. More men too.

Nothing this group has put forth will help with that sadly. You all don\’t handle critique very well, by the way. You would think this would be valuable feedback, as I am a member of the sexist, condescending bike shop league!

Elly
Guest
Elly

Steve, it sounds like you probably treat men and women in your shop in the same way — if so, educational marketing organized by this group won\’t apply to you, and you can safely ignore it, as it sounds like you will. I can also vouch for it that they won\’t be oppressing your peasants, confiscating your land, or jailing your intellectuals either. Take it easy.

Mark Knapp
Guest

In my view, \”feminism\” in America is both greatly needed and often poorly implemented.  I have learned that there are generally masculine and feminine sides to human psychology and social interaction.  We live in a hyper-masculine society that is way out of balance.

The brand of feminism endorsed by the capitalist marketplace is to encourage woman to be more masculine.  The \”model woman\” is supposed to be someone who has both children and a corporate career.

The kind of feminism I advocate would lead to a society with greater cooperation, nurturing and listening — and less competition, agency and control.  Which types of behavior are promoted in our current organizations and businesses?  Which types of behavior do we see in our public spaces?

There is a strong association between gender and psychology — mostly due to hormones.  That\’s why \”feminine\” and \”masculine\” are used to categorize sets of behavior.  However, focusing on gender equity fails to address the root of the dysfunction.  The real issue is how to enhance the feminine virtues in all of us.

janis
Guest
janis

Hey Steve,

I\’d love to hear what shop you work for?

As for this group – why do you feel so threatened and outraged by it? There are all sorts of groups out there that help specific people. If you don\’t want to be part of them – don\’t be.

Janis

Mommy
Guest
Mommy

Guys, I know it\’s hard for you to understand, but even strong, modern women can be intimidated by activities that are male dominated. Men are more aggressive in general in how they approach things and so women tend to hang back. I don\’t have time to cite sources right now but there is a ton of research to support this in education and I\’m sure it extends to the rest of life, at least in my own experience it does. So if a group is gender neutral and it is an activity that is already male-dominated, the group is likely to become male-dominated and only the very bravest and boldest women will join or participate. It is not intended as a slap to men, I see it as a boost for women. I\’m sure that most of the cycling groups out there are already male-dominated. Aren\’t they?

Mark Knapp
Guest

Do our current bicycle shops act like cogs in the capitalist marketplace and encourage women to be more masculine?  Why is the look and feel of so many bicycle shops similar to that of an auto parts store?

What would a bicycle shop look like that had a greater feminine touch?  Wouldn\’t there be a much softer and inviting appearance?  Would there be decorative rugs and paintings on the wall?  Would they smell more like plastic, rubber and grease, or more like incense and flowers?

steve
Guest
steve

Janis-

I will never tell!

Also I am neither threatened, nor outraged. Offended and embarassed would sum up my feelings more adequately.

If you had bothered to read anything I wrote, you would know why I have issue with this groups implementation of it\’s goals. Not its existence, or it\’s goals, mind you. Its method, is where I have a complaint. Mainly as it is simplistic and reactionary, based solely on anecdotal and subjective viewpoints. Also, I feel there plans will be completely ineffective, if not outright damaging.

Even though I am a fella I have a stake in this. Both occupationally and emotionally. I love the industry and also happen to have two sisters, two grandmothers and a mom. Not to mention all the women I know, who I wish were on bikes. If this group is so inclusive why all the hostility towards my critique and opinions?

It is not a matter of not wanting to join the group, I don\’t want them waving a manifesto in my face, or harrassing me on my commute, with behaviour modification parties on the side of a bridge.

Matt Picio
Guest

\”I\’m sure that most of the cycling groups out there are already male-dominated. Aren\’t they?\”

I\’d say Shift! to Bikes is a definite exception to that, though Shift is so informal as to almost defy the definition of \”group\”. Shift has a very vocal, visible and active female component, which is one of the things I really appreciate about it. (the other main one being that I\’ve never felt unwelcome or discriminated against at any of their meetings or functions, regardless of my weight, riding speed, or fitness level)

Of course, when your mission is \”bike fun\” your appeal can be very widespread.

janis
Guest
janis

Steve,

There isn\’t any hostility, only an invitation…join us for our next meeting. Let\’s meet face to face and work on these issues.

And that invitation is open to all.

Janis

Mommy
Guest
Mommy

\”It is not a matter of not wanting to join the group, I don\’t want them waving a manifesto in my face, or harrassing me on my commute, with behaviour modification parties on the side of a bridge.\”

I have not been to these meetings, but I am willing to bet my life savings that this is not on their agenda nor something you need to worry about. I\’m hoping that there was an air of sarcasm in your tone that was missed because surely you can\’t be serious when you say stuff like that.

Terry
Guest
Terry

Cecil: \”All we are asking is for those who we are dealing with to listen to our questions without first filtering them through sexist pre- and mis-conceptions.\”

Mommy: \”…but even strong, modern women can be intimidated by activities that are male dominated.\”

I agree with both Cecil and Mommy\’s comments in general about the gender issues we all face. However, men, modern or otherwise, can also be intimidated by male-dominated activities.

I believe it to be a pre- and a mis-conception about men that leads to only women being offered opportunities to experience bicycle activities \”in a safe and comfortable atmosphere\” via women-only events. For example, the women-only bike rides offered by the City of Portland and the several bike shop clinics offered for women only.

I\’d ask the city and other groups to consider offering the same type of approach to teaching, sharing and learning about bicycles to persons who are not women. The only event I\’ve noticed that comes close to this is offered by North Portland Bike Works with their Women and Trans Night.

a.O
Guest
a.O

I\’m sensing some defensiveness and the debate getting a bit far afield, so I don\’t want to participate but I do want to make a few observations:

1. Every one of the generic negative experiences women have cited here re bike shops I have had. I believe there are unique bad experiences that women have that I don\’t or won\’t, but every one cited here I\’ve had.

2. I was sincere in my statement that I don\’t understand why you\’d call a group \”Women for Bikes\” if you encouraged everybody to attend. That was not intended as a dig or sarcasm. It makes me feel unwelcome, and it seems reasonable to expect that men would feel unwelcome given the name.

3. I\’m afraid I still don\’t understand the name thing. I agree that we need to increase riders and that there are unique issues associated with women riders and that, given the gender gap, that\’s an issue that deserves special focus. So, why not call it something like, \”People Encouraging Cycling\” or even \”People Promoting Women Bicyclists\”?

4. I\’m not trying to make an important point here, just some observations. I\’m glad somebody is tackling the issue of creating more women cyclists and I don\’t have time to participate anyway. I\’m not trying to come down on the group, and I hope they succeed.

5. I just hope people think in terms of inclusion because we\’re really all more similar than we are different. Also, I consider myself a feminist, despite what I regard as Mark Knapp\’s bad stereotypes and over-the-top pseudo psychology.

6. My new favorite quote is, \”[T]hey won\’t be oppressing your peasants, confiscating your land, or jailing your intellectuals… Take it easy.\”

steve
Guest
steve

Mommy-

No sarcasm in my post at all. The two activities are both explicitly stated in the original article. Those were the main \’ideas\’ this group came up with.

I agree that they are ridiculous ideas. They have actually already done one of them.

I am sure that my \’curiculum\’ will arrive any day now. Even though I have already studied, I am going to try and get an \’F\’, just for spite!

janis
Guest
janis

Terry,

The City of Portland does offer classes and rides that are not specific to women. They are very informational and tons of fun…you can check them out at:
http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=44099

Cheers, Janis

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

I believe it to be a pre- and a mis-conception about men that leads to only women being offered opportunities to experience bicycle activities \”in a safe and comfortable atmosphere\” via women-only events.

I\’ve had similar feelings on group-exclusive events, clinics etc. for a long time now, and after a lot of thought, I\’m convinced it basically comes down to the fact that you *can\’t* easily characterize men who aren\’t forthright ultra-assertive dudes bro-ing out unless you do so in a way that would be perceived as overwhelmingly negative in name. \”Socially Inept Men\’s Bike Ride\” or \”Mechanical Clinic for Guys With Low Self-esteem and Little in the Way of Confidence\” doesn\’t sound all that great. But because women have a long historical precedent of being a suppressed class of citizens frequently characterized as easily intimidated etc,, you *can* get away with making that generalization of women as a whole to help engage women who ARE intimidated for the sake of overcoming the problem, because the implication is in concept and not in the phrasing itself.

Confusing? You bet! An ass-backwards obstacle? You bet! An overwhelming less-obvious gap that needs some serious thought and strategy applied to it? You bet!

Any ideas?

ME
Guest
ME

steve, I think what Janis is saying is \”save us the effort of riding after you while trying to attach a manifesto to your handle bars… we\’ll personally hand one to you at our next meeting.\” Anywho, Janis, I think your group is hearing it from the inside, both positively and of course negatively. And unfortunately your message isn\’t getting out to those you are trying to reach, the new and apprehensive cyclists. Good luck!

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

The City of Portland does offer classes and rides that are not specific to women. They are very informational and tons of fun…

Not to speak for Terry, Janis, but I believe his implication was that it feels weird to have explicitly sanctioned women-only events while men who might be dealing with some (obviously not all!) similar issues don\’t have their own group and in a lot of ways *can\’t* due to both a) the ridicule from other \”normal\”-stereotype-matching men and b) the furor and allegations of \”OMG! Chauvinistic boys club! Why-oh-why?!?\” that would inevitably follow, unless of course the connecting issue was easily shifted onto another, more exclusive and historically suppressed or otherwise perceived minority group.

Please correct me if I\’m wrong, Terry.

Elly
Guest
Elly

Nik spurned the idea of:
\”Socially Inept Men\’s Bike Ride\” or \”Mechanical Clinic for Guys With Low Self-esteem and Little in the Way of Confidence\”

But I dunno, why not? Let\’s get a show of hands here, how many of you retiring gents would join in an Awkward Guy Ride next Pedalpalooza? Though I do see how it would be tempting to try to put on a bowtie and try to join in.

Terry
Guest
Terry

N.I.K., that\’s generally correct. There are men who wish to learn, whether it\’s bike riding in general, riding in a group, or learning maintenance skills, in an atmosphere that is of the type promoted in women-only events.

joy
Guest

Steve, please calm down and reread the article. Nowhere does it say that the group has a manifesto or curriculum to wave in your face or shove down your throat. The article very clearly states that one member merely \”suggested\” a curriculum as something the group could work on. I can assure you I\’ve been involved with enough groups to know a suggestion from one member is generally very far removed from becoming an action taken by the group.

Now that we\’ve cleared that up, I do have a couple of questions for you. Given the reality that the average American woman is between 5\’3\” and 5\’4\” tall and the average man is approximately 5\’9\”, can you honestly say that your shop stocks an equivalent number of bicycles that fit both? Women generally have narrower shoulders and smaller hands than men; if you do have an equal amount of stock, what percentage of that stock is women-specific? What about the better equipment; do you stock an equal number of high-end bicycles to fit both the average man and average woman? Do you carry an equivalent amount of technical clothing and other gear (helmets, women\’s specific shoes, gloves, socks, arm warmers, leg warmers, smaller sunglasses, etc.) to fit both men and women?

janis
Guest
janis

Terry, N.I.K.,

That is what those rides and clinics are about.

The women-only clinics and rides were designed because of the low number of women and what we heard as barriers. A lot of women that feel intimidated by getting on their bikes and riding with traffic feel more comfortable talking about those issues and learning in an all women environment. Is that so wrong? We aren\’t telling others that they can\’t form a group to help support them in an activity.

Also, my invitation was genuine. I enjoying talking face to face rather than on a blog where things can be misunderstood.

July will be a picnic – join us one and all.

Cheers, Janis

Mark Knapp
Guest

Anyone who thinks I was offering stereotypes is simply not understanding what I wrote.  The internet contains thousands of references to the masculine and feminine sides of the human mind.  Here are just two that I quickly found:

Masculine & Feminine: The Natural Flow of Opposites in the Psyche

The Jungian Interpretation of the Feminine

by Phyllis Kenevan

\”In the analytical psychology of Carl Jung, one finds very strong support for the feminine and no suggestion of women as the \’second sex.\’  If anything, there is an insistence upon the vital importance of the feminine, which a male-dominated culture has to its own detriment devalued.

According to Jung, both men and women are, in terms of the whole psyche (conscious and unconscious) androgynous; a woman has an unconscious contrasexual masculine side as part of her psyche, a man has an unconscious contrasexual feminine side.  This account is characteristic of Jung\’s general account of psychic life a operating in terms of the balancing of polarities.  The maculine-feminine polarity is then part of the general picture he gives of psychic life.  This view of the psyche as a balancing of polarities is not a theoretical deduction, according to Jung, but the fruit of his many years of experience, the result of what he calls a phenomenological approach to psychology.  From this phenomenology he claims to have discovered that there is what can be called a feminine consciousness that is different from the masculine.  Obviously, there is no rigid quantitative distinction implied.  What he means is that in general, men and women tend to relate to the world in different ways.\”

steve
Guest
steve

Good luck fellas. My shop has regularly scheduled Womens only rides, clinics and events.

I have been shouted down, threatened and ridiculed at every turn, for suggesting similar events are needed for novice male riders.

Generally these stalwarts of inclusion use language similar to Ms. Elly-

\”you could argue that nearly every other cycling group out there is a de facto \”Men for Bikes\” group.\”

Ladies, you do indeed have a long way to go!

steve
Guest
steve

Joy-

You must frequent small and outdated shops. Our shops women sextion is 3 times the size of the mens. The clothing stock is far greater than the mens and in a much larger selection.

We also have womens events, rides and clinics. Many of which offer discounts and services not available to men.

We do stock more unisex bikes than women specific, though that margin is decreasing year after year.

Every price point is represented by a womens model. All of our aftermarket fit specific stock is represented more heavily on the womens sizing, as it is needed to fit them properly when they choose a unisex bike.

This is generally picked due to color, or the fact that no one is yet making bikes for women over 5\’10\’\’.

The women in the statures you mentioned have a greater choice than men. We can easily adapt a unisex bike to their needs, or they can buy a womens bicycle, with smaller components and an altered frame geometry.

Sadly, you do not have the slightest idea what your are talking about!