Portland Wheelmen Touring Club to consider name change

Club members Ann Morrow (left) and Kathleen Hellem at a recent Sunday Parkways event.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

What do you think of when you hear the name Portland Wheelmen Touring Club?

Established in 1971, this is the oldest riding club in the area with a proud legacy of leading (daily!) group rides, raising funds for non-profits, and putting on great events like the Pioneer Century.

As they approach their 50th anniversary, PWTC is doing some soul-searching and club leaders say a name-change is a very real possibility.

In a note to members in their November newsletter, the club’s Board President Chip Kyle wrote, “The board believes that — with great trepidation – we need to reexamine our club name and how it represents who we are, what we do and how we want to grow.” The reason? The current crop of members is getting older and the club isn’t attracting new, younger riders. “We have seen that participation in our club rides comprises predominantly retired males,” he wrote.

Kyle also says, despite having many active women members, they’re frequently asked if women are allowed to participate.

After a recent club survey showed a majority of people think a new name is needed, the group plans to discuss the possibility at their monthly meeting Thursday night.

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“Women flat out tell us they won’t join with ‘Wheelmen’ in the club name.”
— Ann Morrow

Former club President (and member since 1992) Ann Morrow said the “Wheelmen” name made sense back when the club was founded (the national advocacy group League of American Bicyclists was the League of American Wheelmen until 1994). But these days Morrow acknowledges that word is a problem. “Women flat out tell us they won’t join with ‘Wheelmen’ in the club name,” she shared with me via email yesterday. “We are an inclusive club and women are very involved as ride leaders, board members and in various positions of power and responsibility. I personally do not know any Wheelperson who cares about gender identification as related to being a member of our club,” Morrow continued. “They are supportive and welcoming. But the name might suggest otherwise.”

Then there’s the “touring” part. That can be intimidating to some riders, she says, and it doesn’t even reflect the type of rides the club leads.

Morrow shared that the name change topic has come up for the club in the past, including in 2001 when it failed by a couple votes and the debate left many with hurt feelings. “We may have a more sympathetic membership now to get to a change,” Morrow says. “We do care about the misconceptions.”

But what should it be? At this point, all suggestions are welcome.

Learn more about the club at PWTC.com.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Esther
Esther
4 years ago

Brava! As a biker in the city in the early 00s I was looking for people to do longer rides with but everytime I looked at their schedule, saw the name and pictured the spandexed, male lawyers I saw riding downtown, who usually looked askance at my used schwinn and downtube shifters and rear rack, so I ended up just touring around by myself.

Gender inclusive language harms no one and welcomes many.

Gregg Lavender
4 years ago
Reply to  Esther

Comment of the week!

bert
bert
4 years ago
Reply to  Gregg Lavender

Who sees a group with “wheelmen” in the name and assumes it’s only for men? It’s obviously just meant to sound old-timey. Do we really need to constantly remind people that “everyone is welcome” everywhere? It used to just be an assumption that people would be nice to you and treat you with respect, but now it seems that everyone constantly has to push inclusivity ad nausem. When everything is apparently an oppressive struggle, you have to always tell people you’re “one of the good guys”.

Actions speak much louder than names and signs.

JP
JP
4 years ago
Reply to  bert

Who? Evidently lots of people. Probably not you, though, since your username (and tone) suggest you’re a man, which means you have no insight into how a non-man might perceive this name.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago
Reply to  JP

I think the OP has a point. If you simply change a name, it can seem like you are placating people. I mean, do those window signs at restaurants really make people feel welcome? Or is it the actual behaviors and attitudes of the people there? Anyone actually confused by the name can easily look up their website that makes it pretty obvious that this is not a “mens-only” club.

QZ
QZ
4 years ago
Reply to  JP

Why is the gender-inclusivity complaint only made at organizations with “men” in the name, yet there are plenty of organizations with female titles that don’t get the same level of scrutiny? (Which I fully support, by the way, if people feel they need a women-focused cycling group, it’s likely for a good reason, and they have every right to do so). You don’t see people arguing to change Mothers Against Drunk Driving to Parents Against Drunk Driving, do you?

Change the name or don’t; it really doesn’t matter. What matters is people’s attitudes and behaviors. If there are legit problems, then they should be dealt with, but I just don’t see how a name change is really that important to an organization. Likely just a PR move to get more people looking at them, like how the BTA changed to The Street Trust to garner more donations, yes still manages to do the same old nothing they’ve always done.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  QZ

The BTA was quite active at one time.

Middle of The Road Guy
Middle of The Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  JP

And yet here you are assigning a whole group of behaviors upon someone based upon what you perceive their gender to be based upon a single comment.

Matt S.
Matt S.
4 years ago
Reply to  Esther

Ewww, type A, consumer driven cyclists that hate their jobs, they’re the worst…

Middle of The Road Guy
Middle of The Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  Esther

Why did you let the judgment of others influences your choices?

Alex Reedin
Alex Reedin
4 years ago

Um, maybe because the whole point of going on a group ride rather than solo is to interact, hopefully on balance positively, with others?

JP
JP
4 years ago

Because she’s a human person with feelings? Jeez.

Middle of The Road Guy
Middle of The Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  JP

and we are all responsible for managing our feelings. I’m not responsible for yours and you are not responsible for mine.

JP
JP
4 years ago

And yet here you are questioning another person’s management of theirs…

Esther
Esther
4 years ago
Reply to  JP

It won’t let me reply to Middle of the Road Guy but MOTRG, you’re the one who’s assigning “feelings.” Their group name and ride descriptions told me pretty clearly they were not rides for me. I found other things to do. The end.

Eric Porter
Eric Porter
4 years ago
Reply to  Esther

Ha, my first ride with them was 10 years ago, on some weekday thing out to Gresham. They were all nice enough, mainly retirees (both men & women) on carbon bikes. I was the young guy on my old steel Rampar with downtube shifters. Haven’t ridden with them since, not sure why, just haven’t needed an organized ride club type of thing.

Zef Wagner
Zef Wagner
4 years ago

Keep it simple. Portland Cycling Club, something like that.

Dave
Dave
4 years ago
Reply to  Zef Wagner

Some of us in the club live in WA–how about Columbia River Cyclists?

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
4 years ago

They should have changed it in 1994 when the League of American Wheelmen changed theirs. That should have been the moment they realized it wasn’t a good name. That they’ve kept it for so long just goes to show how outdated the club is, right along with the Elks. Keep things like the good ol’ days and you end up with a thinning herd of old men slowly dying off until you’re forgotten.

Yes, change the name now while you are still relevant.

Bjorn
Bjorn
4 years ago

Elk is a gender neutral name… Bulls and Cows are the names for male and female elk. The Elks organization certainly has some issues and I know them well as I was a member who tried to make some changes in Corvallis for a number of years but the name isn’t the issue.

Ed
Ed
4 years ago

” thinning herd of old men slowly dying off until you’re forgotten.” Wow, nice Johnny! I had no idea the Wheelmen were such a pathetic lot! Funny how people can judge others so harshly for their perceived bias while simultaneously screaming bias of their own…

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
4 years ago

“Then there’s the “touring” part. That can be intimidating to some riders, she says, and it doesn’t even reflect the type of rides the club leads.”

I just looked at a week of rides on their calendar and there are ZERO that I would feel comfortable on. I’m a regular bike rider and I generally ride slowly and short distances. The only Slow ride listed is a Christmas Lights ride. It’s also the only ride under 20 miles. The next week is the same except that the short ride to BikeCraft is a Leisurely pace instead of Slow.

So yes, they most certainly do mainly “touring” rides as far as I’m concerned. Especially considering the distance to ride to the start and then ride back home from the end.

Ed
Ed
4 years ago

Look Johnny there are LOTS of riding groups here in Portland. For a city this size there’s an amazing amount that cater to people who think 20 mile is a loooong ride. And do “leisurely” rides For others 20 mile is it way too short a ride. Can’t you let a little diversity be at play here?

Kittens
Kittens
4 years ago

I dont know. I think it is kind of cute in a retro sort of way.

Alan Love
Alan Love
4 years ago
Reply to  Kittens

I’d go even more Steampunk: Portland Velocipedalists and Pennyfarthingers.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  Alan Love

That name is Brobdingnagian!

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
4 years ago

Another thing that would keep me from joining this group and going on rides is the helmet and waiver requirement. What kinds of crazy things are you people doing that requires a helmet and a waiver? I do most of my riding without either. Waivers are useless and won’t keep you from getting sued, but they will scare off people who thought they were going on a casual ride rather than joining a race.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)

This is true of most of the formal/organized rides, from Cycle Oregon to the Bridge Pedal and Worst Day Of The Year Ride.

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
4 years ago

The Bridge Pedal is a special event that shuts down roads and I’m sure requires insurance. It’s generally the insurance companies that cause you to sign the waiver. You can’t go on this ride without the waiver because they control who is allowed to go on the streets they’ve closed.

The Worst Day of the Year ride doesn’t require anything, it’s just a ride on regular open streets. If you want to be part of the costume contest and all of that then it becomes a special event that they want you to sign a waiver and wear a helmet for.

Just like the PBOT Portland By Cycle rides you don’t have to sign anything or wear a helmet to ride on the street.

It’s the “official” part that ruins these rides.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)

Unsure how you are distinguishing between “hey, it’s on open roads, I can come crash any ride I want” for things like Worst Day and a club ride from Wheelmen or others.

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
4 years ago

I’m not distinguishing. They’re the same thing.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)

These rides aren’t, and won’t ever be, for you then. But you knew that already. Even shift suggests waivers.

soren
soren
4 years ago

and bike stockholm syndrome helmet checks too.

Pat
Pat
4 years ago

untrue – PBOT requires helmets and a sign in.

soren
soren
4 years ago
Reply to  Pat

true: i’ve never worn a helmet at a pbot-sponsored ride. and no one has ever asked me to wear a helmet or sign in.

Pat@Boring
Pat@Boring
4 years ago
Reply to  soren

odd – because I was one of those ‘volunteer’ ambassadors on many of those rides and that was what we ambassadors did – pass around the sign in sheet and check for helmets. Sure – when we asked did everyone sign in, you may have lied. Who knows – it was a bit of an honor system. btw – the sign in sheet is also important to PBOT because they need evidence that folks are doing the rides so PBOT will continue to support them. Hopefully we’re talking about the same rides – I’m referring to Timo’s rides, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in the summer. There is no such requirement for Sunday Parkway rides.

soren
soren
4 years ago
Reply to  Pat@Boring

the last ride i did was the timo-hosted 130s greenway ride — i wore no helmet and did not sign in. no one appeared to have a problem with this.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  soren

I’ve signed in and been asked to wear helmets on a couple of PBOT type rides.

The point still holds, Soren, they are *supposed to*. OTOH you are also correct that the evidence about helmets- and the situations where it really matters- don’t fit the intuition that most people have.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago

But if you were being honest, you’d have to admit you wouldn’t join even without the helmet requirements and waiver.

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

You’re correct. But maybe only because I said as much in my post above this one that you likely read. I’m pointing out the numerous ways in which the club does not attract some riders. This thread is about the helmet and waiver requirements where as my last one was about the rides themselves.

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

And I can’t even form a proper response to your thinking I’m somehow lying about my opinions. Was I not being honest about the requirements? I can’t even think of where your line of thought is that you would suddenly call me a liar for expressing my distaste for their requirements.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago

Not calling you a liar, just don’t understand why you care about membership requirements for a club you don’t want to join. I don’t like that the Brantlee Country Club costs $1250 a year to join, but I wouldn’t join even if it were free, so I don’t complain about it.

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Because I want to go on more group bike rides but they all seem catered to fast riders. There have been so many groups that outwardly say they do slow rides but they’re all still faster than me. Pedalpalooza is the only time when there are multiple slow group rides to go on without helmets and waivers. Mostly I am left with the Friday night mystery rides the various bike groups do but they’re late at night.

B. Carfree
B. Carfree
4 years ago

There are probably hundreds (thousands?) of riders in the Portland area who agree with you. Maybe you should join a club and lead some slower rides or just form a new club. Insurance is available through LAB, and they don’t mandate that you require helmets in order to get the coverage.

jered
jered
4 years ago
Reply to  B. Carfree

I agree, there is ample opportunity create the ride and club you want in Portland!

You just need to do it.

The folks I ride with just formed a casual club to ride, race, hang out, road bike, mountain bike, tour, bikepack, ride jumps and do whatever else. Set a date, announce it to the world and GO! We ride thurdsays, moving into winter we’ll do Forest Park night rambles or meet at the Lumberyard and work on our skillz!

Dave
Dave
4 years ago
Reply to  B. Carfree

Whatever happened to Slug Velo?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago

If the club isn’t a good fit for you because they ride too fast, why are you complaining about their helmet requirements? Maybe you don’t like their logo either?

I think this might be a far more productive route:

Hey people, I’m looking for a group to ride around town with; I prefer fun to speed, don’t wear a helmet, hate waivers, and want to ride with others who feel the same way. Drop me a line!

meh
meh
4 years ago

All it takes to create a ride you like is to create a ride you like, submit it to the ride captain with a date and general description and you are now a ride leader. PWTC doesn’t dictate the on the calendar the members do. Those who get involved lead rides, those who don’t whine about it.

Middle of The Road Guy
Middle of The Road Guy
4 years ago

This sounds like displaced resentment.

BradWagon
4 years ago

My favorite thing about cycling right now is how much people like to complain that others aren’t providing something they want. Like… come on. Obviously there are people that like this kind of riding. Yes it’s fast, the Tuesday rides out of tualatin have some of the fastest times recorded on Strava in the area… and I’ve found the faster the rider the more fun and welcoming they are to ride with, these rides aren’t “catered” to anyone… it’s just the people that show up riding, if fast riders show up and like going fast it’s a fast ride, if slower riders show and and like to ride slow it’s a fast ride. Stop complaining that someone is giving you something because your preferences are different than there’s. The level of animosity that the average BP reader has towards cyclists that enjoy riding fast is a constant reminder why I don’t seek any of you or your events out IRL. AMD THATS OK, I don’t care that your preferences are different then mine, I’m not hear asking for a paceline group in the critical mass events. Haha

BradWagon
4 years ago
Reply to  BradWagon

Spelling is not currently my forte right now it looks like, haha. Lots of errors that are obvious to correct as you read.

Matt S.
Matt S.
4 years ago
Reply to  BradWagon

I believe this discussion is occurring because the PWTC’s membership is declining. Just like in a gym, you can lift the heavy weights that others don’t, only because there’s so many members that don’t use the gym. On the other hand, PWTC needs people to participate to remain viable. When they can’t, they’ll take their club money elsewhere.

Matt S.
Matt S.
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Free, ha, I want a club to pay me to participate. I have a carbon road bike, a nice slick kit, and shoes that cost more than Gucci sneakers. Oh, and I don’t smile or wave when I ride because I’m too serious “training”.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  Matt S.

Stereotype much?

Matt S.
Matt S.
4 years ago

Too close to home, eh?

Middle of The Road Guy
Middle of The Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  Matt S.

I like your style!

PS
PS
4 years ago
Reply to  Matt S.

Bro, you need to ride with my group then. We ride steel road bikes cause steel is real. We take our time and take lots of breaks. On our breaks we take drugs or drink beers, cause life ain’t worth living sober, ya dig. All our clothes are natural fiber, and if it rains our saddles are ruined, but that’s life, lol. We ride all the time, whenever, because responsibility is super lame and we are all unemployed, well there is that one guy who is an influencer. When we aren’t riding we mostly complain about being offended, the patriarchy and capitalism. Come ride any time.

Bjorn
Bjorn
4 years ago

A recent article by prominent lawyer and cyclist Bob Mionske on how to keep from losing everything if someone gets hurt on one of your rides most definitely suggests both waivers and incorporating and getting insurance. I am guessing the helmet requirement is a way to keep their insurance costs down. If a waiver was worthless I don’t think Bob would be suggesting that ride leaders use them.

https://www.velonews.com/2018/08/news/legally-speaking-group-ride-liability-part-1_477215

https://www.velonews.com/2018/11/road/legally-speaking-group-ride-liability-part-2_481324

Pat
Pat
4 years ago

Hi Johnny, An explanation may be helpful. Since PWTC is an organized club and not just a meet up the helmet and waiver are required by the insurance company that covers not just club/members’ liability but riders (non members for first ride, club members for all rides) in case of a gap in medical coverage.

Ed
Ed
4 years ago

In interesting if very naive opinion. Ask ANY lawyer about events a registered legal entity puts on and see what you’re told. Of course in a nation that takes no individual responsibility for anything we all can be sued for anything at any time, but these are measure to reduce exposure. I don’t like it either but to put this on the Wheelman is just unfair and wrong.

Ben
Ben
4 years ago

A long overdue change. I’d keep it simple and go with “Portland Bicycle Club”

Sam Peterson
Sam Peterson
4 years ago
Reply to  Ben

This is better than “Portland Cycling Club”. There is already a well established “PCC”, but we don’t yet have “PBC”.

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
4 years ago
Reply to  Sam Peterson

I don’t like the word “cycling” because it includes motorcycles.

Which is odd because pro bicyclists usually prefer the term “cyclist” over the term “biker”.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago

“Cycling” also implies just going around and around endlessly, not getting places and doing things. We need a word that better captures the utility of riding. Something like “bikemobling”.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

A word which, I’ll add, as a Danish sort of awkwardness about it, a bit of flatland pickled herring North Sea/Baltic hipster chic, with just a whiff of aquavit.

Ed
Ed
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Please tell me you’re kidding here, as this is tuning into a bad Portlandia outtake skit. Does “motorist” imply people driving around aimlessly, as “cyclist” apparently does for you? If not , why not? Should we change “motorist ” to something else then (what?) to be more acceptable to you? Do people really think this way?! Like if my understanding of a word is incomplete or wrongly assumptive… then I want the word changed! Hello Kitty, “cycling” does not imply “just going around and around endlessly, not getting places or doing things” in the larger world outside your head or outside of your prejudices. Of course you’re entitled to your opinion and perhaps I should let this slide with a chuckle, but this language policing and revisionism makes me uneasy. Let’s spend our energy on something meaningful.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  Ed

I am dead serious. We must define the future of our mode of locomotion, and not let detractors (some of whom lurk in our midst) do it for us. I wouldn’t joke about something like this.

jered
jered
4 years ago

I prefer the term “Getting rad on my wheels” or “smile maker” because they include all my devices that have wheels and I like to be inclusive. On some days I also say “lets go play on the rad-makers”.

Matt S.
Matt S.
4 years ago

Ask anyone what they think about Biker Clubs, I’m sure you’ll get some interesting responses.

Chainstays
Chainstays
4 years ago

I believe the group has a number of rides in the SW Washington area as well. Johnny, this could be one reason for the helmet requirement. So, for a name, I would suggest Bridge Bicycling Club or Columbia Cycling Club.

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
4 years ago
Reply to  Chainstays

“I believe the group has a number of rides in the SW Washington area as well.”

I think you meant to say Vancouver, as Washington has no helmet law.

Like the Back in the Saddle ride on Saturday. Another example of a poor attempt at inclusion.

“Find out why bicycling is such a popular sport”

But only if you can ride 13-15 MPH for 20 miles.

Although since you seem to need to be a member to go on the rides I guess you already know what it will be like and you’re already in good enough shape, even though this is aimed at non-members who don’t ride much.

Fail.

Chainstays
Chainstays
4 years ago

Indeed, but if you are riding in SW Washington from Portland, you’re most likely riding through Vancouver!

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
4 years ago
Reply to  Chainstays

I usually take my helmet with me to Vancouver to wear through downtown uphill during the day. That’s just to keep from getting hassled by police. I usually don’t wear it on the return trip because I don’t go through downtown. I go through downtown on the way there because the I-5 bridge is so much better than the I-205 bridge. Oh, and because Ellsworth sucks to bike up.

dan
dan
4 years ago

I always wondered about people I see carrying their helmets. Isn’t it easier to wear it than carry it?

Alex Reedin
Alex Reedin
4 years ago
Reply to  dan

Easier, but less comfortable and sweatier. When I lived in Portland, I would lug mine around (in the box of my box-bike, so it really wasn’t hard to lug around) all winter. I’d put it on if I needed a device to keep my baseball cap on, so as to keep the rain (mostly) off my glasses. I’d also put it on when I felt conditions were stressing out people driving more, because of my guess that helmet-wearers are less likely to get yelled at or intentionally buzzed by people driving.

Jay Dedd
Jay Dedd
4 years ago
Reply to  Alex Reedin

No need to guess, as long as you’re OK with data from the U.K. and Australia. (TL;DR: People in cars pass helmet-wearers more closely.) https://www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2018/11/14/motorists-punish-helmet-wearing-cyclists-with-close-passes-confirms-data-recrunch/#53b9f8348593

Ed
Ed
4 years ago
Reply to  Alex Reedin

Actually Alex, the opposite is true. Perhaps counterintuitive but a number of studies reveal that motorists actually give more room to non-helmeted cyclists. (an average of 3 inches more when passing in one particularity well done one) Makes sense really, a kitted and geared up cyclist looks like a “pro” to some motorists, so “less need to be careful” of them. And for some cycling haters a red flag to, if anything, harass more! But an individual in street clothes and no helmet might appear less predictable and in need of more caution. AND this person more resembles a neighbor, friend relative, spouse etc. Not one of THOSE people (cyclists 😉 All somewhat unconsciously here, this stuff. These studies indicate riding without a helmet can ironically actually be safer than with!

Pat
Pat
4 years ago

Hi Johnny, you don’t need to be a member to ride. Plus the club is offering some slower rides. I agree, however, that short slower fun rides would be great. PBOT offers these during the summer – you may want to check out Portland BiCycling for their Tuesday and Wednesday evening rides around the city. They are generally 8-10 miles and great for all kinds of riders.

yarp
yarp
4 years ago

I’ve long thought that Feminism needs rebranded as well. As Esther said above-

“Gender inclusive language harms no one and welcomes many.”

Esther
Esther
4 years ago
Reply to  yarp

yarp
I’ve long thought that Feminism needs rebranded as well. As Esther said above-“Gender inclusive language harms no one and welcomes many.”Recommended 0

Who exactly is being left out of the word “feminism”?

Matt S.
Matt S.
4 years ago
Reply to  Esther

Maybe we call it equalism 🙂 j/k

Middle of The Road Guy
Middle of The Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  Matt S.

That’s exactly what I call it.

Esther
Esther
4 years ago

Why do you think a word that literally means “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes” is inadequate to convey equality? By that measure maybe we should then rename BikePortland to MovePortland since it leaves out transit users, pedestrians, and drivers who are sympathetic to prioritizing bicycle facilities *headdesk*

Matt S.
Matt S.
4 years ago
Reply to  Esther

Origin of feminism
1840–45; < Latin fēmina “woman” + English -ism; 1890-95 for sense of “women's movement” (from feminist, adjective); see feminine; cf. French féminisme

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  Matt S.

“origin” doesn’t mean the same as “definition”. Here’s Merriam Webster’s two definitions for the word, I believe Esther is using the first (eg most popular) description:

Definition of feminism
1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

In any case, why does this threaten you so horribly?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  Matt S.

Probably for the same reasons people feel horribly threatened by a club called the “wheelmen”. Except in one case we’re talking about a small club of cycling enthusiasts, and in another a widespread international political and social movement.

Matt S.
Matt S.
4 years ago
Reply to  Matt S.

I’m just being antagonist, or rather, naive if than anything. We’re debating the word, men, in wheelman. Someone brought up feminism and I jokingly said equalism, in attempt to highlight the prefix, fem. Then I quickly googled it and did a haphazard copy and paste. Maybe it wasn’t as funny as I thought, I was just trying to draw a caricature of the nuence of this debate. It’s not respectful and I apologize.

Matt S.
Matt S.
4 years ago
Reply to  Matt S.

Or root word, see, I don’t know what I’m talking about…

KJ
KJ
4 years ago

Tacoma’s club already dropped it, didn’t seem like it bothered anyone!

yarp
yarp
4 years ago

George Carlin:

“When it comes to changing the language, I think they make some good points. Because we do think in language. And so the quality of our thoughts and ideas can only be as good as the quality of our language. So maybe some of this patriarchal sh!t ought to go away. I think “spokesman” ought to be “spokesperson.” I think “chairman” ought to be “chairperson.” I think “mankind” ought to be “humankind.” But they take it too far, they take themselves too seriously, they exaggerate. They want me to call that thing in the street a “personhole cover.” I think that’s taking it a little bit too far!

What would you call a ladies’ man, a “person’s person”? That would make a he-man an “it-person.” Little kids would be afraid of the “boogie-person.” They’d look up in the sky and see the “person in the moon.” Guys would say “come back here and fight like a person,” and we’d all sing “For It’s a Jolly Good Person,” that’s the kind of thing you would hear on “Late Night with David Letterperson”! You know what I mean?”

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  yarp

Personally, I agree!

Ed
Ed
4 years ago
Reply to  yarp

And with that hopefully we can call off the Maoist language police that have been let loose here!

Kiel Johnson / Go By Bike

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance has a nice ring to it 🙂

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago

And it’s unclaimed!

Maria
Maria
4 years ago

First, I’d like to say I ride with the PWTC all the time and I’m a cis-lady.
Second, for those ruffled by the waiver/helmet requirement, this is because their insurance (which is likely through an American League Bicyclists) requires those things.
Third, if you want shorter/slower rides to exist within a club, join and lead!
Fourth, I bet if the acronym stays the same it would be helpful for the jersey, website and other branding.
Fifth, please everyone, stop shaming some bike riders for wearing spandex. I, for one, love me some stretchy pants!
And, finally, I propose Portland Two Wheeling Cyclists. Thanks for reading my long list!

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Reply to  Maria

Spandex is great! For long or fast rides, there’s a reason it is used, not simply because people like the look ^-^

Sometimes I just put bike shorts under a regular outfit so I look more normal when I’m tooling around town. And there are several brands of “panties with chamois” for the same reason.

The Terry product line makes me jealous. Such great style.

Robert Daugherty
Robert Daugherty
4 years ago
Reply to  Maria

Wait that would be “PTWC” not “PWTC”

Maria
4 years ago

Great for dyslexics!!

B. Carfree
B. Carfree
4 years ago
Reply to  Maria

I seriously doubt if the insurance through LAB has changed over the past couple of years such that it now requires helmets on club rides (after decades of not requiring them). Many clubs choose to put a helmet requirement in and then claim that the insurance mandates it, but the insurance is unlikely to be the source of such a policy.

Alex Reedin, now in Albuquerque, NM
Alex Reedin, now in Albuquerque, NM
4 years ago
Reply to  Maria

Portlanders on Wonderful day-Trips by Cycle?

Dave
Dave
4 years ago
Reply to  Maria

Maria, isn’t it funny that people who are riding bicycles are repulsed and it seems frightened by–looking like they are riding bicycles! I’m an old, fat, slow guy but have been riding too long to feel weird dressed like I’m riding a bike when I am, in fact, riding a bike!

Q
Q
4 years ago

And the march of the pc zealot continues unabated. Lets rename huMANs while we’re at it.

Ben
Ben
4 years ago
Reply to  Q

You need to brush up on your etymology. “Human” is derived from the Latin “humanus” and “man” from the proto-Germanic “mann.” The words are unrelated. You comment is like saying the words “history” or “manufacturing” are gendered. They are not.

tom martin
tom martin
4 years ago

Nobody likes change, least of all white cis men. [Full disclosure: I am that demographic]. Changing it to something more gender inclusive–in name only–is 25 years overdue, if PWTC is to read the writing on the walls. Changing the name is easy though; the hard part is instituting actual gender and POC inclusive actions, both internally and externally. It’s a long time coming. The collective manhood will not be diminished if more non man people join a no-drop ride.

And spare us the “PC” bellyaching. How many of y’all menfolk will ride a ‘ladies bike’ (a mixte for example, or the low entry bikes that are useful for e-bikes, cargo bikes, commuters, etc) if you think gender classifications and roles don’t matter and you believe you are ‘gender blind?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  tom martin

Any man riding one of the Biketown tanks is willing to ride a “lady bike”.

Middle of The Road Guy
Middle of The Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Or have a basket.

Maria
Maria
4 years ago

For the record, I am not Hello Kitty, I am Bicycle Kitty and always comment on Bike Portland as Maria. Smiley face, heart, rainbow, unicorn.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  Maria

Hello, Bicycle Kitty.

Ken S
Ken S
4 years ago
Reply to  tom martin

I second the no-drop ride idea!
The Tuesday night ride routes are fun and keeping up a 20mph avg pace is an interesting challenge, but it’s not something I can do every week.

Sometimes life gets in the way of being in perfect shape, and you want to ride with a group without getting dropped 20 miles from town, on Mountain Top rd, at 8pm…

Stephen J Sanow
Stephen J Sanow
4 years ago

Borrow from the Brits:
“Portland Bummel Riders” or “Rose City Bicycle Bimblers”.

q
q
4 years ago

If they change their name, they’ll finally be able to eat quiche!

Stephen Keller
Stephen Keller
4 years ago

It doesn’t matter what name they choose. We won’t join as long as 14 mph is their leisurely pace. Keri and just can’t keep up with them.

Stephen Keller
Stephen Keller
4 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Keller

We were members for two years, so it wasn’t a question of not trying.

meh
meh
4 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Keller

Did you ever lead a ride with a stated slower pace? When I was a member there weren’t a lot of west side rides, so I created my own and posted them in the ride calendar. The club is what you make of it.

Stephen Keller
Stephen Keller
4 years ago
Reply to  meh

That’s a fair question, and no we did not do that. At the time we were new enough to cyclIng to be a little unsure of what was considered reasonable. Perhaps we would do things differently now.

Stph

SilkySlim
SilkySlim
4 years ago

I have a buddy that does one of their weekly rides. Based on his ride description, which included repeated sprints for Strava KOMs and other macho/aggressive acts of one-upmanship, perhaps the name is apt!! And maybe once I get in better shape I’ll get out there to join!

Maria
4 years ago
Reply to  SilkySlim

Hey Slim, did I understand you correctly? PWTC should keep “men” in the name because the rides are challenging and aggresssive? Let’s go for a ride.

grannygear
grannygear
4 years ago

Hmmm….. will the sprockets consider a name change. It is 2018

Racer X
Racer X
4 years ago

Bravo…definitely should be less geographic centric. How about The Wheelman!?

Jessie
Jessie
4 years ago

Since 1989, about once a decade, when I have one of my, “I’ve gotten really fit!” moments, I have tried one of their “easy” rides. Each time, I haven’t even made it out of the starting gate on my Elekra Townie before they leave me standing in the middle of the road, crying. I hate that group. Maybe a name change will help.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  Jessie

I don’t think a name change will help.

tom martin
tom martin
4 years ago

Jessie
Since 1989, about once a decade, when I have one of my, “I’ve gotten really fit!” moments, I have tried one of their “easy” rides. Each time, I haven’t even made it out of the starting gate on my Elekra Townie before they leave me standing in the middle of the road, crying. I hate that group. Maybe a name change will help.Recommended 0

A townie may not be the best bike to bring on those rides. I def wouldn’t bring the carbon road bike on a gravel ride, or either of those on a fixed gear alleycat. Still, when there’s communication that it’s a no drop ride and the ride goes off only to drop all but the strongest riders, it’s not helping maintain membership. My call for inclusiveness in group rides is less about equipment requirements or fitness levels, but of social and gender roles.

GlowBoy
GlowBoy
4 years ago
Reply to  tom martin

Nothing wrong with a Townie. I bought a used one this year (though I immediately ditched the horrible stock saddle). Getting my butt further behind the pedals works better for me, biomechanically, than traditional bike geometry.

Funny how people look at these bikes and assume they’re slow. I actually put out more power in this position. Despite being less aero, I’m just as fast on my Townie as on my more traditional bikes, and actually faster on climbs. I’ve done plenty of 50+ mile rides so far on it, arriving more refreshed and in the same amount of time as on a bike with traditional racing-inspired, gonad-compressing geometry.

I’ve done a few Wheelmen rides, and would do no worse (or better, for what it’s worth!) on them with my Townie than I did on a traditional road bike.

grannygear
grannygear
4 years ago

tom martin

Jessie Since 1989, about once a decade, when I have one of my, “I’ve gotten really fit!” moments, I have tried one of their “easy” rides. Each time, I haven’t even made it out of the starting gate on my Elekra Townie before they leave me standing in the middle of the road, crying. I hate that group. Maybe a name change will help.Recommended 0

A townie may not be the best bike to bring on those rides. I def wouldn’t bring the carbon road bike on a gravel ride, or either of those on a fixed gear alleycat. Still, when there’s communication that it’s a no drop ride and the ride goes off only to drop all but the strongest riders, it’s not helping maintain membership. My call for inclusiveness in group rides is less about equipment requirements or fitness levels, but of social and gender roles.Recommended 0

This is so far off topic, but I’ll give it a shot:
Train hard. Maintain your gear. Come prepared for the activity.
Just like I would get schooled at the local pick up basket ball game and vibed off the waves as a kook at north shore, respect who you are surounding yourselves with so you can “participate.” All groups and wheelfolx are allowing those who come prepared, are able to repair their flats, able to ride next to, wont be killed because they forgot thier helmet, and are self aware enough to silence their phones to join.
Put in some time and “pay” the entry fee. Not every activity is a kids birthday party at the bowling ally with gutter bumpers so you can tell your friends at work on monday that you participated.

Mike Quigley
Mike Quigley
4 years ago
Reply to  grannygear

What’s wrong with riding by yourself? How come Portlanders seem to prefer mob scenes when it comes to riding a bicycle?

Let's Active
Let's Active
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike Quigley

Maybe companionship, friendship, good times with others? Like any other social activity centered on a sporting outing.

Middle of The Road Guy
Middle of The Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  Let's Active

Thank goodness my multiple personalities allow me to always be on a group ride.

Matt S.
Matt S.
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike Quigley

I have tens-of-thousands of miles riding by myself. It’s now very hard to motivate myself to go ride solo, but when friends are doing it, no problem.

dan
dan
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike Quigley

Safety in numbers on those rural roads is #1 for me – more visibility, someone to provide first aid / call an ambulance if needed, maybe less harassment from drivers. Having someone else there to push you is #2.

q
q
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike Quigley

I don’t think people do prefer the “mob scene”. I see a bike path from my window. I’d guess about 90% ride alone, another 9% ride with one other person, and the remaining 1% are in groups of 3 or more.

WyEast rider
WyEast rider
4 years ago

As a teenage girl in the early 70’s, I rode with the Seven Hills Wheelmen in Central Massachusetts. I recall going to one of their meeting and asking them to change the name from “Wheelmen”. The room was had about 20 men and 2-3 women.

RICHARD CARLESON
RICHARD CARLESON
4 years ago

Portland Bike Rides (PBR) change the name to that and watch the membership grow.

Rebecca Hamilton
Rebecca Hamilton
4 years ago

Sponsorship opportunities!

hotrodder
hotrodder
4 years ago

Change it to the Portland Wheelers Touring Club.
Maybe Ted will chip in a few bucks from the general fund.
Jerseys and websites stay relevant.

Middle of The Road Guy
Middle of The Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  hotrodder

It sounds like an advocacy group for Urban Campers.

Matt S.
Matt S.
4 years ago

Portland Bicycle Touring Club
Portland Wheel Touring Club
Portland Touring Club
Portland Bicycle Touring Group
Portland Cycle Touring Club
Portland …

Have a both a male and female in the logo drawn in current style.

Not that hard.

I have done a few events with this club, they’re great.

Middle of The Road Guy
Middle of The Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  Matt S.

“Non-binary” folks will have an issue with it.

Barbara
Barbara
4 years ago

Club waivers have to do with club insurance & protecting club members from being involved in lawsuits. Randonneurs USA law suite by a rider’s family member killed while riding a permanent. Until it’s resolved the Permanents program which you participate on your own is suspended.

As far a PWTC gave up on them in the 1980’s. They made it clear when you showed up for a ride it as to go as fast as possible or be dropped. There really was no reason to ride with them since you’d be alone very soon. More than once would I come upon a bicyclist stopping me in the gorge saying they went on a PWTC ride, got dropped & had know idea where they were.

Pat
Pat
4 years ago
Reply to  Barbara

Hi Barbara, Perhaps time to check in again. Some of the club rides will definitely drop slower riders. I’m a slower member and unless I have a good map, I don’t ride those rides, but there are also ‘re-group’ and group rides and many rides now have online maps so you can check out the route before coming and decide if suitable.

Richard Herbin
Richard Herbin
4 years ago

I like “Touring”, it evokes images of people on open top Model T’s wearing jaunty caps and flowing silk scarves.

BikeRound
BikeRound
4 years ago

While the phrase “women members” is grammatically correct (“women” in this case serves as an attributive noun, similarly to an expression like “steel door”), it is unnecessarily clunky. Just say “female members.”

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  BikeRound

On what basis is “women members” more clunky than “female members”? Syllable count? Number of consecutive “m” sounds? Lack of having fewer letters?

Middle of The Road Guy
Middle of The Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

“chicks”?

dan
dan
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Women members and men members then? Sure sounds clunky to my ear. I mean, “men members”?

BikeRound
BikeRound
4 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

It is clunky because generally we expect an adjective to modify a noun.

q
q
4 years ago
Reply to  BikeRound

Did you learn that as a college student? Or in a high school class? Or at a book club meeting?

BikeRound
BikeRound
4 years ago
Reply to  q

You mean how did I learn about attributive nouns? I actually learned about that from an article in the Economist in which they were discussing–prior to the election–whether a Clinton presidency should be called the first woman presidency or the first female presidency. However, I am also learning Dutch so I had to brush up on a lot of my grammar rules. It is amazing how much studying a foreign language can also help you with a language that you already speak.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
4 years ago
Reply to  BikeRound

The presidency will never be female, no matter who is in office. Nor, should I add, will it be male.

soren
soren
4 years ago

Eben “Bike Snob” Weiss take on the helmet policing of bike clubs and roadies:

when it comes to living the All Helmets, All the Time lifestyle, no group of cyclists has bought in more completely than the roadies. You can still show up at your local advocacy meeting with nothing on your head save for your vintage cycling cap and for the most part your fellow do-gooders will hardly look up from their couscous. But roll up at the Sunday group ride with your locks flowing in the wind like a Flandrian cresting the Mur de Huy in the ‘70s and you’ll find yourself greeted like your B sample just came back positive.”

https://www.outsideonline.com/2359061/jackson-hole-fat-biking-heaven

dwk
dwk
4 years ago
Reply to  soren

I have personally crashed and broke 2 helmets…. I am sure I am not alone if you ride much at all.
Why do you promote myths here? There is scientific research that shows wearing a helmet on a bike or on a motorcycle greatly reduces head injuries.
T

soren impey
soren impey
4 years ago
Reply to  dwk

Thanks for your unsupported “opinion” in response to a piece that actually contained links and citations!

The epidemiological evidence is mixed (lots of confounding factors) but case-controlled before and after studies find little effect of helmet use on head injuries. If helmet use had any significant impact on safety it would show up in this data and the fact that it does not is a huge counterfactual.

https://www.bmj.com/content/332/7543/722.2.full

An image depicting data from one of the case-controlled studies discussed in the systematic review I linked to (HI = head injuries):

comment image

And then there is this set of retractions by the CDC and NHTSA:

https://www.waba.org/blog/2013/06/feds-withdraw-claim-that-bike-helmets-are-85-percent-effective/

(I should also note that these epidemiological studies provide lower quality evidence than case-controlled studies cited in the systematic review above.)

“But they found less of a beneficial effects than Dr. Thompson found in Seattle. Some of the studies also found that helmets increase the risk of neck injuries.”

dwk
dwk
4 years ago
Reply to  soren impey

My “opinion” is that my head it the pavement at 20 mph…
I am sure it hurt less with a helmet on.

grannygear
grannygear
4 years ago

soren
Eben “Bike Snob” Weiss take on the helmet policing of bike clubs and roadies:“when it comes to living the All Helmets, All the Time lifestyle, no group of cyclists has bought in more completely than the roadies. You can still show up at your local advocacy meeting with nothing on your head save for your vintage cycling cap and for the most part your fellow do-gooders will hardly look up from their couscous. But roll up at the Sunday group ride with your locks flowing in the wind like a Flandrian cresting the Mur de Huy in the ‘70s and you’ll find yourself greeted like your B sample just came back positive.”https://www.outsideonline.com/2359061/jackson-hole-fat-biking-heavenRecommended 0

There will always be outliers. And although cute, Weiss is incorrect on this one.

Ryan
Ryan
4 years ago

Have to admit, when I first saw the name all I could think of was older retired guys going on leisurely all-day/multi-day bike trips. I decided to check out their website one day anyways just to see, and discovered differently. Still haven’t had a chance to go on a ride with them (family/work/life/etc… makes it so that I usually have to start no later than 6am if I want to get a decent ride in), but I’d like to catch one sometime. All the PC stuff aside, I think changing names would be a good idea if the goal is more, younger members. A lot of people could think the same as I did after hearing the name, but never take the time to look them up.

Jillian
Jillian
4 years ago
Reply to  Ryan

Yes, I think this gets at the issue that I see – the current name is poor branding, and isn’t something young people / women / whoever isn’t joining, can relate to/identify with. When I first moved back to Portland from Seattle, I searched around for all of the clubs that might offer group rides that I could get involved with. When I saw “Portland Wheelmen” it definitely was a turnoff, because not only was my first reaction that it felt non-inclusive to me as a woman, but also that this was an out-dated club if they were still using gendered language that wasn’t representative of modern times. Now, I still looked into it, and of course didn’t assume that just because “wheelmen” was in the title that I wasn’t invited to ride or be involved. And I have looked into joining rides – but none that are in my slower speed range (11-13mph) have really been at times/days that work for me as a working professional, which also leads me to believe they are focused on a smaller niche of a market (retired people and faster riders which are usually men).

So yes, I think it does come down to their current brand isn’t serving them well, if they want to draw in new, broader, younger membership. And clearly from the comments they aren’t drawing a broad crowd, due to not having rides at slower speeds/shorter lengths at times that work for people who work 9-5 jobs. (And yes, certainly – the people who need those rides could lead them, but I imagine a lot of people in that category may be newer riders, or less fit, or have other concerns that make it a scary proposition to be a ride leader.)

It sounds to me like PWTC might think about what population they want to include as members, and reach out to people of that population to see what their needs/wants are (possible side effect – just by doing that they may gain more membership & involvement). Because it does appear from these comments that, as one reader pointed out, perhaps just dropping “wheelmen” isn’t the only issue holding people back from joining.

It excites me that this is being looked into, as I’ve really missed out on the Cascade Bicycle Club up in Seattle, and PWTC seems to be the closest thing in that sort of arena that I can find. Would love to see this club really blossom to serve the broader cycling community here in the Portland/Vancouver area.

Anna
Anna
4 years ago

PWTC: Portland 2-wheeled touring club; Portland wants to cycle

Alex Reedin
Alex Reedin
4 years ago
Reply to  Anna

I like Portland Wants To Cycle! It removes the two negatives noted with the old name, and has a charming approachability.

Bennett
Bennett
4 years ago

The problem with the name “Portland Wheelmen” isn’t that it sounds exclusive of women, it’s that it sounds super boring and vague.