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Thread: Women on Bikes

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    Default Women on Bikes

    On Monday night, WABA held their first Women's Bicycle Forum. They brought 8 panelists in to address the ever growing discussion on the gender gap in cycling.

    I attended the round table discussion to hear what these women had to say from their perspective - they came from bike shops, advocacy groups, bike[share] marketing and a general interest/experience in biking. If you missed out there have already been several write ups about the event (oh, the beauty of social media): TBD On Foot, CommuterPage (moi), goDCgo, and WJLA - News Channel 8. (and yes, at 39 seconds into the WJLA video, that giant face is mine).

    But as all of these sources will most likely remind you - we need to continue this conversation. So, I am interested to hear from everyone in the forum about your opinions on why the gender gap exists, and how we can solve it. More butts on bikes is great, but if those butts happen to be female....even better!

    All ideas and solutions welcome!

    Thanks everyone

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    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    More cycletracks! That will get more people, female and male, on bikes.

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    americancyclo is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    I asked the Lady last night why she doesn't bike commute and her answers were:

    1. wardrobe
    2. makeup
    3. transporting our 6 month old

    She's a sole proprietor, so appearance is very important, and she doesn't have a separate entrance to sneak in unseen. she's expressed interest in cycling again when the weather gets warmer, so that's promising, but her issues rule out all but the nicest of days.

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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    I caught whatever bug our daughter brought back from London, so missed the forum on Monday. I was bummed, but am glad to hear it went well.

    It's interesting that the Lady brought up transporting the kid as an excuse not to bike -- our 1-year-old LOVES the bike. She definitely prefers it to the car, even in the cold (we have a bobike mini with a wind screen, so it's much warmer than what we feel). The kid has to be able to sit up well for the seat to work, but once they can, it's awesome! We've already been researching cargo bike options for if/when our family grows - those can accommodate infants in car seats!

    I had hoped to raise questions of family biking at the forum -- my biggest complaint is the lack of local retail geared towards family biking (if anyone knows where I can test ride a bakfiets around here, PLEASE let me know). The irony is that my husband, who's at home with our daughter, is the one who usually bikes with her, so in our family, biking with kids isn't really a woman's issue.

    Maybe we could have a family biking forum in the future (I laugh as I type this, knowing that it would be a challenge for so many parents to attend)...

    As far as women's specific issues, I don't understand why wardrobe and makeup would prevent someone from biking. Ladies all over Europe bike, and most of them are much more stylish than me. With a step-through bike, a willingness to change shoes after locking up your bike and an understanding that you're not going to race anyone, there's no reason you couldn't bike in most outfits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    As far as women's specific issues, I don't understand why wardrobe and makeup would prevent someone from biking. Ladies all over Europe bike, and most of them are much more stylish than me. With a step-through bike, a willingness to change shoes after locking up your bike and an understanding that you're not going to race anyone, there's no reason you couldn't bike in most outfits.
    That depends on how far you are going. As usual, here in the US, we do everything BIG and those folks that live in the suburbs usually have fairly long bike commutes. Also, our hot and *humid* summers aren't usually experienced in Europe, at least not northern Europe. The Netherlands and Denmark usually experience very mild climates and are flat, flat, flat.

    If I were only biking around DC, thus short distances, I would probably wear street clothes most of the time. I tell people that if you can walk comfortably outside, there is no reason why you can't bike just as comfortably for short distances in regular clothes/makeup.

    I do think women have a harder time of it though when it comes to wardrobe since they often need/choose to haul jewelry, hair accessories, pantyhose, matching shoes/belts, make-up, etc. in their commuter bags. And hair that is any longer than a buzz cut is a royal pain in the arse to style quickly at work.

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    americancyclo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    It's interesting that the Lady brought up transporting the kid as an excuse not to bike -- our 1-year-old LOVES the bike. She definitely prefers it to the car, even in the cold (we have a bobike mini with a wind screen, so it's much warmer than what we feel). The kid has to be able to sit up well for the seat to work, but once they can, it's awesome!
    Yeah, our six month old is just now starting to sit up, so we haven't started looking for a trailer yet. I'm sure we'll have one by the time she's a year old though.

    I like the idea of a cargo bike with me pedaling, the Lady on back, and the little one in a child carrier on the rear deck, but again, probably not until at least next summer.

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    dasgeh's Avatar
    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    I definitely recommend the BoBike Mini over a trailer. It's one of those "front" seats, so the kid is in front of you, you can talk to him/her, see his/her face as s/he notices all the cool stuff in the world. Plus, it's a great way to show off a cool kids helmet.

    (I also don't trust the drivers around here not to run over trailers, but that's me being paranoid).

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    It's one of those "front" seats, so the kid is in front of you
    our nephew had something like that, the neon green one. The idea of the kid in front makes me uneasy. tiny little airbag.

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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    Quote Originally Posted by americancyclo View Post
    our nephew had something like that, the neon green one. The idea of the kid in front makes me uneasy. tiny little airbag.
    I think that's the iBert. I also thought they looked dangerous, before I really started researching it. It's actually more safe, especially for younger kids, because you can see and interact with the kid. If you think about it, it's safer in crashes (your arms are around the kid; back seats have the whole see-saw effect, trailers tip over and don't have the visability of a seat). Besides, with a kid on the bike, you're not going to be flying around super fast, weaving through traffic, riding on busy roads.

    The worst scare I've had was actually when I was out jogging with the jogging stroller on a sidewalk, and I can came flying down a ramp, out of a parking garage and almost mowed me and the baby down. Had nothing to do with the bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    I think that's the iBert. I also thought they looked dangerous, before I really started researching it. It's actually more safe, especially for younger kids, because you can see and interact with the kid. If you think about it, it's safer in crashes (your arms are around the kid; back seats have the whole see-saw effect, trailers tip over and don't have the visability of a seat).
    How does the bike handle with the extra weight on the front? And what do you do with it when there isn't a child in it? I have a Co-Pilot II and I drop my daughter off at daycare in the mornings and ride the rest of the way to work with an empty seat. I feel odd enough riding around with an empty rear seat and think an empty front seat would be even stranger.

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