Anything that gets first time and/or less-than-enthusiastic cyclists out on their bikes I'm all for. If its a ride to be seen in. If its a style thing. If its a status thing. Whatever, more cyclists no matter how they come to the table is a good thing.
Does the industry have a problem catering to certain segments? Absolutely, that means there's room for improvement. Women have it particularly bad. Its better than it was, and it will continue to improve. Everyday commuters who dont want to drop major coin have to be a little more resourceful as well. But again, it is better than it was.
People are finally starting to see bicycles as more than a kids toy that some town drunk has to ride around because he got too many DUI's. And the bicycle industry is realizing (slowly) that not everyone wants to be like Lance.
Now you damn kids get off my lawn!!
As a woman who knows a lot of women and talks to lots of people about cycling more, I'd say there are lots of reasons more women don't bike. And while it would be great to address all of them, addressing any of them will help some.
I agree safety is the number one reason, but really it's a perception of safety more than anything, and the more people you see biking, especially the more "people like me" you see biking, the safer it seems to be.
Style is another reason, but I would argue more because of the "people like me" line of thinking -- When you see someone on a bike wearing crazy spandex or any other style of clothes that you just don't wear (like if you're a tweed-clad hipster yourself, and you see someone in jeans, or vice versa), you don't immediately think "oh, that person looks like me, just on a bike". When you see someone on a bike that does look like you, just on a bike, then you think "huh, I bet I could be on a bike". That's why I think CaBi is so awesome, because you see all types going all types of places, and inevitably someone who doesn't bike now will see someone just like them going to where they're going, and realize the bike is the better option. Or at least a really great option.
Practicality is another big reason -- when someone goes into a bike shop, then should be able to find the stuff that will actually help them do what they want to do on a bike. If they can't find the stuff that helps them pretty easily, they likely won't bike as much. E.g. in clothes, if someone wants to bike to bars to meet friends, then they need to be able to find clothes that will work for the length of bike ride they're thinking of, and will not look stupid in a bar with friends. This is what annoys me about not being able to find more nice, dutch-style bikes around here -- I think a lot of people would consider biking for short-distance errands or parts of their commute. But they'd need a bike that's basically like a CaBi - low maintenance, fenders, chain guard, racks/baskets, not very fast but geared to be able to navigate our hills without too much of a sweat. And they probably don't want to spend a ton of money on something that will supplement their car/metro use.
Ok, that's all for my rant of the morning. Sorry for any incoherence. I'm going to blame it on the steroids they put me on. These little pills mess with your head!
Last edited by dasgeh; 11-15-2012 at 11:16 AM.
Reason: Still pregnant, but blaming 'roids
While we're making our wish list....
Originally Posted by KelOnWheels
I'd like bikes to be sold with a key that goes to a headset lock (the way my old motor scooter did), so that I can lock the functionality of the bike (I think there are a few aftermarket versions of this). I'd also like a swing arm or something like that on the fork and stays that allow the frame to lock to the wheel, for the same reason. These are my wishes....
YES! Some sort of integrated lock. Or at least a place to carry a lock that would come with the bike.
Originally Posted by Steve
They sell these on bikes in Europe too. In fact, a few years ago, Tschibo in Germany (which is kinda like the Costco of coffee shops, if that makes any sense) was selling a bike for around E400 that came with: fenders, racks, chain guard, lights, integrated hub, good brakes, and the integrated lock thing (that has a name I can't think of). I almost had a friend buy one and ship it to me, which would have still been around $700. Actually, I tried to justify a trip to Germany with buying it, but I think we had just had kid #1.
Originally Posted by KelOnWheels
So, full confession, when I did the tweed ride, I wore bike shorts under my outfit. (Comfort *and* style, oh yeah.)
When I first started bike commuting every day, folks would ask me what I would wear. I'd answer: sometimes jeans, sometimes shorts, sometimes dress pants, sometimes flats, sometimes skirts, sometimes heels, sometimes boots, it just depended on the weather (and what is clean, I suppose). And, there would be this look of wonder and surprise that I didn't get all spandexed up.
So, yes, one of the biggest misconceptions women have with cycling continues to be that you to have special bike clothing to ride. And, sometimes it really does take someone to show that you can ride in anything. But, then, the more of us that ride in "anything" the more people will see that to believe you can ride in "anything". (And, if gussying up in tweed or seersucker attracts more people to ride, then sign me up and dress me up!)
I am also drawn towards clothing that will stand up to the rigors of cycling, I've (almost) worn through dress pants and jeans in the upper inner thigh region and have torn up the hem of some of my dress pants (because the fabric was too slick and the reflecty band slid down making my pants flop around). But, that's one of the costs of biking as much as I do.
On the other hand, we have a friend that started biking several years ago, but *refused* to wear spandex (for modesty reasons), so he'd wear soccer shorts for 30 - 40 mile rides. He was miserable. We tried to explain that there were other, more modest, and more padded options out there for sport riding (from shorts to underwear) that would help him out on the comfort side. (He wanted to ride the long distances so a little more padding would have helped him out.) He utimately stopped riding his bike because he just couldn't get over the uncomfortableness and didn't want to spend the money on padded shorts. There was no convincing otherwise.
I like commuting in more regular clothes but accept that it feels more comfortable to be more spandexed, especially if you ride hard/long enough to sweat a lot, or just sweat easily. Although, given the versatility of merino wool and the wider availability of riding pants for men it almost comes down to just having bike shorts underneath in this weather. The last two days I've commuted in the same shirt I've worn all day at work... yay for wool! And casual workplace dress codes.
One of my good friends lived/worked in Munich for a while and loved biking to work everyday. I'm pretty sure he had one of these bikes, and when he left he sold it almost at cost. He was a bit surprised/annoyed he couldn't find anything similar when he moved back to Australia.
Originally Posted by dasgeh