Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On Bicycles, Women and Politics

[image via Mattijn]

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day - what began as a European political movement in 1911, but evolved into what is now more like a "women's appreciation day," or, in the former socialist countries, a sort of Mother's Day and Valentine's day rolled into one. As ironic gestures, friends have sent me cards with messages such as "Woman, With Your Daily Acts of Goodness You Inspire Us!" showing a Polyanna-esque maiden feeding forest animals amidst flower blossoms.

[image via I am Cheapskate]

Though I am fairly well versed on gender in the academic sense,  I did not personally care much about gender "issues" until I became interested in bicycles and cycling. Something about the latter turned the former into a more poignant topic, and I find myself writing about gender-oriented themes here that would not have been on my mind a few years ago. I feel vaguely unsettled about the way female cyclists are perceived and depicted by the very cycling community they belong to. I get the same feeling of unease from the pictures on Copenhagen Cycle Chic as I do from that Woman's Day card showing the angelic girl feeding forest animals.

[image via Julie Tjorneland]

Equally distasteful to me is the school of thought that women cyclists "bring it upon themselves" by being all sexy and frivolous on their bikes wearing skirts and high heels. If they want to be taken seriously as cyclists, they must don practical shoes and high-vis wear. It's been decades since similar rhetoric about women has been acceptable in Western society. But apparently the cycling community is an exception.

[image via R A C]

Besides, don't roadies and tri-athletes wear far more revealing clothing than women going grocery shopping in a dress and heels? At the heart of it, it's really all about how one chooses to twist it politically, which in turn is based on personal preferences and prejudices.

[image via macfred64]

And what is the difference between politics and personal philosophies? Let's Go Ride a Bike has a post today where they ask "Is bicycling political?" - which I think is more or less a trick question: a contemporary truism, whereby any "no" answer will inevitably be demonstrated to be just as political as a "yes" answer. It reminds me of the arguments I had in college with people who would tell me that being a woman is political, whether I wanted it to be or not. According to those arguments, everything I do is inherently political because I am a woman, and I have no way of escaping that. But don't I?

I think that in order for the political question to be addressed meaningfully, we have to distinguish the way others perceive us from our inner world - and while the two are connected, they are not one and the same. Any action on our part, as well as our very existence, can be perceived as political by others. But if we don't experience it politically, then it is a basic human right for our inner experience to be recognised as valid. A woman's cycling and her gender may be politically perceived by others, but they may not be politically experienced by her - with both points of view having equal merit.

64 comments:

  1. I always enjoy the conclusions of your articles and this is no exception: "with both points of view having equal merit." Very well said, indeed. And I think you've very well gotten to the crux of the issue.

    Anyone's actions can be perceived as political in a number of ways, so everyone has the ability (or responsibility?) to capitalize on that perception; everyone can attempt to shape the perceptions of others through their own actions. Thankfully, everyone also has the ability to ignore all this and be just who they want to be without thought to politics or influence.

    Personally I've found that actions taken while wrapped up only in what I wanted to be doing turn out to be the moments that inspire and help others. And often when I directly attempt to shape others' perceptions, my actions fail to influence many at all.

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  2. You think girls have it all tough, huh? How do you think guys are treated when they try to be "all sexy and frivolous on their bikes?" :P

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  3. lyen - I've been asked to write an article about male cyclists' behinds for a German magazine...

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  4. here here and very nice. I totally agree with your last statement.

    @Iyen, as a former women's studies minor, one could say guys get even harsher treatment for "being sexy and frivolous" b/c they are drawing on their "Feminine side and men who do that are often crusified and thus it is another way of dissing the Femme in all of us... Women's studies minor hat off now. :P

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  5. I say right the article. I would read it. :-)

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  6. "lyen - I've been asked to write an article about male cyclists' behinds for a German magazine... "

    Ugh. *face palm*

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  7. I find Lyen's use of the word "frivolous" to be gender hostile! ;P

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  8. Ian Walker's infamous "wig experiment"* -- where he gained 14 cm of passing space from drivers after he donned a wig -- would seem to point to a vestige of societal chivalry towards women cyclists. I'm not sure about the experiment, though, or what it says about us. Would more women on bicycles lead our (largely) male political leadership to provision safer places for women to ride? (And are the implications of this question deeply anti-feminist?)

    *http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/somerset/5334208.stm

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  9. Sounds like a blond wig should be standard equipment for those who don other safety gear to ride bikes. :)

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  10. Cynically speaking, I found Dottie's post and question baiting and designed to draw site traffic.

    "If they want to be taken seriously as cyclists, they must don practical shoes and high-vis wear."

    This isn't specifically a female issue; in the absurd niche-ification of cycling it's common.

    Jim

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  11. That last paragraph is exactly what my first thoughts were upon reading that post at Let's Go Ride a Bike.

    Interestingly, the cycling community also brings judgment upon men, assuming that if we're not in "cycling" clothes, or at least outdoor gear, we must either be dressing up in character (as for a themed ride or something of the sort), or just a bit flouncy.

    I think in a sense, it's a bit weirder for me as well, because I don't have a group of guys who ride bikes and also enjoy dressing nicely (either in real life, or in the blog-sphere). Or even who just enjoy dressing nicely. That group just doesn't exist. Or if it does, it's just scattered individuals here and there, or maybe I just haven't found it yet. I also have little desire for technical knowledge about bikes, ability to fix my own beyond basics, making "cycling" a hobby, or being a hard-core advocate.

    So, for that, among many other reasons, I tend to often relate more to women (both in the blog-sphere and in real life).

    Anyway, I'll stop rambling now :)

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  12. Jim - I think the same can be said about many of my posts, if someone wants to be cynical or critical. I mean, any time you bring up anything controversial, it's going to raise site traffic and also invite criticism.

    I think that people genuinely enjoy discussing topics and questions like this. So when a popular blog like LGRAB publishes that kind of post, they are essentially hosting a debate and giving readers a chance to voice their views. Of course it's going to draw traffic. All the better for generating discourse.

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  13. In the local, mostly male, cycle club, the only way a woman can be taken seriously, and therefore be treated equally, is for her to wear Lycra and ride a diamond-frame road bike like the guys do.

    A woman wearing a dress and heels on a 40 lb. city bike is considered weak, "not serious", and therefore inferior, even if she's hauling a load of groceries uphill.

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  14. V, I've been meaning to talk to you about that...

    Here's the dif: it comes down to the skill of the blogger to ask the right question and moderate debate judiciously. All sites need traffic to justify their existence.

    One can do it ham-fistedly or with more polish. Or both.

    Debate is good, but the question was not. In contrast, your post travels along a personal path, touches on a few different subjects and opens the floor to the discussion of any of them.

    Variety rocks.


    Jim

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  15. Kirsten - I hear that a lot from women all over the US. To be fair to the boys of Boston, I do not get the same reaction from male roadcyclists here when I am cycling on an upright bike for transportation. I do get a lot of "cool bike!" and "you can cycle uphill on that!" types of comments that suggest respect rather than criticism. I also get a lot of questions about my components from roadies who are thinking of getting a second, transportation-specific bike.

    The cyclists who do give me grief are of the "super commuter" category: Pants tucked into socks, neon vests, vinyl panniers sort of thing. I've actually had them roll their eyes at me when looking at my bike.

    Jim - But you do realise that she was just repeating a question asked on Public Radio, rather than making up the question herself, right?..

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  16. Kirsten, is it (or would it be) different for guys in that cycle club that ride city bikes in their everyday clothes? Though there definitely is a gender dimension to cycling, not everything is gender specific.

    About the post, I'm glad someone else but me has the same feeling of uneasiness about Cycle Chic, although, at the same time it is a very appealing site.

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  17. One could define a "political" action as an attempt to manipulate another person through usually insincere, covert maneuvering.

    Some men like to believe that women's actions are either driven by some political angle ( in which case everything they do is political), or that we're 'sexy and frivolous' airheads. This way, they are absolved of treating us like logical, thinking beings deserving of equal social value.

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  18. Criticism will end when normalcy takes over. 'Super commuters' define their identity through victimization, so of course they would scoff at you. They're the tortured teenager at the _____ concert, and you're not only late to the scene - you're wearing the band's t-shirt.

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  19. Hey! I was the tortured teenager at the ______ concert : )

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  20. Matija,

    To my knowledge, none of the local club guys ride anything other than road/race bikes. A few also do mountain/cyclocross racing, but it's the same attitude. My husband rides a commuter bike wearing regular clothing, and he gets the same treatment I do.

    The silly thing is, I probably ride more miles than they do this time of year on my 50 lb. Dutch beast, in rainy, icy, and blizzard conditions. But I'm not a serious cyclist, you know, so that doesn't count.

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  21. V, an audio of Julie's words is on the WBEZ site but you never hear the question being asked. Her words are then summarized in the written WBEZ story somewhat sensationally, their meaning skewed. Then Dottie takes the same meaning from either the audio or printed word.

    I rebutted the question because to me it doesn't make sense AND there's no evidence that Julie makes a case for cycling being a political statement. She merely utters, under her breath at one point, the word political. She then recounts a story of a Taiwanese friend who called it a political statement in the US, not attaching a value to it. End audio.

    The conversation was just getting interesting until various auteurs took from the story what they wanted and framed the discussion in their own terms.

    All I'm saying is just let me hear the full audio Q & A and don't hide behind a 70s era "I am political because I am a blank" question for site traffic. It may be I'd come up with the same conclusion, but the question still irritates.

    Jim

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  22. Kirsten, I have a feeling those guys have just as little respect for anybody, male or female, who was riding a comfortable transportation bike. I honestly don't think it's gender issue.

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  23. Politics isn't everything.....but it's IN everything.

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  24. Oh I wear a neon jacket and push my pants leg
    Into my sock and I would never roll my eyes in disgust
    at you or any other cyclist. I do prefer seeing women
    on bikes while out riding, so there (he says then
    sticks out his tongue).

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  25. Jim P - Thanks for the honesty : ) There was a blog post I read recently that for the life of me I can't find now, where the author laments being attracted to female cyclists.

    Jim (not P) - I admit that I did not listen to the program or read the article, preferring the LGRAB digest version.

    By the way - I stumbled upon this old post by BikeSnob, and as a result visited the Genderanalyzer and plugged in Lovely Bicycle. Guess what? There is an 81% chance I am male!

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  26. V, that's the prob--few did.

    Jim

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  27. According to those arguments, everything I do is inherently political because I am a woman, and I have no way of escaping that. But don't I?

    You're getting all third wave on us. :-)

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  28. If women would only feed the forest creatures like they should, all their problems would fade away. (g)

    If 99% of humans treat women with respect, the other 1% will be murderers.

    Concerning humans, I don't have much hope to give you, Velouria.

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  29. sausend - I prefer to think of it as "post-wave" : )

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  30. Uhmmmmmm.......Ok. :?(

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  31. Kirsten,

    The first rule of many club rides is keep up. Unless the group is on a no-drop, welcome all comers ride no one wants to worry about someone who can't keep up.

    You probably can't on a 50 lb. bike in street clothes. Possible for a few blocks or a mile or two. Come the nth hill or nth mile, nope. If in doubt follow the next ride and report back.

    Of course, the guys of which you speak are no doubt doofuses too.

    Jim

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  32. One of my favorite political cyclists is the frumpy grey haired lady with a giant yard sign reading 'Stop the War' sign permanently attached to her bike. She's a regular fixture on the University of Washington. Even though it must cause tremendous wind resistance, she's doing it for the right cause. Highly admirable... but tragic, no doubt.

    As for women & political cycling, I'm all in favor of combining the 'Mary Poppins effect' with the 'Beret Effect'. I think they achieve a certain synchronicity.

    The times I've really been most political to do with cyclists is when I have to be yelling at velcro-clad-speed-demon-morons who can't be bothered to slow down for baby carriages or old ladies. I even offered to put up fisticuffs with one such moron! lol!


    jn

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  33. I don't think it's a gender issue. Where I ride the hipster, fixie bike style is in and if you ride anything other than that (in the city) or a roadbike or hybrid (in suburbs) you will invariably get weird looks from both men AND women.

    I've given up trying to join local cycling groups because usually it means that a) everyone expects you to accept the politics as a package deal and 2) there's the attitude that the type of cycling I enjoy should be relegated to tweed rides. The women-only bike events and rides are even worse (though, I'm not exactly what one would describe as a militant feminist). It seems to me that riding a bicycle for anything other than a hobby has become this necessarily political thing and I think that is so sad. It excludes a lot of people who want to be there for the ride, not the politics.

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  34. Anonymous said...
    "Kirsten,
    The first rule of many club rides is keep up. ..."


    Wait, Kirsten - Are you saying that you are joining them on club rides on the 40lb upright bicycle? Or that you are riding it for transportation but happen to meet them along the way? If the latter, it makes no sense for them to think of you as a slower cyclist - I mean you're on your way to work whereas they are exercising. For all they know, Kirsten would be faster than them if she were on a roadbike too. But if you're going on club rides on a 40lb bike, that probably just won't work logistically, for reasons Jim stated.

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  35. With Your Daily Acts of Goodness You Inspire Us!
    xxx
    on behalf of all of your faithful followers,
    yours
    anonymously

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  36. with all of the historic shortcomings of communism, the gender concept was far superior to anything in the west and to anything that followed.
    here is to the unshaved armpits of est-german girls!
    - may one fine day they return! - stronger than ever!

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  37. Peppy (the amazing avant-garde cat)March 8, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    oh noes, not the armpits

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  38. Jens - In American psychology courses that cover topics like social perception, there is a fun little test they like to give to students. It starts off with a vignette that goes something like this:

    A doctor is working in the Emergency Room when a little boy who's been terribly hurt is brought in. The boy is unconscious and bleeding, and his father, who brought the child in, is frantic with grief. The ER doctor asks for the boy to be brought to the operating room, but the nurse says "You can't operate on him... He's your son."
    How can this be?


    Now, students will start raising their hands, offering explanations such as:

    "The doctor was his stepfather."

    "The man who brought the boy in was his stepfather."

    "The ER doctor brought the child in, but was going to work anyway."

    and even
    "The doctor and the man who brought the boy in were gay partners"

    It usually takes a while for a student to suggest that the ER doctor was the mother. In many cases they give up, and the professor gives the right answer. (Happened to me when I was lecturing!)

    The same vignette does not work on students educated in the former USSR. They give the right answer immediately and don't understand the test.

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  39. reading all this, i love my riding group more and more :)
    one of the best moments is when we meet early in the morning for the ride and perplexed sporty roadies pass by us. why? well, we're a very mixed bunch: men and women, touring bikes, road bikes, cyclocross, road converted mountain bike, a step-through, trekking bike... age: 24-60. dress styles? well, from lycra to leather boots :D and we make 100+km daily rides with no problem whatsoever.

    and one more thing about the political and not political. everything has the potential to become political, but in order for something to become political, it must first be appropriated by someone or something for some specific (political) goals. so basically, both gender and cycling can be political, but at the same time completely personal matter. the problem is that we cannot control appropriation by others and thus have no influence on proclaiming anything completely non-political.

    but enough of philosophy, back to bicycles and women :) here's an interesting quote by susan b. anthony, a 19th century suffragette: "I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can't get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood."

    also, there is a film by marzieh meshkini form iran, "the day i became a woman" in which one of the stories is about a girl who decides to take part in a bicycle race although her whole family is against it. very interesting insight in the "revolutionary" potential of cycling.

    and one more reading suggestion and then i'll stop :) french anthropologist marc auge wrote a book/essay "eloge de la bicyclette" (i'm not sure what's the english translation, "praise to the bicycle maybe"?). highly enjoyable read for cyclist with some background in humanities.

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  40. i know. - yet i still did not get it while reading your answer. - west-german born - what can i say?
    when in china i frequently stumble into the same trap of ignorance.
    -
    totally embracing. again and again.

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  41. oh, sorry for another post, but i have to laugh on the vignette example :D
    to me, being a slav, it is so evident why the story wouldn't work is ussr. all the nouns in slavic languages have a designated grammatical gender so there is a different suffix for male and female doctor :)
    yes, you could use male version as the generic form, but it would still be much easier (and more logical) for students in ussr to guess the right answer.

    and some gender issues in communist countries were maybe more explicitly dealt with in the official ideology, but gender concepts in everyday life remained pretty much patriarchal, even more than on the west.

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  42. matija - Both the words "doctor" and "physician" in Russian are male gendered, so if anything the story would be biased toward a male-biased answer. Plus, the story is given in English to students from a number of national backgrounds with the same result.

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  43. I don't know for sure about Russian, but in Lithuanian, you would use the masculine (gydytojas) to refer to a doctor if you weren't talking about a specific person (or if you were talking about a specific male doctor), but if you were talking about a specific female doctor, you would use the feminine (gydytoja). Since it's not a noun, but a title, there are both a masculine and feminine version.

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  44. portlandize - It's pretty much impossible to generalise gender from one language to another even if the languages are related. I am guessing by the name that Matija is former-Yugoslavian, and in Serbo-Croatian/ Slovene you'd indeed use a female-specific word for doctor (for ex. doktorka). But those languages have completely different gender and conjugation rules than Russian. In Russian, the vignette is neutral/masculine if all the sentences are kept in the present tense. In German the story would be kept neutral as well. But either way, when psychologists make up these tests they collaborate with native speaker colleagues to make sure the test works in every language.

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  45. http://downtownfrombehind.tumblr.com/

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  46. Armpits and now behinds? I am afraid to click. :)

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  47. In my cycling community, I often find that men tend to assume I know very little about bicycle models and repairs, when often I know as much or more than they do. It's not that they're trying to belittle me, it's more like they're trying extra hard to be helpful and make me feel included in the mostly-male cycling community. And to be fair, as a woman who knows quite a bit about bicycle repair, I am in the minority.

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  48. A blog by a gentleman who cares about style:

    http://velocouture.wordpress.com/

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  49. One of the really nice things about bike culture for me is that there ARE so many women involved. I'm so old and busy and married that there aren't very many opportunities for someone like me to spend any time around interesting women in pleasant, appropriate ways.

    The women that I meet on bikes tend to be smart, capable people who are interesting and usually really good at something. The fact that women(actually everyone) often look their best when they're active and doing things that require they have their brains turned on makes it so they're often really nice to look at too. I promise not to leer but women are just the nicest people to be around.

    For me, cycling is one way to take a small step back from a lot of the things in the world that make us hard and mean. I have to slow down, and accept some things that the fortunate ones in the world don't have to think about anymore. My physical abilities(and not our limitations necessarily), the weather, time and distance. We meet those things in a way that forces us to adopt a pace of life that is more natural to humans. I think that the more often we can operate within that more human speed limit the better. I like technology that promotes a little humility and bikes certainly can do that.

    Spindizzy

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  50. haha to the phrase "wig experiment."

    I agree with your last paragraph.

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  51. Spindizzy -

    "I'm so old..."

    Hah! I had no idea. From your posts, you sound totally hip and I guessed you were in your 20s.

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  52. I could get into the political discussion too, but really I just wanted to say that it has been such a pleasure watching you (Velouria) go from being an uncertain cyclist when you started this blog to being such a respected proponent and resource in your areas of interest. Seriously, I read your blog partly for the bike stuff and partly for the success story :-) I don't know anything about the rest of your life, but the part you blog about here is inspiring. So happy Women's Day, not because it's political, but because what you do deserves recognition.
    -Eric

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  53. Jim & V,

    Most club rides this time of year are of slow (10-16 mph) speed and maybe 25 miles, so I keep up just fine. I recently rode 50 miles on my 50 lb. Dutch cargo bike, so the 40 pounder feels positively speedy.

    My impression is the local club would like to believe regular clothing and upright handlebars are only good for novices riding 3 miles at 6 mph, and that any faster or further requires lycra and drop handlebars.

    Makes a nice story until I show up, having ridden 10-15 miles to the starting point because I don't have a car like them. And I don't make any comments about bike types or clothing.

    Yes, I'll admit for racing, lycra, drops and carbon are probably the only way to gain enough aero/speed advantage. So not totally anti-lycra, just anti-lycra for everyday cycling.

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  54. Happy 100th women's day! There's a nice little show on cbc.ca/tv on doc zones called The F-word which is funny and worth watching. As for women cycling, it still seems to be a damned if you damned if you don't issue. Women are starting cycling blogs left and right and addressing their issues and female point of view, which some men don't get and attack, while most cycling forums are still mostly male dominated and contain headings like 'what kind of bike should I get my wifey'. Never do they consider letting their wives choose their own bikes. I have come across this sooo many times.
    I used to encounter alot of creepy men in cars saying lewd gross things to me when I was out biking, but not so much anymore. Biking was my freedom and super fun, something I could do as a sad lonely teenager that made the world enchanted. As an adult it seemed everyone I knew biked, and for whom bike commuting was a most sacred honour. So every boyfriend rode a bike so, that's what we did, rode bikes on dates, rode bikes everywhere. Don't know what I would have done if I met a boy with a car!!
    I only stopped biking for a year after my car accident and then an unfortunate 2 year gap after breaking my foot and then moving to a very remote unbikable area. But otherwise always biking to get around and I was certainly a minority as a girl/lady when I was younger. Some women have told me that they don't want to bike too much because they will get "thunder thighs". Is this because being seen as strong is unfeminine? Dancers, ballet dancers are incredibly strong and have very developed leg muscles but are considered the pinnacle of femininity. However, I also live in mountain biking heaven and mountain bikers have tree trunks for legs, so maybe that is what the ladies fear.
    I do have a bit of issue with the biking in heels business and images galore of women dressed like sex kittens on bikes to promote women cycling. A woman does not need to empower herself by sexualizing the image of a woman on a bike. For one thing, you'd get a bit cold. To an extent even if you can bike in a dress and nice work clothes, to a party or night on the town(and I do!), as a regular cyclist one starts to be sensible about what clothing works for cycling. Like you might always have a sweater handy. Promoting cycling in heels is just not practical!
    And is cycling political? Definitely if it is your main means of transportation. It might not be intentional, it might be out of necessity, but even that speaks volumes. Is it because you are poor and cannot even afford the bus, or the bus doesn't go to where you live and work? Is it because you cannot afford a car or do not want a car? How many times do I hear "if only you had a car"? As it is there is no way I can afford a car and would have to have another job or two to pay for it. Being the sickly type I have a limit on how much I can do.
    Not having a car or spending money on a car, on gas, on insurance etc is saying NO to the whole car economy. Driving is said to be freedom, but a car is only freedom if you can afford to have one without hardship, stress or constantly praying to the car gods that the car does NOT break down again. Biking is also saying I want to be part of my community, be able to get around on my bike and support local business. Biking is saying I care about my health and I am going to bike every day even if I don't think I am being remotely athletic.
    And the environment. Grant Petersen has written in several pieces about how he does NOT think the motivation for cyclists to bike is being green. In my mind nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone I know who is and has been committed to cycling do so partly for eco reasons, if not it being the impetus for getting on their bikes in the first place.

    totally off topic I saw on the Ibex site that they have a store opening in Boston. Oh I would be there in a heartbeat!

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  55. ok, so that's a lesson for me not to assume things :P (and partly because i have a beef with psychologists :P).
    velouria, you're right, i'm from croatia, so i imposed south-slavic grammar to all slavs...
    sorry, for being such a smart ass :)

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  56. matija - No worries, I'm a smart-ass myself : ) You guys have pretty unique grammar actually: dual pronouns are so cool!

    heather - I visited the Ibex Boston store last weekend; it's small but beautiful and the staff are knowledgeable. They identified the (non Ibex) wool garment I was wearing right away, including its micron weight. I was impressed!

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  57. @velouria & @matija: that'll be good to remember if I ever flesh out my 10 words of German and Russian :) Dutch next, though. I'm always interested in how differently different languages express the same ideas, it's amazing how different they can be in form.

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  58. dual pronouns are actually slovenian thing. croatian and serbian don't have them and i think neither do macedonian and bulgarian. traces of the dual system probably still can be found, but if you're not linguist, it is not something you'd notice.

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  59. I think your comment about not being comfortable with Copenhagen Cycle Chic and that people think women unintentionally portray themselves as "sexy and frivolous" is interesting. I've never thought of it that way. I've felt a sense of strength and confidence from them. To me they say "Screw your archaic concepts of what a bicyclist should look like, I'll wear my three inch platform heels and manage just fine!"

    By the way I've been meaning to tell you how much I adore my valentines day raffle hat! It came in last thursday and I've been wearing it all the time! I was holding off to try and get a picture of myself out biking with it on, in true lovely style, but the weather has been very disagreeable here in Detroit.
    PS, the blue might match a frame I've been looking at buying so hey! Added unexpected bonus!

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  60. Kate - I'm so glad you like it! The style worked really well for me too, so I think I'll make one for myself next : )

    matija - oops, you're right!

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  61. Kirsten,

    Each club has its own unwritten rules and social cliques. That's it--speak with other members and try to find a commonality.

    If it doesn't work, find another club, ride on your own, or start a club with a vibe you like.

    Jim

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  62. thank you for choosing the pic of my daughter Maria
    for your remarkable post.

    greets
    macfred

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