Diversity in Cycling

Smokin Joe

Legendary Member
In the past virtually all cycling enthusiasts were members of a club. That isn't the case today and I wouldn't be surprised if the percentage who are is very small. Most riders I know either go solo or with a few friends.
 

hoopdriver

Veteran
Location
East Sussex
I’m totally solo and couldn’t imagine going in a group. I love the solitude and tranquility and, frankly, the stretching-cat selfishness of going where and when I please and at whatever pace I choose, without recourse to anyone
 
OP
Heltor Chasca

Heltor Chasca

Out-Riding the Black Dog
Actually, I am very competitive. I just tend to assume that if I am the only woman, I will be too slow for the group.
Audax has taught me that women are by and large amazing at long distances. Mind over matter triumphs over male physical prowess. Obviously the men that are good, both mentally and physically do best. Long distance and ultra distance is a much more level playing field and the popular ‘celebs’ are female. Emily Chappell, Lael Wilcox, Jenny Graham, Judith Swallow etc etc.

I am very lucky that I have no issues being *chicked?

*Overtaken / outridden by a woman.
 

Mugshot

Cracking a solo.
What is interesting is why girls and boys both learn to ride bikes as kids and after around age 11, and the move to high school, many girls stop riding bikes. Is it the perception that it's a boy thing? Is it uncool to be seen riding a bike as a girl?
Probably yes. I'd say it was a societal issue where women, and men, are increasingly expected to conform to an ideal. Sweaty and red in the face are not generally considered to be a good look for a young woman and it's not just cycling but participation in any form of exercise that is becoming an issue for adolescent females. In no way looking to open a debate, something as simple as wearing a helmet could be enough to prevent young women from cycling, not only from looking a bit silly when it's on but also from your hair being particularly unkempt when you take it off. This is before you even consider the excellent points that @mudsticks has been making.
If we want to have more women (I realise the OP is looking for wider inclusivity) cycling we should perhaps be looking at how exercise is approached through their school years and do something to tackle the unrealistic role models they are presented with and try to introduce and/or promote some more positive ones.
 

AuroraSaab

Well-Known Member
I agree. Having taught in mixed and single sex secondary schools, I would say girls in single sex schools are less inhibited about taking part in subjects like Science, sports, metalwork etc. simply because there are no boys there. It doesn't take much to put kids off anything and social conditioning and peer pressure is a huge influence on their behaviours.
 

gbb

Legendary Member
Location
Peterborough
I agree. Having taught in mixed and single sex secondary schools, I would say girls in single sex schools are less inhibited about taking part in subjects like Science, sports, metalwork etc. simply because there are no boys there. It doesn't take much to put kids off anything and social conditioning and peer pressure is a huge influence on their behaviours.
Then perhaps there's a general lack of confidence with kids, the confidence to go against the flow, perhaps if we remedy that things would be better all round, in so many ways for society.
I think of my GD, 14, at 13 suffered a bout of lack of confidence because so called friends picked up on a blemish on her upper lip.....fer chrissakes, she's becoming a young beautiful woman and all they could do was pick on her for something as insignificant as that. After some 'coaching' from the family, we toughened her up for want of a better word. Now at 14, she expresses herself beautifully, plays football, sings, plays guitar, drums, talks well and with confidence, is in the top 3 children in her year...she puts me (61) right sometimes and shows no embarrassment doing it, supreme confidence. (yesterday early evening i happened across her headed home...'whatcha doing Hollie ?, have you been hanging around with friends ?'...her answer....'i don't 'do' hanging around grandad' :laugh:

This is where it needs to begin, instill confidence, at school or at home. Everything else will follow, be it diversity in cycling, whatever.
 

mustang1

Guru
Location
London, UK
I see a pattern here with activities such as
Sky diving
Cycling
Rally car racing
Formula 1
Cricket
Bungee jumping
Climbing mount Everest
Gliders
And plenty other activities.
 
2019_07_13_Recycling_05.JPG


I was thinking about this thread while taking a pile of cardboard off to be recycled today. The picture above shows a fairly typical part of the route.

Notice that I am well away from that nasty big road.

Once out of our village, where I was on a residential street that is a dead end for cars, I was on this sort of traffic free route right up to about 10 metres from the recycling centre. In fact, my route is more direct than the local roads for various historical reasons.

Even in the pishing rain there were a few cyclists about, and in an admittedly unscientific survey, there seemed to be about a 50/50 gender split, on MTB's, Dutch style bikes, with and without trailers. The only thing I didn't see was roadies in lycra.

Equally there were very few wearing h*lm*ts, which (whether right or wrong) is often a good indicator of how safe people feel on bikes.

My route included town and countryside, open areas and woodland and it made no difference to the numbers of cyclists around me.

As said up thread, I think this is the best way to make cycling 'inclusive': make sure there's safe and convenient infrastructure so cycling can be a normal activity for people regardless of gender.
 
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