Slightly off subject - but Im under 40 and single - so these things occur to me - I do see women out on the road and there are obviously a few regular female contributors on this site, but, it would appear to me that cycling has very gender bias. Im curious as to why this is - certainly the activity doesnt favour a gender. it also seems that most people lurking on these bulletin boards appear to be men also.
My observation is that there seem to be a higher proportion of females enjoying leisure and social rides than there seem to be females on harder hills rides. Rides/events like the Tweed Ride, Ride of Silence, Ride to Work day were all well attended by female cyclists. I suspect that as has already been stated home duties probably hinders greater participation but another issue might be a reluctance to enter what appears to be a male enviroment and the perception that they might get hit upon with all that raised testoserone.
The first ACC bicycle plan (some years ago) noted that more men than women cycle in Australia. A factor was that women tend to be more easily scared (and rightly) by cyclist-unfriendly road design and inconsiderate drivers. Many more females cycle in European countries with good cycling facilities.
Some females drop out of commuter cycling when raising a family: get one or more children to school; carry more luggage / shopping; etc. This and household chores would decrease the time a woman could allot to cycling training to be a competitive cyclist.
However, a recent study / survey (cannot reference it) found that now in Australia, the fastest growing group is women with tertiary qualifications. The thinking woman who has found a way to reduce her carbon footprint, get fit, save money and/or get to work more quickly?
I think what it really gets down to (without going into the evolutionary and biological reasons) is that women are better at self preservation, and men tend to take more risks. And whether it is real or not, cycling is perceived to be a risky activity.
Now most of us on this site are probably quite good at risk management, or we probably wouldn't be here today. But to the uninitiated, cycling on our roads can be quite scarey and is one activity that women are less likley to take up.
I know lots and lots of women who say they'd like to cycle, but are just too scared (and with good reason). However with a bit of encouragement, mentoring and a few tips and tricks, they take to it quite nicely and my wife is a perfect example.
There definitely appears to be a big gender bias on this site, as well as on the roads, towards men. SheCycles can (and will) give a more educated view of this, but I thought I would just make my comment from my own experiences rather than take the perspective she will.
I am not surprised (tho I am disappointed) that there is less participation on this site (and others) by women.
Some of my experiences (and those of others to whom I have spoken) on this site (and others) have been of bullying tactics, a lack of respect for the person making the comment, a lack of openness to ideas and thoughts that fall outside the orthodox view and a large lack of willingness to enter into open, honest and respectful discussion on a range of topics.
I am not sure if anyone has noted the low number of Blogs that have come from me in the past couple of months, but this has mainly stemmed from the issues listed above. My experience here (I must say that this is from some select, but very vocal members) has been that because I don't ride a geared bike, because I ride in jeans or denim shorts, because I don't look or sound like I ride in lycra, that my views are wrong, regardless of what I say.
I have been very close over the last month to ending my commitment to blog here at all, except that I like to do it and have gained some very useful knowledge from the less pig-headed among the community. My blogs earlier this year on community unity and cooperation seem to have fallen on deaf ears as whinging or "just being a newbie".
So, that is my 2c worth (although I may have to pay more with inflation).
I am not surprised that in such a combative and aggressive environment (actually similar to that found out on the roads with the tin-tops) that women do not (by and large) want to be involved.
Mate, keep blogging, expressing your opinion and riding un-geared bikes in denim! I'm a cross denominational rider (6 bikes - road, folding, single speed, kid-carrier) but come from a "roadie" mindset. However being part of AC has made me think (and possibly act) more like a cycling generalist, and some of your blogs have certainly done a lot to spark new ideas (attempting Mt Lofty on my single speed for example, and thinking about ways to use our car even less). In fact AC has opened a lot of doors in the Adel Cycling community that I never knew where there...the CVSA group (which I just joined), group rides (Checkers Hill a few weeks ago which was great fun), the Christmas Charity run that Mark is organising, and a pile of other things I havent had the time to attend. The Ride for Respect I organised earlier in the year was a real positive demonstration of the kind of good that forums such as this can do.
Quite often in online forums you are changing peoples mindsets and handing out good advice that you never get any positive feedback from, its only the knockers you ever hear from. Its not like a personal conversation where someone keeps nodding their heads and saying "Yeah Wombat that's real good stuff". Many of us are nodding our heads but just not writing a response. So keep on doing what you are doing knowing that there is a (mostly) silent community out in the ether who respect you for who you are and what you are doing (especially the car-free bit).
Thanks for your support. SheCycles and I discussed this phenomenon of the silent participants just a short time ago. It is hard sometimes to hear the voices that are absent. It is also difficult when the words I write out of my experience are not respected as being just what they are, without agenda or bias, except to encourage others in their cycling.
I am glad that you get something from what I write... gives me hope.
Wombat and Shecycles, I for one have missed the comments and/or blogs from both of you but havn't commented. I have no idea who might have made disparaging remarks about you on your fixie but one would assume they have never seen you or attempted to emulate you riding a fixie up the Veloway without stopping or any apparent real pain. Not that I'm about to convert but i did see a beautiful retro fixie at Euride this afternoon.
Hah Great Comment!
I have enjoyed learning about the diversity of the cycling community (communities) on this site. From commuters to weekend roadies
To club racers to fixies and many more perspectives. I hope all those voices keep on
Blogging and telling us about what they love about bikes