The Dirty Word

The Great British Cycling Community. I have been part of the London branch since August last year. And, there is something which I need to rant about.  

WHERE ARE ALL THE WOMEN?

Indeed, where are the women in this community!? 

Tonight there is a debate at the Design Museum. The Museum has a lovely exhibition called “The Cycle Revolution” and they are holding a debate about said topic. What particularly annoys me is their Line up. FOUR MEN, one woman. 4!!!! Men, 1 woman. (Sorry Donnachadh, although I love your work, you are still a man too).

I am probably going to kick some shins here too when I say, that even the woman at the debate tonight doesn’t represent me. Don’t get me wrong, it is good we have people like Jools Walker around. But, honestly, she isn’t representative of the women (mums) utility cyclists we so desperately need in the community AND debates. I am not a vulpine woman. I do not give a rat’s arse about what underwear I need to wear while cycling up Box Hill on a Sunday morning at 6am. No, I am a primark mother, who cares about how quickly I can get my kid safely to school and myself to work, while wearing corduroy trousers or flipflops. THAT’s the kind of women I want to see in this debate. 

A “cycle revolution”?? How are you going to get a revolution going if you cannot get the motor of society on a bike!? Women hardly cycle over here, women utility cyclists such as myself are a rarity. Women here do not realise they can actually cycle to school with their children, to the shops, to their friends, because nobody represents them and shows them how it is done. Women here are afraid and until they are led to believe it can be done, this whole cycle revolution is one big farce!

The lack of female utility cycling representation is also very much shown in the upcoming London Bike show. No women speakers at all. “A girls team” will be “presented”. Probably by an all male barrage of hosts?

Women, what a dirty word in the cycling community. As if we are shunned. And the women who do have somewhat of a voice act too much like the men around them. What we need is a full blown feminist revolution. And when that happens, the cycle revolution  will come to fruition. I want to see more utility cycling women in debates, and I want to see them NOW.

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7 thoughts on “The Dirty Word

  1. Like a lot of hobbies it’s industry driven, so unless you spend hundreds every year on top brand clothing & accessories they don’t want to know you.
    I’m male but in a similar vein to you.
    I wear a reflective cycling jacket but the rest of my attire is most def street & not lycra (To old for lycra).
    I even get disparaging looks when I go into my local trendy cycling shop.
    In my humble opinion the more like us & the less lycra the better.
    Then ordinary people will see the bicycle as an alternative transport system not a fitness aid.
    Keep telling it like it is & keep peddling.
    🙂

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    • Thanks for the kind message! I have had loads of feedback saying the same. Loads of mummies agreeing. Even dads. Some people call us “nice”. They should have a look over the pond then.

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  2. Deborah, Keep it up! As a male who frequently uses a bike and member of a Group in Tunbridge Wells (TWBUG) promoting utility cycling we need more women to cycle. At the moment there is only one woman in our group and she is great. We need more. However it seems like a chicken and egg situation.

    More women won’t cycle until conditions improve. Conditions wont improve until more women cycle.

    So at the moment we have to push on, a small group mainly fitting the stereotype of white, middle aged and male ;-). But all with very different types of cycling (Mamil, utility, touring etc.). We really would welcome some women in the group to make our voice more diverse.

    John

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  3. I reckon that cycling infrastructure is something that the Womens Institute could really support. They have a history of supporting social justice campaigns, starting from their beginnings with the womens suffrage movement. They are more based in rural areas rather than cities but they are a respected force to be reckoned with.

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  4. I love cycling, used to cycle everywhere, but my partner says it is “too dangerous”. It’s too stressful to argue the case. (I still don’t drive, I walk)

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