Tuesday, September 29, 2009
women and biking and making communities
All I see on biking blogs are reasons why women do not bike and that if trails exist, they attract women riders. The question is though, not so much why we need more trails for biking but why don't women get on the roads and bike.
I heard from 2 ladies this week about biking with other women. The first said,"I LOVE riding with you. You are a reliable, committed biker who is fun to be with and not a wimp. I've learned over the years there are a lot of women who are all talk and no action, but you are not one of them. We decide to do something and they wimp out on you due to an important reason like a hang nail. For a long time, I had the philosophy if you want to do something, count only on yourself. But biking is a sport that works better in a team environment. I commend you for working so hard to develop a biking group that supports one another."
The next lady said, " It is really great the kind of community that is building in West Chester among cyclists and you are big part of making it happen. Being there and caring about others resonates consistently in your messages."
I am not printing these messages to pat myself on the back, but to encourage MORE ladies to give biking a chance.
Both of these above ladies were scared to death to bike on the roads. Both are past the age of 40 and both have taken up bike riding and both are doing so well. Both have invested in good road bikes and both ride regularly. Both ride on the roads.
So what do these two ladies have that you (if not riding) do not. Nothing. They just decided to give biking a try and voila. They loved it.
Women do like a community. Women like to bike with other women and women like to feel safe. I get that as I like those things too. Women for ages have formed groups for social activities. From quilting bees to forming play groups for their children, women like to socialize and have fun with each other.
Biker Chicks is one biking club that will accept all cyclists and encourage you to ride on the roads, buy a good road bike and learn how to take care of it. We support you the entire ride, we teach you how to shift gears, we run biking clinics and we help each other.
It is funny, women love to talk about equality in the workforce but when it comes to recreation, they become the 1950s all over again. Sitting at home watching their husbands or boyfriends doing adventurous stuff.
On my bike ride on Saturday, I fell going up a hill. I bruised my leg but ya know what, I was fine. My bike partner helped me up and we walked to the top of the hill. And off we went. As my bike friend said, " hey, think of all the ladies our age sitting at home with their ailments and here we are in the rain and biking 50+ miles!" She was right.
So what is holding you back?? why won't you get on a bike and try something new? what keeps women from the roads? why won't you spend some money and buy a bike? I get that the economy is bad right now, but if you do your homework, you can find a good used bike too.
One young chick that rode with me in the early spring showed up on her $200 used bike. I could see right away that she had a lot of talent. I encouraged her to try biking with a faster group. She did and recently she completed a triathlon and is making plans to buy a new bike. Now that is what I like to hear.