The Ascent. Bicycle Network
  • jules

    women’s cycling is a lot healthier now than 20 years ago, I can say that much, even as a bloke. it annoys me when blokes slag off women cycling. what sort of bloke doesn’t want women around? maybe that’s not the right way of looking at it, but seriously, support your fellow cyclists!

    • answer

      What sort of bloke doesn’t want women around? A misogynist.

      • jules

        I know my fair of misogynists and neither am I saying the purpose of cycling events is to procure sex or a relationship, but blokes who only want to hang out with other blokes concern me. And nothing to do with homophobia either.

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      • Arminds’ copy of Swank

        What sort of woman doesn’t want men around? A Misandrist

  • zosim

    I’ve seen just as many aggressive women in races/sportives as men. Likewise slow-bimbling or fast-riding people. I think ANYONE who encounters someone who is aggressive when they’re just starting out is likely to be put off but the attitude change is most important for me, not segregating people on sportives. At the last few European events I’ve ridden, women have been a good proportion of riders be they on 200 euro BSOs or 10000 euro pure bred race bikes and I’ve not seen any abuse or strange behaviour to them at all. Perhaps it’s different in Australia but again, maybe that speaks of social attitudes that need changing not events.

    As for having a build-up to the event, I know a lot of men who would like to start cycling more seriously and get comfortable in groups but are put off with the perceived leg-ripping pace that they feel clubs would show. For years the groups (not formal clubs) I’ve ridden with have helped initiate (for want of a better word) people into riding be it offroad or on because we commit that nobody gets left behind no matter how slow or unfit they are. Extending some sort of build-up for novice riders male or female would go a long way to getting people riding as well as avoiding stupid crashes, particularly if the groups were mixed therefore getting the attitude right from the start.

  • ceedee

    I find the lack women in cycle really bizarre and a bit troubling. In the region where I live females are still pretty much no-existing when comes to competitive road cycling. Even say traditional macho (sexism) sports of Aussie rules and rugby are now getting better numbers than cycling. Is poor cycling infrastructure in Australia issue? Women are less likely to risk life and limp on the road vs cars, or is that myth?

  • Derek Maher

    Well anything that encourages the women to get out and enjoy the sport I am in favour of.
    Mixed racing for newcomers can be a heck of a shock with some of the guys in a testosterone laden fog riding over anything in their way.I say some as a lot of guys racing do it for fun.I guess a lot of women enjoy the social part of the day out and its good for newcomers not to feel bullied and as their skills and fitness increases they gain the confidence to give real racing a go against other like minded women.Plus they don’t feel intimidated mixing with the guys on the road or trail.

  • Anonymous

    This is a cool post. I think the women’s only events are taking off here in the USA. This year in Ohio we established and organized a Women’s Midwest Road Race Championship! Here’s a writeup of the action: thecadencekitchen.com/blog/

    HUGE women’s turnout and thousands in prize money.

  • Winky

    I asked a female cyclist about the various unpleasant aspects of riding with men. She listed: The assumption that she knew nothing (the continuous mansplaining), the frequent attempts to pick her up, the creepy ass-staring, as well as the obvious male ego issues with men constantly trying to prove they’re faster than her. Unless we men can grow up, women-only cycling events have my support.

    • Arminds’ copy of Swank

      Mansplaining is a sexist and derogatory term coined by misandrist feminists. You should’ve asked Men their opinions on the unpleasant aspects of cycling with Women, Women after all are human like men and not exempt from having annoying traits

      • winkybiker

        I find little that is unpleasant about cycling with women, but OK, whatever you say.

        With respect to mansplaining, I think you’re generalizing a bit, but I’ll agree it is an easy accusation to make whenever woman is annoyed at having something explained to them in inappropriately simplistic terms. This can happen to men as well, of course. However, my wife claims to quite frequently experience the assumption she knows little/nothing. I don’t experience this very much at all. It could be that she’s just sensitive to it, but I really do think there’s more to it than that.

  • Colleen Welch

    I attended the Washington Women of Cross Beginner Clinic, then raced the Beginner race. Since then, I’ve done four more races. I’m not particularly good, but I’m having fun and that’s all that matters to me!

    • Anne-Marije Rook

      That is fantastic to hear!

  • Lindy J

    Great article and awesome read.
    I’ve just completed a week of MTB & Road racing with the Australian Defence Force Cycling Club. This year we had maximum attendance from around the country. 80 men & 6 women.
    Over the next year I will also be looking at ways to increase our numbers at the carnival but one major takeaway from the ladies was from a new rider:
    “I’ve never raced any events before but I’ll have a go seeing there is no pressure and no sheep stations…plus the guys are so supportive but can we also have our own race next year?”
    As the ADCC women’s development coordinator I’ll be looking out for these ladies events to pass onto our uniformed ladies of the Army, Airforce and Navy.

  • ChoateAlum

    Want to host a women’s only event? Fantastic, go for it. But if you aren’t hosting a men’s only event as well, then you’re a sexist.

    • jules

      ffs

    • Winky

      Seriously?

  • truth

    Are you even legally allowed to refuse entry based on gender (or color or creed)? What a load of bollocks.
    Might as well start a “White Male With Ginger Beards Only CX race”.
    It is supposed to be gender EQUALITY – so you better be offering a Mens Only race or you are just as bad as the misogynists you apparently hate.

    • jules

      also age. junior racing is discriminatory too.

    • Kim

      Are the men’s and women’s national soccer and basketball leagues in Australia sexist?

    • Arminds’ copy of Swank

      Exactly. This is basically segregation and discrimination but it’s written of as a good thing because ‘men are bad to be around’. I doubt they could get away with men-only cycling clubs

  • Spider

    My only problem is….if all the women go and do there own events…..then the uinsex events become ‘men’s only’ (cause the women are off racing another series etc)….and I’d miss all the women around!

    • Anne-Marije Rook

      Most of the women’s events are targeted specifically at getting new riders into the sport. Higher level racing will still be paired with men’s events. In fact, like the Strade Bianchi and La Course, there is a big movement to have more women’s events paired with traditionally men’s only events.

  • wheel women

    We’ve run the first of the training rides for The Ascent, had one ‘demo day’ where we gave women the chance to try cleats in a safe environment and have the first of the skills sessions this weekend. By all accounts so far women are really engaging in this process of learning and they are thirsty for the info. But the skill range so far is enourmous – women who are new to riding are interested and coming along to join in, as are the really experienced riders.
    Of the groups we have seen so far a lot of women are really worried about doing a 100km ride and they are not sure they can do it (and that’s okay), but they have asked if they can still attend the training. They sure can!

    As far as we are concerned at Wheel Women, the training aspect that builds confidence for riders is the key to behaviour change in increasing participation, and if we can take a not-so-regular rider to being addicted to the ride, then we know our job is done. If you can go from being a non-rider to doing a 10km ride as your personal best, then that is brilliant.

    In my view, 100km is kind of an arbitrary figure….the point is that this is a chance for women to get active and learn some great skills to build their confidence, not matter how far they ride.
    I think the idea of this ride and the journey we will travel with the riders is the best part…it’s a very exciting opportunity for us and for the riders!

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