The 12 ways to spot a female cyclist

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Male cyclists tend to stand out pretty easily in a crowd, even when there is no lycra in sight as hair-free legs and cyclists tan are a dead giveaway. But it’s not always so easy with female cyclists … or is it? Perhaps it’s just a matter of knowing what to look for.

With the tendency of most women to pull out their leg hair and a greater adeptness with tan line eradication, the signs often aren’t as obvious as with men. Spot a combination of a few of the following tell-tale hints, though, and chances are that what you are looking at is a female cyclist:

The (not so) subtle tan lines. The blatantly stand-out sharp arm and leg tan lines from wearing the same length kit and socks all the time are such an easy, obvious giveaway but don’t be mistaken and think if you can’t see them that means you’ve got a non-cyclist on your hands. Some female cyclists embrace the tan line but others can get pretty crafty (and even in desperate cases break sock length rules) to make sure they don’t turn her off the bike look upside down. You may have to look for the more subtle giveaways that we may have forgotten to cover up – like is the top of the forehead which is shaded by the helmet being just slightly lighter than the rest, or is there a less sun kissed look where the gloves go?

Leaves the party early. They will arrive at the party unfashionably early, because they know if they don’t there’ll be no time to talk to anyone. They’ll be out the door well before even the most eager of the party hard crowd has begun slurring their words as it’s way too hard to get up early to ride after a big night.

No dainty serves here. They are the ones with their plate piled high with food because a long day out on the bike makes for a serious appetite.

Short but colourful nails. Nail polish matching your kit or maybe even your bike is definitely a thing, but super long nails aren’t as they just get in the way during bike maintenance and when you have to change a flat. The nails have extra give away value if the colour clashes with the everyday clothes she’s wearing, because chances are she was more interested in co-ordinating her on the bike look.

race nails

Good at averting her gaze at delicate moments. She’s had plenty of practice while avoiding the nature break views while riding and racing with the men.

Super slick with a quick change. Plenty of pre-ride kitting up practice and post-race changes in the carpark makes skill and dexterity with clothes swapping essential. If you are quick and nimble there’s less exposure.

Check out my thighs! There aren’t a lot of other women you’ll hear proudly declare “look my thighs are getting nice and chunky.” However, for a female cyclist who is increasing the strength of those cycling muscles to ramp up her sprint or put down the power on the track, the growing snugness of the legs of her jeans can be a  sign of success.

Podium legs.
Powerful podium legs.

Bulging leg muscles but weedy arms. The well defined muscles in the lower half of the body are a pretty good giveaway, but she could just be a gym regular. The real clue is if it is combined with stick thin arms. They don’t call roadies T-Rexes for nothing

Scars. Ride enough and you’re bound to come off eventually. These scars are badges of honour, each with a tale of its own. Though the stack marks usually are not quite as dramatic as the ones cross-discipline cycling superstar Pauline Ferrand-Prevot was sporting recently.

Low maintenance hair. No point spending hours doing your hair when you are bound to go and put a helmet on it and waste the effort. Also using those pre-work morning hours to squeeze in a ride is a much higher priority than spending it in front of a mirror with a hair dryer. The alternative: a sturdy long side braid. They’re all the cycling rage these days.

You spotted her looking at magazines in the men’s interests section. Because that’s where they put cycling magazines. Really!

@ellacyclingtips we still have some distance to go when newsagents still put cycling in the ‘Men’s Interest’ section

— Emily Bessen (@emilybessen) July 6, 2016

No expensive jewellery or handbags. Why would you want a diamond ring or a designer bag when you could have a new bike instead? Although, the female cyclist may sport them if they were received as a birthday or anniversary present – possibly from a soon to be ex – as any sensible partner of a cyclist knows the best presents are bike related.

Wheel love
Wheel love!

Are there any we’ve missed? How do you spot a female cyclist in the crowd and what are your give aways?

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