Author Topic: Women-only audaxes  (Read 12288 times)

Women-only audaxes
« on: 16 May, 2021, 03:41:43 pm »
I'm not sure what is the exact motivation for this sort of things. Do women feel oppressed/discriminated/segregated during regular ACP or AUK events? My question is really a genuine question. As long as audax riders are only competing against themselves, I was assuming that audax was one of the few sports where men and women can participate together with no need for separate categories.

My feeling is that women only audax events are on the line of the recent fashion for black only / gay only / women only, etc., events of all kinds. To remain polite, I will just say that this is not my cup of tea.

One last little detail: the use of the word "nanas" in french for designating women is often patronizing and implies an emphasis on sexual attractiveness, probably equivalent to the use of "chicks" for women in english.

A

P.S.: Moderators, please feel free to delete my reply or move it to the POBI board if deemed inappropriate here.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #1 on: 16 May, 2021, 06:28:17 pm »
As a bloke, I won’t be riding the brevet or an analogue but quite a few women enjoy riding with women, so why not let them do it? There are plenty of other brevets that HK and I can ride together. I understand the brevet was proposed by an ACP woman, so I guess the name and concept was acceptable to her.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Davef

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #2 on: 16 May, 2021, 07:05:17 pm »
I wonder why there is such a gender gap in cycling participation. I was at a triathlon today and it seemed  close to equal gender participation.

British tri membership is 32% female compared to 18% for British cycling. As triathlon generally involves cycling, why the difference ?  Most of the normal explanations for disparities should apply i would have thought.

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #3 on: 16 May, 2021, 07:13:53 pm »
Part of inclusiveness is making it feel that people just like you are doing the things that you are considered doing.  So you can see yourself doing it.  So to bring more women into audax I think it can only be a good thing.

Look at what Liam did with London Wales London and Danial has done with LEL. Positive discrimination can bring about changes that will be slow to happen if you just always stick with the status quo ways of doing things.

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #4 on: 16 May, 2021, 07:53:03 pm »
Female participation in tri comes from running and swimming which often have the reverse gender imbalance. It helps that a lot of "cyclists" have extremely sneery opinions about tri, otherwise I could see a lot more men coming in via cycling clubs.

The underlying problem with cycling is that clubs and events and culture are dominated by men, which puts off women (and others) either because they just don't see people like themselves or because of actual shitty and bore-ish behaviour*. If you put on female-only events you sidestep that.

(* no, not you, I'm sure you're a gentleman)

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #5 on: 16 May, 2021, 07:55:27 pm »
Look at what Liam did with London Wales London and Danial has done with LEL. Positive discrimination can bring about changes that will be slow to happen if you just always stick with the status quo ways of doing things.

Dunno for LWL. Is there a women-only category in LEL now? As far as I know, LEL is open to anyone willing to ride a bike for 1500 km, irrespective of gender.

A

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #6 on: 16 May, 2021, 08:00:46 pm »
There was a percentage of LEL entries prioritised for certain groups, including women.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #7 on: 16 May, 2021, 08:50:12 pm »
There was a percentage of LEL entries prioritised for certain groups, including women.

I'm not against that, but let's admit that allowing, say, 10% of entries to a certain group is one thing, and allowing 100% of entries to that same group is another thing! 

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #8 on: 16 May, 2021, 09:22:45 pm »
Does this have any connection to or motivation from the FFCT's "Toute à Vélo" action which was held in june I believe but is now in september? Although the weakness in the FFCT action to me has always been that it is restricted to FFCT members when there are sufficiently few women active in the clubs that they really reach out to all the ones outside. A bit like saying "look what we'r" doing!" and following that with "but you're not one of us so you can't join in". (Same negative thinking that goes with a lot of the encouraging of non-cyclists to join in and become cyclists generally, but the FFCT is particularly bad at this - Off post I'm sorry and others are not obliged to agree!)

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #9 on: 16 May, 2021, 09:34:23 pm »
I'm not sure what is the exact motivation for this sort of things. Do women feel oppressed/discriminated/segregated during regular ACP or AUK events? My question is really a genuine question. As long as audax riders are only competing against themselves, I was assuming that audax was one of the few sports where men and women can participate together with no need for separate categories.

My feeling is that women only audax events are on the line of the recent fashion for black only / gay only / women only, etc., events of all kinds. To remain polite, I will just say that this is not my cup of tea.
<snip>

Patronised, ignored. It's not about permission, or competition. Inclusivity shouldn't be considered fashion- that's very much from the viewpoint of a white male.

TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Davef

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #10 on: 16 May, 2021, 09:51:54 pm »
Female participation in tri comes from running and swimming which often have the reverse gender imbalance. It helps that a lot of "cyclists" have extremely sneery opinions about tri, otherwise I could see a lot more men coming in via cycling clubs.

The underlying problem with cycling is that clubs and events and culture are dominated by men, which puts off women (and others) either because they just don't see people like themselves or because of actual shitty and bore-ish behaviour*. If you put on female-only events you sidestep that.

(* no, not you, I'm sure you're a gentleman)
Many triathlons have gender (and age) segregated start waves, perhaps that is part of it.

I think the nature of the event is quite a leveller. If you are the best cyclist you are probably not the best swimmer or runner and in fact the winner might not be the best at any one discipline. In fact most people are coming into it from being good a one of the three and so have a lot to learn in the other two.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #11 on: 16 May, 2021, 10:36:25 pm »
I'm not sure what is the exact motivation for this sort of things. Do women feel oppressed/discriminated/segregated during regular ACP or AUK events? My question is really a genuine question.

Yes.

Quote
As long as audax riders are only competing against themselves, I was assuming that audax was one of the few sports where men and women can participate together with no need for separate categories.

There's more to the experience than simply everyone riding the same route...

Quote

My feeling is that women only audax events are on the line of the recent fashion for black only / gay only / women only, etc., events of all kinds. To remain polite, I will just say that this is not my cup of tea.

I'm guessing you're a straight white able bodied man?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #12 on: 17 May, 2021, 07:18:00 am »
I'm not sure what is the exact motivation for this sort of things. Do women feel oppressed/discriminated/segregated during regular ACP or AUK events? My question is really a genuine question. As long as audax riders are only competing against themselves, I was assuming that audax was one of the few sports where men and women can participate together with no need for separate categories.

My feeling is that women only audax events are on the line of the recent fashion for black only / gay only / women only, etc., events of all kinds. To remain polite, I will just say that this is not my cup of tea.
<snip>

Patronised, ignored. It's not about permission, or competition. Inclusivity shouldn't be considered fashion- that's very much from the viewpoint of a white male.

My view is that the hidden message behind women-only events is "You are not good enough to enter a regular event, so we'll do something special for you".  This is for me the very definition of "patronising", and this is why I am not fond of segregated events. If some people, white males or others, have a poor behavior during an event, it is these offenders that should be excluded from the event, not their victims.

I remember that some years ago, there was a discussion on this forum about a possible change in AUK rules for allowing separate male/female classifications, or different rules for women. Most posters, including many women, were clearly opposed to that. Maybe times have changed :)

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #13 on: 17 May, 2021, 07:35:06 am »
I'm not sure what is the exact motivation for this sort of things. Do women feel oppressed/discriminated/segregated during regular ACP or AUK events? My question is really a genuine question.

Yes.


Then, as I said above, let's take strong measures against the offenders, rather than segregate the offended people.


I'm guessing you're a straight white able bodied man?

Short answer: Yes. But let me tell you one thing. By asking this question, you are being very divisive. Have I ever made any comment on this forum regarding your possible belonging to one group or another? Certainly not. Let's face it, you and me are just people, basic plain people who have the same hopes for a happy and peaceful life. You will not make the world a better place by building divisions between people.

Cheers!
A

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

ravenbait

  • Someone's imaginary friend
  • Pudge controls the weather.
    • Someone's imaginary friend
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #15 on: 17 May, 2021, 09:56:21 am »
Triathlon, while possibly not as inclusive as it can be (although I've competed in the same event as blind athletes, I have yet to participate in an event with anyone who requires, e.g., a handcycle), is a remarkably inclusive sport. Races are segregated by how fast you are in the swim. That's it. If you can do 750m in 15 minutes, you will start with a bunch of other people who do the 750m in about 15 minutes. The majority of amateur races are non-drafting, so there's no requirement for the kind of bike skills you can only learn by being in a club (I was not permitted to join the clubs I approached as I only have one eye). On exiting the swim, it is normal for spectators (most triathletes have friends or family along) to cheer loudly for every competitor. It's a race, but it really is about participation. It's normal for triathletes who are unable to compete for injury reasons to marshal on races. There is no body shaming, which is a huge plus point in the sport's favour -- you look at televised sports and see whip-thin athletes running insane speeds, and then you go to an amateur event and see every body shape under the sun just getting round the best they can. There are events specifically targeted at beginners (I once saw some first time racers stopping for tea from a flask and to get changed in T1 on a super sprint) and events aimed specifically at women, some of whom go on to be regular faces on the circuit.

This, at least, is my experience in Scotland.

Women generally are not encouraged in sports the way men are. There is a degree of hesitation to overcome, some of which comes from not having the innate audacity that society impresses upon straight white men in particular. Women look at something like audax, which is well outside the normal scope of things most people consider easily achievable (never mind enjoyable), and if they don't see other women visibly participating, then they don't have that natural "Of course I can do it and it might even be fun," reaction.

I'm a member of a couple of women-only cycling groups on bookface, as well as Audax Ecosse and Audax UK bookface groups. The nature of the conversation is completely different because the challenges are completely different. In the women-only groups, conversations are about needing to find a bike that fits, and a saddle that was designed for them, and shorts that aren't designed for some rail-thin Italian model who inhales dust and sunbeams in her morning hot yoga class in lieu of breakfast. They're about needing to overcome the social pressure not to be out on their own in case something happens to them. They have responsibilities in the house and home that limit the amount of time they have available to spend on the bike. They want encouragement, not sarcasm. They don't want to be made to feel stupid for asking basic questions. They want, in short, the kind of kindness and consideration that you offer to fellow humans you don't know very well, not the kind of banter that can be found in groups where everyone knows that one guy who used to carry a tin of rice pudding in his bottle cage and everyone has different opinions about which version of a specific audax was the best one, and shared memories of huddling in a bus stop in the pouring rain n the Welsh mountains in 1983.

I could see a women-only audax attracting the kind of women who have recently discovered cycling, are realising that they can do more than they imagined, and see a bunch of other women doing something that they previously hadn't considered possible.

I should also point out that the thought of doing an entire event without some of the crap I've had to put up with from men on rides (not triathlon), is quite appealing. For example, on the Edinburgh-St Andrews one year, I had a man start to overtake, glance down, then do a double take. "I didn't know women could ride fixed," said he, as if my vagina was responsible for changing gears and would implode if not given something to do. I yelled back over my shoulder to my husband, at that moment probably wondering where he could hide the body, "Darling, surprise! You're not gay!"

Sam
https://ravenbait.com
"Created something? Hah! But that would be irresponsible! And unethical! I would never, ever make... more than one."

arabella

  • no se porque yo no lo se
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #16 on: 17 May, 2021, 10:22:19 am »
I see it more as a case of "you're perhaps put off by events being dominated by all those blingy bikes with regular audaxing people* on them who belong to a club and know each other already. 
"We'll put on an event that is going to limit these sorts of people.  But not entirely; there may be some club women and messieurs "la route est à tous et la trace sera publique.  Si vous tenez vraiment à accompagner une ou des rouleuses, vous pouvez évidemment le faire, et pour que vous soyez assurés sur la route, nous vous demandons de vous inscrire également."

So if I and friends weren't already audaxing in a huge way or wanted to dip a toe in, a mainly women event would help.
(Comment from random male colleague: he had to represent <something> at a women's event.  He had to give himself a stern talking to in the gents before he could walk into the room full of women.  Thinks I, sourly: I have to do the equivalent every single working day. )
I can think of only 1 event I've done where I've turned up and, unplanned, ridden with another woman.

aka: it's stressful always being the odd one out.


As for why there's a gender gap, it's possible that women's kit being  errm - my "short reach" brakes are still too long without me tweaking - may contribute.  And other defaults aimed at the average male?  But looking around, I suspect there is still a non-zero incidence of dad doing "important job" then needs bike ride to unwind whereas mum just gets on with the taxi service etc., so becomes dubious about fitness levels/ability to finish etc.  but icbw (and hope I am, your anecdata may be different)
Sam's put it  very well, thanks


*possibly including men who apparently want special recognition for going faster even though we're talking about audax, see threads passim
In the dark, all views are the same.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #17 on: 17 May, 2021, 10:41:51 am »
Part of inclusiveness is making it feel that people just like you are doing the things that you are considered doing.  So you can see yourself doing it.  So to bring more women into audax I think it can only be a good thing.
This, yes? Welcoming and including the people who turn up is all well and good, but it's even better to design your event or activity so that more people who want to turn up, do. Which might mean something like stopping at a cafe rather than a pub, for instance.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #18 on: 17 May, 2021, 11:10:53 am »
Does this have any connection to or motivation from the FFCT's "Toute à Vélo" action which was held in june I believe but is now in september? Although the weakness in the FFCT action to me has always been that it is restricted to FFCT members when there are sufficiently few women active in the clubs that they really reach out to all the ones outside. A bit like saying "look what we'r" doing!" and following that with "but you're not one of us so you can't join in". (Same negative thinking that goes with a lot of the encouraging of non-cyclists to join in and become cyclists generally, but the FFCT is particularly bad at this - Off post I'm sorry and others are not obliged to agree!)

Bof. FFCT membership at the lowest rate costs 36€50. First-rime membership price is lower by a good whack. And it means you can also do diagonales, BCMF, mer/montagne and a bunch of other fun stuff.
But they never got to Carcassonne.

ravenbait

  • Someone's imaginary friend
  • Pudge controls the weather.
    • Someone's imaginary friend
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #19 on: 17 May, 2021, 11:59:27 am »

Bof. FFCT membership at the lowest rate costs 36€50. First-rime membership price is lower by a good whack. And it means you can also do diagonales, BCMF, mer/montagne and a bunch of other fun stuff.

OK, but why would you? What does that even mean?

If you want to get more women doing audax, you need to get more women cycling and confident about it. In the discussion groups of which I'm a member, conversations are congratulating one another for managing 20 miles, or asking what emergency kit to take (one respondent's answer was, "a mobile phone to call my husband" and my list of things I carry to get myself out of a mechanical was quite the eye-opener for most of the members who responded). There was one thread where a woman was excited about getting a backpack for a long charity ride -- she had no idea that you could put your luggage on your bike. Saying, "Membership is only yay much, and you get <unintelligible terminology>," isn't helpful.

But there are women signing up for sportives and charity rides. They are terrified, but they are doing it, and then they'll stop being terrified. And this is partially down to the other women cheering them on, and offering advice when they need it in simple terms, and generally just saying, "I can do it, so you can too, incidentally you might want to try this manufacturer because they recognise that we're not all made of lanky pipe cleaners."

The original question was why should there be a women's only audax. If you don't care about getting more women doing audax, then there's no need for one. There will always be a relatively small number of women who just go and do this kind of thing anyway. But if you want to get to the point where women turning up to ride any audax have a reasonable chance of seeing another woman, then things like this will help. It will ease the fear of being left behind because you're the only woman there and everyone else will be faster/more independent/less in need of company than you.  Women often feel safer and more confident with other women around. It's that straightforward.

FWIW, triathlons don't need you to be a member of anything. Membership of Tri Scotland or British Triathlon gets you a cheaper entry fee, but you don't have to be a member. A good rule of thumb is not to put additional hurdles in the way if you are trying to attract new people.

Sam
https://ravenbait.com
"Created something? Hah! But that would be irresponsible! And unethical! I would never, ever make... more than one."

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #20 on: 17 May, 2021, 03:08:27 pm »
I'm guessing you're a straight white able bodied man?

Short answer: Yes. But let me tell you one thing. By asking this question, you are being very divisive. Have I ever made any comment on this forum regarding your possible belonging to one group or another? Certainly not. Let's face it, you and me are just people, basic plain people who have the same hopes for a happy and peaceful life.

It's relevant because it means you are a type of person that the world (especially the cycling world) has been built around, whereas everyone else has to negotiate a world that wasn't built for them.

Saying "I've never noticed a problem, the world is great, let's just leave things as they are" is blithely ignoring that.

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #21 on: 17 May, 2021, 05:34:40 pm »
well, the world in the UK and Europe and North America perhaps, but not the world.

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #22 on: 17 May, 2021, 05:50:44 pm »
I honestly think that the model for inclusiveness has to be kayak Hasler racing.

These are races, not tours, however every event runs a huge range of divisions, starting from really quite slow to olympian. If you go fast, you get put in a higher division. A line up in the lower divisions is likely to have people ranging in age from 10 to 80s. Gender doesn't kick in until you are national level, then they separate the winners by gender (but often a combined race, since there aren't many entries at div 1/2 level in most regional races).

If you are in a populous area (lots of very serious clubs on the Thames) the slowest divisions will have olympians cheering them on.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

ravenbait

  • Someone's imaginary friend
  • Pudge controls the weather.
    • Someone's imaginary friend
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #23 on: 17 May, 2021, 05:56:53 pm »
I honestly think that the model for inclusiveness has to be kayak Hasler racing.

These are races, not tours, however every event runs a huge range of divisions, starting from really quite slow to olympian. If you go fast, you get put in a higher division. A line up in the lower divisions is likely to have people ranging in age from 10 to 80s. Gender doesn't kick in until you are national level, then they separate the winners by gender (but often a combined race, since there aren't many entries at div 1/2 level in most regional races).

If you are in a populous area (lots of very serious clubs on the Thames) the slowest divisions will have olympians cheering them on.

Triathlon is the same. No gender segregation until you get to the Elites, and even then it depends on the race. Draft legal races are more likely to be segregated.

Sam
https://ravenbait.com
"Created something? Hah! But that would be irresponsible! And unethical! I would never, ever make... more than one."

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #24 on: 17 May, 2021, 07:03:54 pm »
FWIW, triathlons don't need you to be a member of anything. Membership of Tri Scotland or British Triathlon gets you a cheaper entry fee, but you don't have to be a member. A good rule of thumb is not to put additional hurdles in the way if you are trying to attract new people.
FWI (also)W:
very very few cycling events require membership of anything (or you can buy day membership for a teeny fee). And Triathlons are almost universally more expensive than the humble 200km Audax :P

I think there are other reasons for Tri being very gender-balanced, just MHO.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles