Author Topic: Women-only audaxes  (Read 12380 times)

ravenbait

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Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #25 on: 17 May, 2021, 09:26:44 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.

I was responding to a specific post. T42 said:

Quote
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.

I at no point suggested you need to be a member of Audax UK to do an audax. Nor did I suggest that lack of a membership requirement is the only thing that means triathlons are more gender balanced than cycling events.

But thanks for explaining something to me that I knew already  ::-) .

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

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #26 on: 17 May, 2021, 10:43:54 pm »
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

I came to cycling from triathlon as I gradually lost the ability to run through arthritis. My tri club (53-12 in Colchester) was the most delightfully egalitarian, supportive and encouraging place I've ever had the pleasure to spend my spare time, and was at least 50% women. I miss it still, and it's 15 years since I last did a tri. I know from my women friends who went to ride with local cycling clubs that they suffered all the things you (and many others) report; I can totally understand why a women-only Audax would be appealing to many women. And why the hell not? What difference does it make to anyone who wouldn't want to take part? I hope it happens and I hope it's great.

Davef

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #27 on: 18 May, 2021, 07:27:35 am »
If the numbers were not sufficient for completely separate events you could have two events simultaneously, clockwise and anti clockwise. Or two different start waves.

If you look at say park run (or triathlon) for your first event the challenge might be just to complete it. Thereafter you are trying to do the event as fast as possible, to beat your PB. In the case of parkrun (pre covid) many people are testing themselves weekly. Park runs are very popular inclusive gender balanced events so it is not competition per se that makes events non inclusive.

As grams mentioned above club cyclists are often sneery about tri athletes, but also sportives, mountain bikers, female cyclists, wrong socks...many things.
Perhaps in the absence regular competitive events  cyclists funnel their competitive urges into non competitive events like the “fast group” club rides or passing other cyclists on hills during training rides etc.

How this translates into audax which I view as a test of how far you can ride rather than how fast, I have no idea.

Davef

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #28 on: 18 May, 2021, 07:43:17 am »

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
Quite a few triathlons including the one I did at the weekend defaulted to gender and age based waves. They also had a couple of non segregated waves you could opt for if you wanted to be with someone from a different category.

ravenbait

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Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #29 on: 18 May, 2021, 10:04:48 am »

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
Quite a few triathlons including the one I did at the weekend defaulted to gender and age based waves. They also had a couple of non segregated waves you could opt for if you wanted to be with someone from a different category.

I've never seen that in any race I've done, but I've only raced in Scotland and once in Ireland.

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

Davef

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #30 on: 18 May, 2021, 11:01:54 am »

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
Quite a few triathlons including the one I did at the weekend defaulted to gender and age based waves. They also had a couple of non segregated waves you could opt for if you wanted to be with someone from a different category.

I've never seen that in any race I've done, but I've only raced in Scotland and once in Ireland.

Sam
I suppose it is dependant on size. I should be doing London tri for 1st time this summer and normally it has 13000 competitors and 60 starting waves but I don’t know how they are done. Everything is a bit odd at the moment anyway- all events are time trial starts within the waves and events that are normally draft legal are non drafting because of covid.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #31 on: 18 May, 2021, 05:26:24 pm »
Then, as I said above, let's take strong measures against the offenders, rather than segregate the offended people.

Excellent, let's cure everyday sexism while we're at it.

A lot of the problems I have at mixed events aren't big evil horrible things that would make everyone agree that a person should be banished from riding ever again, so as to make things nicer for everyone. No, it's microagressions. An accumulative death by a thousand cuts.

When you're milling around at the start, and someone asks "Are you here with your boyfriend?"...

When you're about to finish your RRtY, and some bloke looks down to you and asks "Is this your first audax?"

When you walk into the loo, and find a man at the sink, apologise, walk out, go into the other door, find men peeing in urinals, and go back to the other loo and say "this is the ladies", and they then look at you and try to claim that there are 80 of them and 2 of us, so we have to share. "Yes, but I came in here to change my bra, so get out"

When other riders make patronising comments about your bike.

When a rider is riding along with you and starts hitting on you, and you have to explain that you don't do men, to get them to go away.

When they try to tell you how to fix a mechanical, even tho you are a perfectly competent mechanic who built the bike you're riding, as well as doing the occasional shift in a bike shop.

Each one of these is minor. Each one isn't much. But they build up. Accumulating. One on top of the other, until you're suffocating in it all, and just say "Fuck it, I'll go ride on my own".

I've been told time and again by people of various genders that they couldn't do what I did. I did my first Audax in January 2018. In a land where I don't speak the language, when I'd been riding for just 6 weeks. It was windy, it was snowy, it rained, temps were around 0°C, it was hard, and I got round with just 20 minutes in hand. Yet on that one single event I got every question above apart from the toilet one. I've worked in a very male dominated industry for over 20 years. I know that my hobbies are also male dominated. But I continue because I'm seriously fucking stubborn. Many people aren't.

The idea of an all women ride. Sounds awesome. Not having to worry about microaggressions. Everyone being there with the same aim. Damn I wish I could get to this ride.

Quote
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.

I am not trying to build divisions. I am trying to point out that you have privilege that I do not. No one questions your right to be at the start of an event. I've been told I'm too fat to race (by people on this very forum!!!), I've been told that I am taking a space that could have been given to a man who would do better than me in said race. I got called a beginner by the manager of the local Rapha store, a month after I had come 2nd in an ultra race. As a Straight, White, Able-bodied, Man you do not experience the world the way those in minorities do. And quite frankly, it's offensive the attitude many take of "Well I don't have any issues, so I don't know why the women don't want to ride with the men".

I would love to live in a world where people are welcoming and friendly when I turn up to a ride. Where people don't feel the need to question the validity of my presence. I'd love to turn up for rides and not be the only woman.

But despite it being 2021. I do not live in that world. We do not live in that world.

I am not sewing the seeds of division. I do hope however that by explaining how I experience the world, people will come to understand that maybe, just maybe, they have privilege others do not, and maybe, learn to check their privilege from time to time.

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

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #32 on: 18 May, 2021, 05:31:58 pm »

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.

That is the message from the UCI and the IOC, when the women's races are shorter, with less climbing. That is the message they send when the Giro Rosa is only 10 days, but the men do 21. That is the message when the Tour De France is 21 stages, but La course is a single short stage.

There's talk of a women's Tour De France next year. Which is on the most part being celebrated. But if it's not 21 days, and the same distance and difficulty as the men's. It's just reinforcing that women are smaller men.

Especially when we know that Women can not only compete with, but beat men. Fiona has taught us that. Lael has taught us that. Sarah has taught us that. Jasmine has taught us that. It is 2021. There is no reason the women's race should not be exactly the same route as the mens.

But that is different from a women's only non competitive event. Those happen because sometimes we just want to get away from the microagressions of men. (see other post for details).

Quote

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 :)

Well given that for an Audax, the results are either you completed, or you didn't. It does seem rather silly to make two lists based on gender.

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

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #33 on: 18 May, 2021, 05:41:36 pm »
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

I've ranted about this at length on this forum. The problems with the bike industry failing to cater to women are pretty well documented. Whether it's bike sizes not going small enough (credit to Canyon for going down to XXS and 650b wheels in their women's range), to women's bike clothing not going big enough for larger women (I cross dress on most of my rides as most women's jerseys don't go big enough for my boobs.), the default gearing arrangements being stupidly high because men all seem to think they are Chris Froome (kudos to Shimano for the GRX groupsets offering 46/30 chainsets, shame they don't come with an 11-40 cassette option).

And that is all before you get to the issue of a woman walking into a bike shop. A man can walk into a bike shop with €1000, and have a very high likely hood of walking out with a bike that fits them, suits their needs, and is the colour they like. A woman often can't. I went into one of the better bike shops in Amsterdam, and asked to look at their women's road bikes. They showed me a Specialised bike. I asked if they had an others, they pointed to the same bike in large. I asked if they had them anything that wasn't pink. They shook their head. Their women's range was two bikes. They had dozens of men's bikes. Oh and their Jersey selection was pretty poor too.

Another time I was hiding from the rain in the bike shop while I waited for my tram. I was looking at the bike computers. Some sales droid walks up and starts talking to me. I ask what the battery life is like on the computers. "Oh these are about 8 hours, plenty for any ride you do".

"I did 325 km at the weekend in 19 hours". The look on his face was fantastic...

I've stopped going to bike shops with men, because if I ask a question, they give the answer to my male friend, not me.

All of these things make it harder for a woman to just get on a bike.

I realise I am preaching to the converted on this by replying to your post specifically. This post is mostly for the benefit of any men reading.

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

ravenbait

  • Someone's imaginary friend
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Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #34 on: 18 May, 2021, 06:13:45 pm »
All of these things make it harder for a woman to just get on a bike.

I realise I am preaching to the converted on this by replying to your post specifically. This post is mostly for the benefit of any men reading.

Back before the Horrible Lung Catastrophe, I organised (in the loosest sense of the word) the Scottish equivalent of the Dun Run (not Ride to the Sun -- we were doing overnight centuries years before that). One year, my friend (Andy Gates, whom some might remember from other parts) and I went into a well-known bicycle co-operative in that Edinburgh for spares. I was explaining to the male shop assistant what we were doing that weekend, on the basis he might want to join us. "It's a lark," says I. "We're all doing it on fixed this year."

He eyed me up and down and then said, with some doubt, "Well I suppose some women might be strong enough to ride fixed."

Andy dragged me from the shop before there was a fatality.

Only a couple of years ago, I was back in that well known co-operative because one of my shoes had literally fallen apart on my way back from getting my eye polished. I walked in and explained what I wanted in detail. While I was trying on new shoes, the male (it's always the male) shop assistant spent the whole time trying to persuade me to buy a helmet, because clearly, as a woman, I hadn't thought about it properly. I lacked the experience to make an adequate risk assessment, he told me.

That did not go well for him.

I am so effing tired of being ignored, talked down to, treated as if I don't know what I'm doing, talked over, and having male cyclists and cycling professionals assume they know more than me, even in the face of contradictory evidence. This is what it's like to be a woman who rides a bike in any way other than as a trip to the shops with a basket on the front worrying about helmet hair with a husband to do the technical bits. In this house, I do all the bike maintenance. My best cycling experiences have been in the company of a small number of friends who know hecking better, or by myself. I have known two bike shops in my time where I have not felt the need to re-align the attitude of at least one member of staff, and they were both in Exeter.

It has been a number of years since I did anything longer than about 30 miles (see Horrible Lung Catastrophe), and the idea of pitching up to an audax and being treated as a newbie who doesn't know her Shimano from her SRAM does not appeal. But I would dust off some suitable machine and sign up to a women only event. That sounds amazing.

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

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #35 on: 18 May, 2021, 06:17:53 pm »

I am so effing tired of being ignored, talked down to, treated as if I don't know what I'm doing, talked over, and having male cyclists and cycling professionals assume they know more than me, even in the face of contradictory evidence. This is what it's like to be a woman who rides a bike in any way other than as a trip to the shops with a basket on the front worrying about helmet hair with a husband to do the technical bits. In this house, I do all the bike maintenance. My best cycling experiences have been in the company of a small number of friends who know hecking better, or by myself. I have known two bike shops in my time where I have not felt the need to re-align the attitude of at least one member of staff, and they were both in Exeter.


a-(wo)men sister!


Quote
It has been a number of years since I did anything longer than about 30 miles (see Horrible Lung Catastrophe), and the idea of pitching up to an audax and being treated as a newbie who doesn't know her Shimano from her SRAM does not appeal. But I would dust off some suitable machine and sign up to a women only event. That sounds amazing.

Exactly.

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

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #36 on: 18 May, 2021, 06:35:04 pm »
You'd need to already be fairly 'into cycling' to consider a 200, so this isn't about that. Presumably someone has noticed those who are not cisgender male are not progressing from 100km or whatever up to longer distances.

I can think of 3 reasons for this:

a) just not interested
b) interested, but prevented from taking part
c) interested, but electing not to take part if it's going to be like experiences already had on shorter rides


a) is fine and beautiful, no need to fix it
b) good fixes would be to address gender wage gaps, acknowledge care-based labour as labour, male partners to pull their weight with domestic duties and childcare, etc etc
b) a good fix would be to gather 200 moderately pissed off people together at a widely publicised event where they can swap stories and contact details and then self-organise to build environments that are less awful. Vive la révolution.


mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #37 on: 18 May, 2021, 07:15:19 pm »
<snip>
I was responding to a specific post. T42 said:

Quote
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.

I at no point suggested you need to be a member of Audax UK to do an audax. Nor did I suggest that lack of a membership requirement is the only thing that means triathlons are more gender balanced than cycling events.

But thanks for explaining something to me that I knew already  ::-) .

Sam
Woah! I was just making an observation (and I wasn't real interested in the FFCT stuff so may have ignored it, soz everyone ...)
Didn't intend a "knowledge of bike events" joust :)
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

Davef

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #38 on: 18 May, 2021, 07:59:51 pm »
The unpleasant bike shopping experience and non female friendly bike fit would affect female triathletes too but does not seem to deter them as much.

I suppose in tri there is less interaction with other participants. On an audax and other cycling events there is more interaction which could be bad interaction.

I did think about what people have said about equality of events and media coverage. It is true professional triathlon events are on same day, same distance and equal tv coverage. The most exciting to watch is the mixed super sprint relay which hopefully GB should win at Tokyo, but I am not convinced many people see tri on tv.

ravenbait

  • Someone's imaginary friend
  • Pudge controls the weather.
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Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #39 on: 18 May, 2021, 08:14:29 pm »
The unpleasant bike shopping experience and non female friendly bike fit would affect female triathletes too but does not seem to deter them as much.

I suppose in tri there is less interaction with other participants. On an audax and other cycling events there is more interaction which could be bad interaction.

I did think about what people have said about equality of events and media coverage. It is true professional triathlon events are on same day, same distance and equal tv coverage. The most exciting to watch is the mixed super sprint relay which hopefully GB should win at Tokyo, but I am not convinced many people see tri on tv.

Unless you're doing Ironman, you're not spending much more than a couple of hours on your bike. Sprint events you can do on any old beater as long as it's legal. You won't be fast, but you're not going to be in your first event anyway. Not having a decent bike is no barrier. I have two race bikes for tri. Both feel a little too small for me, but I manage. I much prefer my larger bikes, even though they are theoretically too big for my height, for long distances.

Once you start getting serious, that's when you (as a woman) join the ranks of the pissed off. By then, you're kind of hooked.

I think the real advantage of tri is that you can have a go at a short event. A super sprint is a great taster and you can use it as a fitness goal without any massive commitment. With audax, there is no "easy" way in to see if you'll enjoy the experience, so you need to have something else that makes it appealing.

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 #40 on: 18 May, 2021, 08:28:06 pm »
I think the real advantage of tri is that you can have a go at a short event. A super sprint is a great taster and you can use it as a fitness goal without any massive commitment. With audax, there is no "easy" way in to see if you'll enjoy the experience, so you need to have something else that makes it appealing.
There are some very easy 100ks around (and the odd 50k; I organised a few flat 80s as part of a local festival). I guess they take longer than the short triathlons? But maybe take a lot less prep/logistics (as you "only" need to get ready for the bike bit)?

Then there are 10mile TTs. A *very* short event!
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

ravenbait

  • Someone's imaginary friend
  • Pudge controls the weather.
    • Someone's imaginary friend
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #41 on: 18 May, 2021, 08:33:11 pm »
I think the real advantage of tri is that you can have a go at a short event. A super sprint is a great taster and you can use it as a fitness goal without any massive commitment. With audax, there is no "easy" way in to see if you'll enjoy the experience, so you need to have something else that makes it appealing.
There are some very easy 100ks around (and the odd 50k; I organised a few flat 80s as part of a local festival). I guess they take longer than the short triathlons? But maybe take a lot less prep/logistics (as you "only" need to get ready for the bike bit)?

Then there are 10mile TTs. A *very* short event!

Even 100km on a bike seems a lot compared to a 400m swim, a 10km bike ride, and a 3km run.

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

Davef

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #42 on: 18 May, 2021, 10:08:59 pm »
I have two race bikes for tri. Both feel a little too small for me, but I manage. I much prefer my larger bikes, even though they are theoretically too big for my height, for long distances.
I use a much smaller and much more uncomfortable bike for tri than audax. For long distance cycling I also have a bike that is “too big”.
Quote
Once you start getting serious, that's when you (as a woman) join the ranks of the pissed off. By then, you're kind of hooked.
Most of the people I know that do tri are towards the serious end. They all seem happy (apart from crumbling bodies). Perhaps they have gone beyond the pissed off stage.

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #43 on: 18 May, 2021, 10:16:27 pm »
I think the real advantage of tri is that you can have a go at a short event. A super sprint is a great taster and you can use it as a fitness goal without any massive commitment. With audax, there is no "easy" way in to see if you'll enjoy the experience, so you need to have something else that makes it appealing.
There are some very easy 100ks around (and the odd 50k; I organised a few flat 80s as part of a local festival). I guess they take longer than the short triathlons? But maybe take a lot less prep/logistics (as you "only" need to get ready for the bike bit)?

Then there are 10mile TTs. A *very* short event!

Even 100km on a bike seems a lot compared to a 400m swim, a 10km bike ride, and a 3km run.

Sam

What I loved about tris was how sociable they are, in a way that a club TT can't be because (obvs) you're mainly alone on your bike. Club sprint tris, for those of us at the more stately end of the field, are a riot! Much more time spent gossiping than expending calories - but just enough of that to justify a decent Sunday lunch afterwards! Tris are definitely Type 1 Fun, until of course you get serious about it. But even then, they seem more approachable than most (not all, by any means) running or cycling events. Ah, nostalgia (yes, I know - it's not what it used to be).

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #44 on: 18 May, 2021, 10:25:53 pm »
The cycling club I belong to (Crewe Clarion Wheelers) has had some truly fantastic women riders over the years (Christine Roberts rode 461 miles back in late 1990's and no club member to date has beat, of either gender) but overall female membership always hovered around the 10% mark. The female members decided they wanted a ladies only ride on the first Saturday of each month to allow other women to come and meet them and to help them to get into club cycling so when they turned up on club events there would be other women there. There were some obvious comments from people who should know better at the time questioning why the need to positively discriminate. They have gone ahead and over the past three years have grown the female membership to 25% which in my opinion is a wonderful start and can only be a good thing. Several of them are actively engaged in audax at all distances. My opinion, for what it is worth, is that a women only audax could only ever be a positive thing for everybody involved, it should be used to assist women to begin to participate in ordinary audaxes rather becoming a separate sub-group of women who only ride "women only" audaxes
https://creweandnantwichaudax.wordpress.com/ - See the Audax events I currently organise

www.milehousebarn.co.uk - Cycle Friendly B&B in Nantwich, Chehsire

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #45 on: 18 May, 2021, 11:03:38 pm »

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

^^^^ This (speaking as a non-female humanoid). Although there are also quite a few male cyclos for whom the most essential part of the repair kit is the mobile phone to ring the wife/partner to be rescued when they break down! (and quite a few ladies who are very competent fixing their bikes when they need to, even following instructions when it's the first time - three of them happen to be my daughters!)

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #46 on: 19 May, 2021, 08:04:32 am »
a women only audax could only ever be a positive thing for everybody involved, it should be used to assist women to begin to participate in ordinary audaxes

Does the panel think there's any hope of 'ordinary' audaxe(r)s learning from what women say they don't like about them and then changing accordingly? Because maybe it's not just the women that need to learn new skills and find out what more they're capable of...

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #47 on: 19 May, 2021, 09:07:12 am »
Been reading this from the start, but left off posting a while.

I think it all comes down to what do women and maybe also those who identify as women or non binary want?

I'm also in favour of the stuff Brixton CC and Kingston Wheelers have done encourage more diversity.

I've seen first hand the patronising  behaviour my missus has had to go through. Despite the fact that she used to regularly win events at track leagues as the only woman (refusing a handicap start), can outspin most people in a roller race and has actually worked in a bike shop.

These days we mostly use Baker Street in Brighton (never once have they patronised her, only showed respect, despite being all male staffed) and Brixton Cycles (which is probably the most diversely staffed shop I know).

In a perfect world we wouldn't have put up with others predajuces. But unfortunately we haven't beaten all of them yet. Audax seems more inclusive, but I'm yet to even do a Calendar event so maybe I could be wrong, but I honestly think it's above much of the rest of 'event based' cycling.

Ben T

Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #48 on: 19 May, 2021, 09:52:00 am »
I've ranted about this at length on this forum. The problems with the bike industry failing to cater to women are pretty well documented. Whether it's bike sizes not going small enough (credit to Canyon for going down to XXS and 650b wheels in their women's range), to women's bike clothing not going big enough for larger women (I cross dress on most of my rides as most women's jerseys don't go big enough for my boobs.), the default gearing arrangements being stupidly high because men all seem to think they are Chris Froome (kudos to Shimano for the GRX groupsets offering 46/30 chainsets, shame they don't come with an 11-40 cassette option).

And that is all before you get to the issue of a woman walking into a bike shop. A man can walk into a bike shop with €1000, and have a very high likely hood of walking out with a bike that fits them, suits their needs, and is the colour they like. A woman often can't. I went into one of the better bike shops in Amsterdam, and asked to look at their women's road bikes. They showed me a Specialised bike. I asked if they had an others, they pointed to the same bike in large. I asked if they had them anything that wasn't pink. They shook their head. Their women's range was two bikes. They had dozens of men's bikes. Oh and their Jersey selection was pretty poor too.

Another time I was hiding from the rain in the bike shop while I waited for my tram. I was looking at the bike computers. Some sales droid walks up and starts talking to me. I ask what the battery life is like on the computers. "Oh these are about 8 hours, plenty for any ride you do".

"I did 325 km at the weekend in 19 hours". The look on his face was fantastic...

I've stopped going to bike shops with men, because if I ask a question, they give the answer to my male friend, not me.

All of these things make it harder for a woman to just get on a bike.

I realise I am preaching to the converted on this by replying to your post specifically. This post is mostly for the benefit of any men reading.

J

Any men, or just men guilty of sexism?
Do I get to escape your scorn by not doing sexist behaviour, or am I always going to be a problem simply by being male?
I read through your list of sexist behaviours thinking "well I don't do that", "nor that", "I don't do that either".
I get that the idea behind a women only audax might be simply that the only way to eliminate sexist men might be to eliminate all men, with the well-meaning intention of having a sexism-free event, but I think the point that guilt should stem from "doing" not from "being" needs to be made. My hope is that you accept that.


quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Women-only audaxes
« Reply #49 on: 19 May, 2021, 09:55:18 am »


Any men, or just men guilty of sexism?
Do I get to escape your scorn by not doing sexist behaviour, or am I always going to be a problem simply by being male?
I read through your list of sexist behaviours thinking "well I don't do that", "nor that", "I don't do that either".
I get that the idea behind a women only audax might be simply that the only way to eliminate sexist men might be to eliminate all men, with the well-meaning intention of having a sexism-free event, but I think the point that guilt should stem from "doing" not from "being" needs to be made. My hope is that you accept that.

And we have our first #NotAllMen ...

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