Author Topic: Women and long cycle tours  (Read 5782 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2019, 01:15:33 pm »
I'm 1.68m tall. 50mm taller than Average height for a British woman.
A curious effect of customary measures is that "50mm taller" sounds insignificant but "5cm taller" would sound worth taking note of.

I'm an engineer, I stick to the engineering subset of SI, so µm, mm, m, km, Mm, etc... Habit I've picked up through work.

I could go into more info on the rationale, but it would be going way off topic for this thread.

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

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2019, 01:48:07 pm »
So why don't we women do long rides?
-Is it because society tells us it's "unladylike"
Isn't that reason enough?!?

Quote
-Is it because fewer women cycle generally (and why is that?)
I think yes-and-no.

I say that because a lot of "round the world" types do it with negligible cycling background. It's more like
"
I want an adventure. A long one.
How about Round the WORLD??
How can I do that, at low cost ... hmm, it'll take years to *walk* it .... so how about ...

A bike?!! Yes!.
"
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

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2019, 02:18:12 pm »
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-england-leicestershire-41737483

Quote
Offering women a "safe and comfortable" environment such as a female-only group can encourage them to take up cycling, according to Kate Dale, head of Sport England's This Girl Can (TGC) campaign, which aims to get women active and involved in sport.

"Groups of men aren't necessarily intimidating but can be cliquey and if you think they all know what they're doing it can be off-putting," she said. "They may not be doing it on purpose but it may be an environment you're not comfortable in."

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/13/safety-women-cycling-roads

Quote
The main reason most women don’t cycle in the UK is because they think it is dangerous. You can tell them until the cows come home that the roads are statistically safe, and that you are more likely to be killed walking than on a bicycle. But when they sit on the top deck of a bus and look down to see a cyclist squashed up against the kerb they feel no compulsion whatsoever to join them. Women do seem to be more vulnerable, perhaps because they are often more reluctant to “own” the lane and so end up in the gutter: 10 out of 13 cyclists killed in London in 2009 were women, and eight of them were killed by left-turning HGVs, according to the campaign group Cycling UK.

There is plenty of first hand accounts of what the problems are. They don't require blokes trying to think through what they are, just read and or listen to what women have to say.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #28 on: March 26, 2019, 03:48:16 pm »
QG, we will be assisting at the finish line for TCR.  Looking forward to seeing you at the end of your journey!
often lost.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2019, 03:56:49 pm »
I don't like being pestered, patronised, intimidated or harassed.

I am wimp enough to avoid situations where this might occur.

I am not alone.

[This post is brought to you by the Department of Blindingly Obvious.]

Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2019, 04:19:42 pm »
Interesting reading.

Mrs trekker rode bikes before I met her but they were BSO used for getting to work/pub/shops etc. She showed herself what she was capable of when I encouraged her to go further each ride and ride for enjoyment rather than transport - do both but cycling is fun when not being squashed in town by buses.

We started touring shortly afterwards, we are busy people we normally manage the odd long weekend and the really odd (last one was two years ago) three week tour. On that tour we crossed the Alps. Our Munich to Venice report can be read in the ride reports section.

I don't expect or think she would imagine going on tour alone, not because it's scary but we do everything together. I had ridden lots (although not lots and lots compared to some on here) of miles riding with a club before I met her but had never done an overnighter - going on tour evolved for both of us, I'd always thought it might be fun but when I was single I didn't try it and I had more time then. It seemed a natural way of spending time together, she was enjoying cycling and we both like camping.

She didn't go on tour alone because she didn't think of it. Not many people in the world actually think of it. Some of us are drawn to it and seek out other people doing it either on line or on our travels but generally it's a niche thing. Niche things have a smaller pool to choose from and it's been said up thread more men cycle than women so more men will cycle tour than women.

It feels quite scary to go off on my own into parts of the world where the border guards have loaded weapons (it's scary so I've never done it), I'm small in stature and not very confident, it doesn't matter I'm a man. cycle toruing as a couple has made us both more confident in unusual situations. Situations the average holidaymaker doesn't put themselves into - and we have only toured in the UK and Europe.

As for bragging, it's my experience the only people who actually are interested are those who can relate to it. On Munich-Venice we updated facebook, put a blog on YACF afterwards and tried to tell lots of people about it. Not for bragging rights but we were raising money for charity and it got our charity into peoples newsfeeds or whatever FB calls it, we made £1500 on that trip for a small local charity, it matched their usual income for sic months, it worked.

Since the ride I only tell cyclists about it, not even those who sponsored us bothered to read the YACF report I pointed them to. They had moved on a long time before we even got home. Tell those who want to know by whatever method suits at the time. It's not bragging, it's sharing experiences.
Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2019, 05:24:30 pm »


Quote
-Is it because fewer women cycle generally (and why is that?)
I think yes-and-no.

I say that because a lot of "round the world" types do it with negligible cycling background. It's more like
"
I want an adventure. A long one.
How about Round the WORLD??
How can I do that, at low cost ... hmm, it'll take years to *walk* it .... so how about ...

A bike?!! Yes!.
"


This is very true.  Many, probably most RTW tourists will actively avoid the 'cyclist' label - because cyclists are lycra-wearing leg-shaving racer types who get pampered in hotels every night, don't know what real endurance is and are probably gay, right?

Our hardy adventurers who are using a bike for this trip, on the other hand ...  well, their non-cyclist status probably explains a lot of the odd kit choices I've seen - usually involving packing far, far too much. 


Here are some remarks I've had while touring:

"Why are you touring on a racer?" (This was a trad steel tubed tourer that happened to have drop bars.)

"Wow, you even look like a cyclist!" (Just after the wind had got up and I'd donned arm warmers and gilet.  Errr yes I'm a cyclist,  I'm riding a ... bike?)

"Lycra, that's a bit too professional isn't it? (Come on mate, you've just ridden from England to Vietnam, I'm sure you've earned some comfortable cycling gear.  Many long distance tourists will resolutely shun any bike-specific clothing though, because that would be crossing the cultural divide and becoming 'cyclists'.)

"Where are you going tomorrow?"
"Chartres" (about 70 miles)
"No, but where are you going tomorrow?
"Like I said, Chartres"
[Sound of someone who has ridden several thousand miles but not yet come to terms with the idea that even if he doesn't ride that far far in a day, it's a perfectly normal distance that a lot of people ride]


So yes, there's a big two cultures thing going on.  I'm not trying to be nasty, I think it's great if people have the courage to ride round the world on minimal prior experience - though I do despair a bit of people who can't cope with the "cyclist" label after they've ridden a bike 10,000 miles.  My point though, is that asking why group X aren't habitual leisure cyclists and why they aren't long distance tourists, are largely two different questions.

Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #32 on: March 26, 2019, 06:25:46 pm »
Quote
My point though, is that asking why group X aren't habitual leisure cyclists and why they aren't long distance tourists, are largely two different questions.

I think Q1 largely answers Q2 though. There are fewer women who cycle generally so you're bound to find even fewer cycling long-distance. To answer your question though and this is purely speculation (I have no stats to back it up) I would think it's a time/money/confidence predicament.

We still live in a society where women are more often than not the parent most likely to be looking after the kids. This makes women short on time if they're wanting to take a week off to cycle somewhere exotic. I would argue that women are more likely to work part-time and we're all well aware of the gender pay gap so there's the money element if they're having to support their lifestyles outside of cycling. And then there's the age-old argument of confidence.

I recently interview James Olsen who organises the Torino-Nice Rally and he said he never realised that bivvying out in the mountains wouldn't be something that crosses a woman's mind like it does a man's (generally speaking). Women are more vulnerable (another shout out to society here) and therefore aren't comfortable putting themselves at increased risk - perceived or otherwise.

For centuries women and girls have been told that cycling is something men do and it's only in the last few years that we're seeing that change and more and more women are jumping on two wheels. Races and organised rides are positively discriminating to encourage women to sign up, we're seeing more women-only events to break down barriers to cycling and long-distance cycling specifically.

Anyway, my two cents!

Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #33 on: March 26, 2019, 06:28:07 pm »
Fboab, actual lol, did I really say that? Must have been in a great mood that day 😂😂😂😂

I bloody LOVE cycle touring on my own. They are all up with the best holidays I’ve ever had. Never felt ‘unsafe’ and it’s never in my consciousness that as a lone female it’s sometning I wouldn’t do. Ireland and Scotland are my favourites, so granted, I’m never too far away but I love 2-3 weeks on my own! I like comfort though, so I’d never bivvy or camp. I like to be clean and have clean clothes, so using a washing machine every few days is a big thing for me, as is a nice shower and hand washing clothes the days I can’t access a machine, I usually only have 3 sets of cycling kit with me. Usually 70-100 miles a day depending on the terrain and where I want to end up at the end of the day.

I’d do it several times a year if it wasn’t for family commitments. I did have a few years of freedom as the kids were teenagers, but I’ve just started again on that front so expect it will be a lot of years before I get to go again :( Might have to do touring by car with the family instead to get my fix.

I don’t think I’d like to ride round the world on my own though, I’d want company for that. I think 3 weeks alone would probably be my max. I think that would apply to anything in my life though, I get bored of too much of the same thing.

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #34 on: March 26, 2019, 06:44:33 pm »
Quote
My point though, is that asking why group X aren't habitual leisure cyclists and why they aren't long distance tourists, are largely two different questions.

I think Q1 largely answers Q2 though. There are fewer women who cycle generally so you're bound to find even fewer cycling long-distance. To answer your question though and this is purely speculation (I have no stats to back it up) I would think it's a time/money/confidence predicament.

Matt and I were talking about "round the world types" though.  These mostly aren't drawn from "women/people who cycle generally", they're a separate pool (and the stuff about taking time out from looking after the kids doesn't apply for obvious reasons).

Of all the RTW-type cyclists I've met, I'm in a definite minority for being "someone who cycles generally".  As for competitive cycle sport, I think I've met one other tourist who has ever pinned on a number.

Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #35 on: March 26, 2019, 08:52:21 pm »
I've always been happy doing outdoors stuff on my own. It just makes life so much simpler and I'm quite content in my own company. The upside of the vulnerability thing is that a lone female is not percieved as a threat and you meet an extraodinary range of poeple who are happy to chat/ help/feed you. I've had the most fascinating chats with complete strangers when solo touring - both on foot and cycling.
The only times I've been really scared have been in urban environments, fortunately I have escaped physically unscathed.
The only reason I did the "Epic Sisters tour" with my little sister was that she asked to come as well; I originally planned it solo. We did have a fantasic time though as we get on extremely well and enjoy companiable silence as well as bein daft!
Reine de la Fauche


arabella

  • no se porque yo no lo se
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2019, 07:43:58 pm »
Thanks QG, I enjoyed that.
I should resurrect my 'just keep going east' idea.
When I get time, whic is probably when I retire.  (counts fingers)
In the dark, all views are the same.

JennyB

  • Old enough to know better
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #37 on: April 01, 2019, 04:11:09 am »
I've been looking back over my Warmshowers request logs for the last six years. Perhaps it's because I'm a single trans female host,  but it seems to spilt fairly evenly into three categories :

  • Single men
  • Single women or female couples (two mother/daughter pairs)
  • Mixed couples or groups (mostly couples, but one family with two teenage daughters and one couple with a two-year-old daughter in a trailer)
Jennifer - walker of hills



fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2019, 10:02:05 am »
I asked my folks the same question, and their warmshowers guests have been divided equally between single females, single males and mixed couples.


TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2019, 01:27:27 pm »
I've just done a tally of my Warmshowers requests, here's what I've had:

Seventeen solo men
Seven mixed pairs
Five solo women
Four male pairs
One female pair
One guy with two young kids in tow
One large mixed group (despite me living in a tiny house)
One person of indeterminate sex (androgynous name and they didn't end up staying so I never got to find out)

Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #40 on: April 02, 2019, 09:54:50 am »
This thread reminded me of this article by Jenny Tough:
https://www.casquette.co.uk/people/a-woman-alone-a-recipe-for-rape-unfortunately

Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #41 on: April 02, 2019, 10:45:53 am »
I was trying to think of the lady long distance cyclist/journalist of the late 80's-early 90's (I think she was writing for a cycling mag before I emigrated which would put it  late 80's). Bettina Selby IIRC. I remember her writing of a trip across N Africa and having a rapidfire shifter break. In spite of having been advised not to try repairing one on the road she did so, lost various pingfuckits and ended up doing three days riding with only 3 gears the advantages of a triple chainset). Not lacking in courage and adventurous spirit methinks. She toured alone!

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #42 on: April 02, 2019, 01:03:52 pm »
This thread reminded me of this article by Jenny Tough:
https://www.casquette.co.uk/people/a-woman-alone-a-recipe-for-rape-unfortunately

An article which reminds me of one of the reasons I like riding bikes.  It gets you away from all that crap.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

fd3

Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #43 on: April 04, 2019, 09:37:00 pm »
In all that I do, it's the thing that annoys me the most. When I turned up to my first Audax last January, one of the first questions someone asked was "Are you here with your boyfriend?" As if a woman can only do something like this with a man escorting her.
That's not why someone asks that question.
[/I could be wrong]

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #44 on: April 04, 2019, 09:50:09 pm »
In all that I do, it's the thing that annoys me the most. When I turned up to my first Audax last January, one of the first questions someone asked was "Are you here with your boyfriend?" As if a woman can only do something like this with a man escorting her.
That's not why someone asks that question.

It's one of several reasons for people to ask that question, and its use as a heuristic for gauging one's seriousness about a subject that attracts a male-dominated demographic isn't uncommon, be that at cycling events, academic conferences or SFF fandom.

Sometimes it can be followed up with "Brilliant, I'm not the only one!", of course.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2019, 01:20:38 pm »
If this was a European forum (mainland 😁) you would find quite a few. Don't think any tour less than 4 weeks counts. Have met lots of females touring, and South America probably has more than Europe.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #46 on: April 14, 2019, 11:08:42 pm »
If this was a European forum (mainland 😁) you would find quite a few. Don't think any tour less than 4 weeks counts. Have met lots of females touring, and South America probably has more than Europe.

Good to know that none of my efforts count...

Am I the only one that finds the use of the term females to describe women inappropriate?

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

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #47 on: April 15, 2019, 12:02:55 am »


Am I the only one that finds the use of the term females to describe women inappropriate?

Potentially, though the bigger problem is that I always read it in a Frerengi voice.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #48 on: April 15, 2019, 12:52:00 am »
Some impressive world touring by La Trottineuse. http://www.wot.latrottineuse.com/en/world-tour-push-scooter/
She has some interesting updates and videos on Facebook.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Women and long cycle tours
« Reply #49 on: April 15, 2019, 08:51:09 am »


Am I the only one that finds the use of the term females to describe women inappropriate?

Potentially, though the bigger problem is that I always read it in a Frerengi voice.

I'm not the only one then...

I was talking to the organisers of a local tech conference, complaining at them that they managed to have no women speakers at the event. "We tried, but we just couldn't find any females for speak" "well step 1 is to stop calling us females, the word you're looking for is women"...

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