Author Topic: Female Friendly Audax.  (Read 3558 times)

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #50 on: May 15, 2019, 07:41:42 pm »
It's strictly not allowed under the articles that govern Audax UK, because it would be discriminatory against men.  And those rules cannot, I believe, be changed, because they are imposed by AUK's status with UK.GOV, and by the insurer, i.e. it's not something for the membership to vote to change.

Whereabouts? I can’t see anything skimming through the articles and regulations. Most sports are gender-specific, so it can’t be generally illegal.

(There is a regulation saying rides are open to everyone, but it also says rides may be ridden on any kind of cycle. So if you can’t exclude men you can’t exclude the mudguardless)

My club runs quite a few female only rides. They’re fairly popular, although they’ve had near zero impact on female participation in other events.

Socks

  • FFCT rally, France 2012
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #51 on: May 15, 2019, 07:56:55 pm »
Or if we think there may be barriers preventing women from taking part in audax events, would it be possible to ask
female Audax members for their views and suggestions to increase  participation?

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #52 on: May 15, 2019, 08:24:31 pm »
think it's a good idea, but the AUK approach to brevets is quite dogmatic and having a "pacer" would be against the "unsupported" approach to a randonnee.

Pfff.
I'd better give up all but one of my Audaxen then.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #53 on: May 15, 2019, 08:28:19 pm »
I have to say that when I mentioned the lack of toilets at the controls to one very esteemed organiser he used to send me a list of those he knew of in addtion to the route sheet.
It was very gratefully received. Mind you I can pee behind a hedge if needs must!

I've generally not had a problem with being outnumbered by men on audax rides; like most people they are generally good with the occaisional complete arsewipe. The ones that usually irritate me the most are those that :-
a) use the ladies loos
b) kill themselves to overtake you and then slow down; usually dealt with on the next climb.

On the other hand I have enjoyed the company of many and in many cases a wheel to follow into a headwind.
Reine de la Fauche


arabella

  • no se porque yo no lo se
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #54 on: May 15, 2019, 08:31:04 pm »
I'll leave my soap boxes in the corner.
Oh, I've got nothing to say now.
I do occasionally wonder whether I could have ever finished an 1897 audax on an 1897 bike on 1897 roads.  Probably not, and I don't see myself ever entering l'eroica.  What would audax have looked like if the original audaxers had been a group of averagely fit women?  Seeing as it looks like pretty much everything else in this world was designed for the average man.
I think my conclusion last time was that I'd never have justified the time required if I hadn't been divorced.  I never particularly noticed the proportion of women:men, but then I work in IT.
I suspect the main thing is that you won't be what you can't see.  If most/all of our pictures are mamils then that's seen as what an audaxer looks like.  So we need lots of pics of dumpy middle aged women in publicity material, looking like normal people rather than as if they've already acquired a load of special kit. 
Alas I have so far persuaded none of my friends to ride any further than about 3 miles, though friend's daughter did manage the equivalent of the dun run, with b/f.
In the dark, all views are the same.

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #55 on: May 15, 2019, 09:15:42 pm »
I suspect the main thing is that you won't be what you can't see.  If most/all of our pictures are mamils then that's seen as what an audaxer looks like.  So we need lots of pics of dumpy middle aged women in publicity material, looking like normal people rather than as if they've already acquired a load of special kit.

Noted, thanks.
You're only as successful as your last 1200...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #56 on: May 15, 2019, 09:24:48 pm »
As for her request for toilets that are separate — pfft, it is what it is.  It can be eye-wateringly expensive to hire some halls with spangly toilets (> £500), so cheap halls with sometimes (but rarely, IME) questionable facilities are de rigeur (< £100) ... to which I might add that we're lucky in that we get access to a very reasonably priced, yet still quite nice village hall built with Lottery money; unfortunately, the gents' throne is forever backing up, requiring access to the disabled loo for those who need to perch.

I think what I'm basically saying is that where there are separate men's and women's loo's, that the men don't use the women's loo. Yes there may be 90 of you, and 5 of us, but as I said to the Dutch bloke I found in the women's loo at the start of a recent audax, you're in the one space at the start where I can take my top off and swap my bra over, so go queue next door.

In this actual case, I walked into what I thought was the ladies, found a man at the sink adjusting his bib shorts, walked out, walked into the next door, found men using urinals, apologised to them, went back onto the other room and asked the bloke to leave. When you're nervous about the fact you're about to do 300km in October, having to battle things like this is just a pain.

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

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #57 on: May 15, 2019, 09:39:29 pm »

Personally I think the best thing we could have, is a mentor scheme. Wanna try an Audax, not sure what's involved? Join our mentor scheme. An experienced rider, offers to ride with the newbie, showing them the ropes, explaining what it all involves, answering questions, etc... Make it voluntary on both sides.


I think it's a good idea, but the AUK approach to brevets is quite dogmatic and having a "pacer" would be against the "unsupported" approach to a randonnee.
Personally, I would strip Audax down to "it's a ride between control points where you carry a card to validate and you need to finish by xx o'clock", but many like the long list of rules

I'm not talking about a pacer, I'm talking about someone to keep you company for all or some of the ride. Someone to ride along with you and answer things like "What happens if I get to the cafe after the official control closure time marked on my card?" If you want to also let your mentee sit on your wheel because there's a stonking headwind, that's your choice. It's about being welcoming, and helping introduce new people.

I think my conclusion last time was that I'd never have justified the time required if I hadn't been divorced.  I never particularly noticed the proportion of women:men, but then I work in IT.

I was asked recently about the strong correlation between working in IT and long distance cycling IT types seem to be disproportionately represented.

Quote
I suspect the main thing is that you won't be what you can't see.  If most/all of our pictures are mamils then that's seen as what an audaxer looks like.  So we need lots of pics of dumpy middle aged women in publicity material, looking like normal people rather than as if they've already acquired a load of special kit.

Agreed, which is why it's been great that the last few editions of awoowoo magazine have had women on the cover. Tho this has seen some people commenting that it's getting too much, that there are too many women featured on the cover and it's all equality gone mad. Ignoring the fact that we're still talking sub 25% of all editions to have had a woman on the front... Not to mention that of the pictures of people inside the magazine, women are very much a minority.

This isn't just an issue with AUK, Randonneurs NL site has no women in any of the photos.

Quote
Alas I have so far persuaded none of my friends to ride any further than about 3 miles, though friend's daughter did manage the equivalent of the dun run, with b/f.

I have a friend who will come on a bike ride with me but only if I promise to limit it to 25km, she'll accept 30km, *BUT* there has to be a cafe stop...

The rest of my friends just think I'm crazy.

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

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #58 on: May 15, 2019, 09:50:02 pm »

The best way for women to get fit enough for long audaxes is to ride with a club


My perception of most cycling clubs is that they aren’t particularly attractive to women. (Or maybe I’m projecting.) So assuming a background in that culture maybe creates assumptions that don’t help.

Cycling isn’t running, but the comparison with marathon running suggests that a 5ish hour sport that emphasises endurance over head to head competition, and requires some preparation and travel, but club members are a minority (as far as I can tell) can attract 38% women https://marastats.com/marathon/.


bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #59 on: May 15, 2019, 09:53:40 pm »
It's strictly not allowed under the articles that govern Audax UK, because it would be discriminatory against men.  And those rules cannot, I believe, be changed, because they are imposed by AUK's status with UK.GOV, and by the insurer, i.e. it's not something for the membership to vote to change.

Whereabouts? I can’t see anything skimming through the articles and regulations. Most sports are gender-specific, so it can’t be generally illegal.

(There is a regulation saying rides are open to everyone, but it also says rides may be ridden on any kind of cycle. So if you can’t exclude men you can’t exclude the mudguardless)

My club runs quite a few female only rides. They’re fairly popular, although they’ve had near zero impact on female participation in other events.

A middle ground is pitching a Brevet that isn't exclusively for women i.e. men are banned but really target a couple of introductory rides with extra support and publicity towards women riders who aren't on the scene yet 🤔 e.g. asking involving women's clubs as much as possible for their input in making the ride attractive to their members
Bikepacking bargain basement: reviews of high value kit great for the tourer, bikepacker and randonneur on a budget

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=109048.msg2312359#msg2312359

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #60 on: May 15, 2019, 10:00:56 pm »
My perception of most cycling clubs is that they aren’t particularly attractive to women. (Or maybe I’m projecting.) So assuming a background in that culture maybe creates assumptions that don’t help.

I don't have a particularly big sample size, so this is more anecdote, rather than data, but I have not found any bike clubs that I felt comfortable with. One that made a big thing about their no drop policy and social nature, turned out that when they had someone turn up that was slower than them, it was easier to change the no drop policy, than slow down by 2kph. The leader of that club called me a beginner. I follow them on strava and take great pride in the fact that I'm doing considerably bigger distances than them, both on a per ride basis, and cumulatively...

There are a couple of women only clubs in Amsterdam, but they are generally more interested in faster, shorter rides, for which I didn't feel I felt, tho they were honest and open about that.

It's one of the reasons I started hosting women's only group rides as part of a strava club was because there is a gap for women who want to do a group ride, but aren't interested in chasing QOM's, or training for sportiv's.


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

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
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Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #61 on: May 15, 2019, 10:02:35 pm »
It's strictly not allowed under the articles that govern Audax UK, because it would be discriminatory against men.  And those rules cannot, I believe, be changed, because they are imposed by AUK's status with UK.GOV, and by the insurer, i.e. it's not something for the membership to vote to change.

Whereabouts? I can’t see anything skimming through the articles and regulations. Most sports are gender-specific, so it can’t be generally illegal.

I'm not saying I've seen it, it's just my understanding of how these things work, given the relationship with Companies House on the structure of the organisation, and with the insurer on the provision of insurance.  Audax isn't a sport, per se, it's a club.

(There is a regulation saying rides are open to everyone, but it also says rides may be ridden on any kind of cycle. So if you can’t exclude men you can’t exclude the mudguardless)

Er, now you're drawing conclusions that don't exist — the organiser is allowed to apply any rule they like that doesn't conflict with the Regulations.  "Any kind of cycle" does not preclude the organiser stipulating "yebbut it must have 'guards".

My club runs quite a few female only rides. They’re fairly popular, although they’ve had near zero impact on female participation in other events.

Saying another organisation does it therefore it's okay doesn't actually fly.  You'd have to go back thru all the articles and regs and work out what organisers are allowed to do within AUK's structures, irrespective of what other clubs get up to — they could be doing it wrong and putting themselves at the risk of losing insurance, which would effectively kill the club.
RRTY #6 done; #7 aborted and restarted.

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #62 on: May 15, 2019, 10:06:54 pm »
A middle ground is pitching a Brevet that isn't exclusively for women i.e. men are banned but really target a couple of introductory rides with extra support and publicity towards women riders who aren't on the scene yet 🤔 e.g. asking involving women's clubs as much as possible for their input in making the ride attractive to their members

TBH, that's what BPs are for, in my book, especially around Cambridge where "100km" really does mean "rather flat", rather than any attempt at a AAA event.  And we are working with local women's cycling groups — a number of their riders are working up towards our Cambridge Autumnal 100 in October as the culmination of their season  :thumbsup:
RRTY #6 done; #7 aborted and restarted.

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #63 on: May 15, 2019, 10:08:31 pm »
I'm not talking about a pacer, I'm talking about someone to keep you company for all or some of the ride. Someone to ride along with you and answer things like "What happens if I get to the cafe after the official control closure time marked on my card?" If you want to also let your mentee sit on your wheel because there's a stonking headwind, that's your choice. It's about being welcoming, and helping introduce new people.

 :thumbsup:
RRTY #6 done; #7 aborted and restarted.

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #64 on: May 15, 2019, 10:16:18 pm »
As for her request for toilets that are separate — pfft, it is what it is.  It can be eye-wateringly expensive to hire some halls with spangly toilets (> £500), so cheap halls with sometimes (but rarely, IME) questionable facilities are de rigeur (< £100) ... to which I might add that we're lucky in that we get access to a very reasonably priced, yet still quite nice village hall built with Lottery money; unfortunately, the gents' throne is forever backing up, requiring access to the disabled loo for those who need to perch.

I think what I'm basically saying is that where there are separate men's and women's loo's, that the men don't use the women's loo. Yes there may be 90 of you, and 5 of us, but as I said to the Dutch bloke I found in the women's loo at the start of a recent audax, you're in the one space at the start where I can take my top off and swap my bra over, so go queue next door.

In this actual case, I walked into what I thought was the ladies, found a man at the sink adjusting his bib shorts, walked out, walked into the next door, found men using urinals, apologised to them, went back onto the other room and asked the bloke to leave. When you're nervous about the fact you're about to do 300km in October, having to battle things like this is just a pain.

The first time I encountered cross-gender toileting was when the Wing Commander's wife at RAF Culdrose Air Show in, um, about 1985?, got annoyed at the long queue, in the hot sun, to get into the ladies', and so she marched everyone, including my Mum, around the corner of the Portakabin to the gents', and entered with gusto exclaiming — "don't worry fellas, we've seen it all before!" — and then commandeered all the cubicles.  I always envisage her in my mind's eye as Geraldine James playing Lady Maud in Blott on the Landscape of the same year  ;D

Since then these things really haven't troubled me, they're just part of life's rich tapestry, to be dealt with humour and humility  :thumbsup: ... although I admit I'd rather not use any ladies' that wasn't single-occupancy, for the reasons you give, and similar  :-[
RRTY #6 done; #7 aborted and restarted.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #65 on: May 15, 2019, 10:32:03 pm »
For single-occupancy I don't care what gender you are, just that you leave it reasonably clean.

While I've raided the men's loos for bogroll on more than one occasion, QG's point about bra-swapping is a good one.  Especially on long/wet rides, or where people travelling to/from the start by car and need to change into clean civvies; in a village hall it's the de-facto changing room.

As for peeing behind bushes, I'll do it if necessary (it's often the easiest option when solo touring), but it's a choice between the faff of she-wees or the risk of it all going horribly wrong.  I've never accidentally peed in my shoes, but I have had jelly legs give out on me and ended up with grit in places that really aren't conducive to continued riding of a bicycle.  Hence an appreciation for organisers of cycling things who make it easy to embrace The Rule According To Kim[1].


[1] AKA "Never turn down the opportunity for a civilised piss."
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #66 on: May 15, 2019, 10:33:14 pm »
I'm not talking about a pacer, I'm talking about someone to keep you company for all or some of the ride. Someone to ride along with you and answer things like "What happens if I get to the cafe after the official control closure time marked on my card?" If you want to also let your mentee sit on your wheel because there's a stonking headwind, that's your choice. It's about being welcoming, and helping introduce new people.

That's certainly what got me started in audax, and for that I can thank YACF.   :thumbsup:
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #67 on: May 15, 2019, 10:38:35 pm »
I've never accidentally peed in my shoes, but ...

Yep, I've managed that — "never pee into the wind", oops  :facepalm:
RRTY #6 done; #7 aborted and restarted.

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #68 on: May 15, 2019, 10:55:40 pm »
I don't know if this has been covered yet, I don't think so... leaving the option open for women to enter the full up London Wales London 400 was fantastic. I met loads of women - Bella Velo seemed to be on a club run - on Amesbury Amble who were getting ready for LWL because they could all enter together. I wanted to do LWL but the guy I was riding with couldn't get a space so I did another 400. This worked out for me fine in the end.

Audax doesn't seem to be too macho like sportives. It should be a natural space for women riders. It is a very niche thing to do though, particularly longer events. Most cycling people I know (men and women) don't know about audax.

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #69 on: May 15, 2019, 11:16:11 pm »
Audax doesn't seem to be too macho like sportives. It should be a natural space for women riders.

Maybe we ought to acknowledge that Audaxes are the low-testosterone alternative to Sportives...?
You're only as successful as your last 1200...

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #70 on: May 16, 2019, 12:33:13 am »
Audax doesn't seem to be too macho like sportives. It should be a natural space for women riders.

Maybe we ought to acknowledge that Audaxes are the low-testosterone alternative to Sportives...?

The research would tend to support that contention.

Quote
Research studies on men show the existence of a select group who, through their exposure to chronic endurance exercise training, have developed alterations in their reproductive hormonal profile - principally, low resting testosterone levels. The majority of these men display clinically “normal” levels of testosterone, but the levels are at the very low end of normal, and in some cases reach a sub-clinical status (i.e., “testosterone deficiency”). Such hormonal changes may result in diminished bone mineral content and spermatogenesis, as well as male infertility problems. The prevalence of the problems seems low (~15 to 25% of men doing chronic endurance training), but as noted the research studies examining this condition and its consequences are few in the literature. Hence, more research is needed, especially prospective studies as most information is based upon cross-sectional research designs [1,3].

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5988228/




Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #71 on: May 16, 2019, 06:52:21 am »
I'd used the phrase "low-testosterone" in a metaphorical sense. I'm not sure it being literally true is much of an attraction.  :-\
You're only as successful as your last 1200...

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #72 on: May 16, 2019, 07:48:00 am »
On LWL I took advice from a few women.

They recommended two things. They all said that women are more likely to enter a ride if they don't have to commit months in advance and know that they won't be the only women riding.

I therefore promised that I would hold places open for women until the Spring. This generated a bit of a buzz which also helped.

I was also lucky as several of the women I spoke to set up a Facebook page called 'LWL - The Women's edit' where women could see who else was in and could share advice. Although I was a member of this group I avoided posting too much apart from admin stuff as it wasn't really my space.

That's it really. I could never recruit women to LWL and the fact that we had a decent mix was due almost entirely to a handful of women who decided that it would be a good thing. I would suggest that anyone wanting to have more diverse fields asks a diverse bunch of people to help them. I am super proud that LWL attracted field that felt like it had a wider age spread and better gender split, but apart from wishing for change, I can claim little credit.

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #73 on: May 16, 2019, 07:54:30 am »
 :thumbsup:
You're only as successful as your last 1200...

Re: Female Friendly Audax.
« Reply #74 on: May 16, 2019, 08:12:47 am »
To be fair you're describing (very well, as it happens) how to attract new people to an event.

I find myself curious about retention rates: how many women do it once and then decide not to do it again after less than ideal experiences.

~~~

A friend has spent the last 6 months building up from 20 miles being something massive to successfully completing a 100 miler. I had a text from her a few weeks ago desperately wanting to know if I had time to do a training ride with her because she couldn't stand another day constantly listening to people droning on about the cost of bikes.

Organisation skills will go so far, but it's probably worth reiterating the onus that is on everyone else to minimise some of the usual shit that women have to put up with: learning to recognise if you're making someone uncomfortable or boring the tits off them (are you dominating the conversation? Getting only bare minimum or monosyllabic responses? Glazed looks...?), calling out inappropriate behaviour from others etc etc.