A women’s “PEDALING REVOLUTION” and Summer Elegance

In a recent review by David Byrnes of Jeff Mapes’ new book “Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Citiesâ€? in the NY Times, I found this comment of particular interest:

As Mapes points out, when more women begin riding, that will signal a big change in attitude, which will prompt further changes in the direction of safety and elegance. I can ride till my legs are sore and it won’t make riding any cooler, but when attractive women are seen sitting upright going about their city business on bikes day and night, the crowds will surely follow. A recent article in a British newspaper showed the pop singer Duffy on a pink bike. The model Agyness Deyn claims never to be without hers, and Courteney Cox reportedly presented Jennifer Aniston with a Chanel bike last year. Tabloid fodder does not a revolution make, but it’s a start.

His comment already has me anxious to get my hands on a copy of this book and read it for myself.

In the meantime, I had the pleasure of joining our friends Dottie and Trisha of Let’s Go Ride a Bike on the inaugural Summer Babes and Elegant Bachelors Ride. We had a wonderful night on the town in Chicago, proving that bikes can be both an attractive and feasible mode of transportation even on a rainy Chicago summer evening in cocktail attire.


  1. ksteinhoff

    Dottie and Trisha – along with the BikeSkirt gals you introduced – are on my morning Bike Blogs Must Read list right next to Bike Commuters.

    You’ve got a point. I think women bike commuters will be the tipping point. When we start seeing large numbers of them, then motorist attitudes will change.

    I know for a fact that one otherwise cranky old copy editor I worked with became much more tolerant of at least one cyclist.

    We had a college intern who favored miniskirts back in the 60s. He always drove behind her “to make sure she makes it up the hills safely.”

    He never seemed impatient when SHE was the cyclist in front of him. Nary a horn honk nor a “Get off the road!” came from his car.

  2. Iron Man

    The other day I saw a young woman with a peasant skirt and decorative blouse riding a super cool pink flowered up cruiser leaving her college campus. I was sitting at a light all decked out in my Lycra kit, clipless pedals, and panniers representing one end of the commuting spectrum and here she was with cruiser, basket, sandals, and book bag striking quite the contrast. Yet we waved to each other with a kinship that no driver can experience. It was a very nice end to a busy day.

  3. Ghost Rider


    this is EXACTLY why more women commuters aren’t out there with us…because of creepy men following them, admiring their legs or whatever.

    Lord knows all a lot of folks want to do is ride their bikes, not fend off leering, catcalling jerks. My wife dresses fairly conservatively and has a non-flashy machine, yet she is constantly honked at and catcalled by creeps. Even propositioned a time or two. THAT’S what’s got to change — if we can eliminate creepy motorists, that would do a lot towards convincing more women to take to their bikes free of the fear of scumbags.

  4. Paul

    So I guess that if I had pretty legs, flowing and blowing blond hair, etc- only then will the “motorists” (aka: creeps in steel boxes) treat me as a human being that has a right not to be threatened just for daring to use a road without a car! Pretty screwed up, and I hope to live long enough to see more women on bikes, making the road safer for those who look pretty…

  5. Elizabeth (Post author)

    Actually, women are in just as much danger or more so according to some recent studies and now the topic of a study to be conducted at the University of Illinois Chicago — “Women’s Safety and Security issues with Bicycling and Walking.”

    The doctoral student conducting this study cites, “Studies have indicated that a concern for safety is a relevant factor in explaining possible gender differences in bicycling behavior” (Emond, Tang, and Handy, 2009).
    He goes on to explain: “The concern for safety is not limited to the physical environment of the roadways, but includes the availability of bicycle facilities and the safety of the surrounding neighborhoods.”

    Just proves — we all have to be safe out there!

  6. Dottie

    Elizabeth, thanks for posting this! It was so fun hanging out with you – we’ll have to get together again soon.

    Paul, my blond flowing hair, etc. does not stop drivers from honking and being jerks in general. Unfortunately.

  7. Mike Myers

    Wasn’t there a British TV reporter who put on a long blonde wig and showed that drivers gave him more room when they thought he was a woman? He also showed that when he wore a helmet and cycling clothes that he got less room, because drivers thought he was a better cyclist.

  8. Ghost Rider


    that was a British scientist named Ian Walker who did that overtaking study…a controversial study, but with some interesting findings like the one you mentioned.

  9. Elizabeth

    If you’re in Chicago and would like to be a part of that focus group I mentioned previously :
    Research focuses on women’s transportation choices (

  10. Deborah

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  11. Pingback: Another Cocktail Ride this Friday! | Bike Commuters

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