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Tag Archive: women bike commuters

This Just In: Lady Commuters Are On a Roll!

Hey there, fearless female foot-pedaling peoples and all Bike Commuters readers in internet land. This just in from Washington D.C.: the League of American Bicyclists recently released a “first-of-its-kind report showcasing a trend seen on streets nationwide” Apparently, stats are showing that Cycle Ladies are changing the face bicycling (duh), and bicycling is transforming the lives of said lady commuters (double-duh and high fives!)

The press release from the League goes like this:

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“Women on a Roll” — a product of the League’s Women Bike program — compiles more than 100 original and trusted sources of data to showcase the growth and potential of female bicyclists in the United States. It also suggests five key focus areas — the 5 Cs — to increase women’s ridership:

» Comfort
» Convenience
» Consumer Products
» Confidence
» Community

“Increasingly, advocacy groups and industry leaders are recognizing the gender gap as a clear — and critical — limitation to growing the bike movement and the market,” said Carolyn Szczepanski, the League’s Director of Communications and Women Bike. “This report puts hard data behind that imperative — and reveals what’s working in getting more women on bikes and where there is clear opportunity to increase female leadership and participation.”

According to the report:
» 82% of American women have a positive view of bicyclists
» From 2003 to 2012, the number of women and girls who bicycle rose 20%, compared to a .5% decline among men
» Women are the new majority: 60% of bicycle owners aged 17-28 years old are women.
» Women accounted for 37% of the bicycle market in 2011, spending $2.3 billion.
» 45% of local and state bicycle advocacy organization staff are female.
» 89% of bike shop owners are male, but 33% of shops are run by a
husband/wife team.
» Women are still underrepresented in leadership positions, including the boards of national industry and advocacy organizations — and their membership.

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Download “Women on a Roll” here and stay engaged as we dig further into the data and concepts in the report with female leaders over the next three months.

Learn more about Women Bike at bikeleague.org/womenbike

Take what you want from it… I’m usually a positive thinker living in a happy bubble world where bikes, ponies, and rollerblades all share the roads with equal representation of male and females alike… But let’s get real here, women are the hot new thing in the Bike Commuting land, and we can’t deny the increasing representation in the market!

So whaddya think? Are you a cycle lady that has changed the face of bicycling? Did all you women on bikes out there need Comfort, Convenience, Consumer Products, Confidence, and Community to transition into the cycling world? If you aren’t a Cycle lady yet, just click here to get some inspiration of why you should become one!
Otherwise, hit us up in the comments to share your opinions.

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Two Girls and Two Bikes in the City of Light!

Salut les Bike Commuters! Mir.I.Am is fresh off the jet from France and ready to report on the lovely life on two wheels from the City of Light – Paris.  I just spent several weeks in France (oui, oui, depending on your point of view, cue a “scowl of disgust” or “sigh of extreme jealousy,” dear readers).  Ever since investigating the bike share options in Paris and Bordeaux last year, I’ve been anxious to see Paris from a bike’s eye view.

From the Bike's Eye View in Paris

Two Girls – one with a Backache. My Parisienne friend was incapable of taking the Metro around the city.  Thanks to a chronic back injury, she was on intense medication with doctor’s orders claiming no standing on her feet for more than two minutes at a time. Walking was out of the question and the Velib bikes near her house were always checked out, since she lives on the top of a hill.  Lucky for us, the two bikes in her garage were the perfect option for two girls touring around the City of Light!  We packed up our locks, bags, and water for the road, and set off for a day of errands and sight-seeing rolled into one!

Marion on her B*Twin step through, with my pink bag in the basket.

Two M’s: Marion & Mir.I.Am. Just like Task Force Chicago, we played follow the leader, with Marion as the leader and me the tourist sheep on two wheels.  It’s so stress free to follow a seasoned local bike commuter when you’re brain is in vacation mode, no need to tape maps to handlebars or plan out routes!  A bike commuting tip from Marion: make sure to loop part of your bag over your handlebars if your bag is in the front basket since bags are easily snatched at red lights or while biking through slow traffic in Paris.

My Parisian ride was the silver "Le Super"

An atypical bike commute for me, I was without helmet (don’t judge), blessed with a slow-leaking back tire, riding a single speed (by default due to broken cables), with a busted built-in generator headlight, but hey – Le Super bike was $free.99 with legit street cred.  I mean, look at the thing!  I climbed aboard with enthusiasm and a smile, as we pedaled through Paris running errands with plenty of scenic architecture along the way like the Paris Opera.

Flowers in your back rack!

Everywhere you look, bikes in the street.

Strangely enough, I noticed that bike lanes and routes were often in the opposite direction of traffic on One-Way streets.  We navigated several roundabouts, green painted bike lanes, bike boxes, sandy paths in parks, and construction zones.  The two girls on two bikes snaked through the city, avoid congested boulevards in favor of smaller back alleys.  Marion explained to me that we give right of way to the traffic coming from the right (at least this is what I think she said in French), and that there were several laws we were breaking but she’s never been caught!  Welp, no time to ask questions, so we ride on and do as the locals do.  Off to run our errands: picking up some new duds for me and maybe some bling bling.

First errand - pick up a new outfit for me, just my size!

Off to the next destination!

Second errand, pick up my necklace from the jewelers...

Two hours of Biking = What an appetite! All smiles and a light sweat later, with errands under way… time for a tasty lunch in a car free zone at Rue Montorgueil!  Merci to Marion for taking me to another great local spot.  There were tons of bikes shackled up against the fences, and the pedestrian quarter was short but sweet.  Sunshine, cigarettes, and salad at a tiny table and chairs at an outdoor cafe was exactly what we needed to recharge.  Bon appetit, mes Bike Commuters.

Getting hungry after a few hours of running errands, off to find FOOD!

The best parking spots - for BIKES only in the pedestrian quarter!

Nom, nom. Salad time.

Two Bikes round up the Sites. We ended our day (a total of 6 hours of girly fun bike time) by taking the scenic route home, through Pere Lachaise Cemetery.  In all my visits to Paris, I had never been to this famous cemetary.  We rolled up to the automobile entry and were halted by the lady at the guardshack.  To our surprise, she told us it was interdit to bring bikes into the cemetary!  We expalined to her that we fully intended to walk our bikes through, as it is pretty steep, bumpy with cobble stones, and I was riding Le Super default single-speed.  But, there was no reasoning with the law, she said we would have to lock our velos outside the cemetery and walk around inside without them.  We left the auto entry and turned the corner, where we decided to sneak in via the pedestrian entry and carry our bikes up the staircase.  I went up first with Le Super to check for a guard, so Marion wouldn’t have to carry the B*Twin up the steps if we were going to get caught.  Lucky for us, a group of 30 middle schoolers were at the top of the staircase, creating a perfect diversion for us to sneak past…  Merveilleuses Marion and Mir.I.Am made it into Pere Lachaise!

Well worth the effort of sneaking in with our bikes!

The cemetery is enormous, like a mini-neighborhood

The Bike’s Eye View is the BEST Eye View of  Paris. So touring about Paris from the saddle of a junky old bike, I decided I liked what I saw.  Two girls playing follow the leader on two bikes in the City of Light was the best way to get around Paris in the summer.  Imagine all the things we would’ve missed in the Metro!  Imagine how sweaty we would be if we had to hoof it around the city instead.  It was so fast to get around by bike that it made the big city feel small.  Enjoy your summer, and enjoy your vacation commutes, Cycle Ladies and Gents!

A little Bike Love from France!

Friday Musings – Women on Bikes are Just Plain HOT.

That’s right!  I said it!  Women on bikes are just plain hot.

From Milwaukee Pedal Pushers via FYGB.

Now, before anyone gets on their feminist high-horse (or double-tall feminist high-bike) please note that this article is mere speculation, meant to entertain and bubble up chittah-chattah, as part of our Friday Musings series.  I was talking with my local Cycle Lady coworkers and amigas about bike dates, bike friends, or just saying “hello” to others during your commute! I remembered an article that RL once posted a while back about meeting singles while bike commuting around town… While we still weren’t too sure about the direct correlation between a girl on a bike pedaling off to work and scoring a date on the way, we all agreed that being a woman on a bike just might be the easiest form of everyday bike advocacy!  Because if you’ve ever seen a Cycle Lady on her way to work, campus, the grocery store, the county prison or the junkyard, you’ll have to admit that women on bikes are just fan-fracking-tastic.

I don't crash my tall bike accidentally

Thanks to Dingo Dizmal's flickr stream

Whether you’re a Cycle Lady donning a bright yellow safety vest or cruising in a workdress, women with pedal power are sexy and exotic like the such-n-such orchid that blooms only once every three years and smells like rotting flesh!  (Hmm, somehow that simile didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped.)

What is it about a woman on a bike that just makes cycling to work that. much. better?!  I’ve seen some Red Hot Ladies around time that are KILLING IT up Tantalus and they just make my day.  And these ladies are hitting their 60s, putting young bucks to shame on a daily basis.

At this year’s national Bike Summit in Wash D.C., the buzz was all about women as the key to growing transportation cycling.  Apparently, the hypothesis is that the number of women on bikes is a measure of success for a city’s cycling culture.

I always tell my single friends in search of a mates or new buddies a surefire way to meet some new people would be to get on a bike!  (And that goes for Cycle Ladies and Gents.)  Trading tips with the other bike commuters at your job, or starting up a convo with the homie locking up their ride at the bike racks… there’s just something about riding bikes that’s so fun it’s contagious!  At least in the cities where I’ve commuted (San Luis Obispo, CA; Seattle, WA; and Honolulu, HI) I’ve felt an automatic sense of belonging when you pass another bike commuter in town… that little nod to the cyclist heading in the opposite direction, checking out each others rides or maguyver rack set ups, and high-fiving at red lights.  You know what I’m sayin’?

Women on Bikes - exotic and beautiful like the rare "corpse flower"

And I’m not just talking about the Mary Poppins Effect – where all girls in skirts on upright dutch bikes get more respect in the road.  No matter what kind of bike you ride, what you’re wearing, or how old you are, I’d like to go on the record to say that all women on bikes are HOT.  Don’t you agree, lovely readers?  So, let’s celebrate this unique group of individuals (the minority’s minority in the world of commuting) with some spicy photos!

From Dmackintosh Flickr stream - Roadie!

From Chicks on Bikes - Summertime BMX and sandals.

Cycling Taiwan - Day 5

Mamachari style bikes are HOT in Taiwan!

Marilyn Monroe - Keepin it real on two wheels!

Too much FUN - cruiser with a surf rack

Amendment! I've received a personal request from friends to post a photo of the RED HOT LADIES of HNL

Hipster pin-up status

And for all you mntbikeRiders - making spandex look GOOD.

Whew! That’s enough hot mamas on bikes for me for one weekend.  Catch you later, cycle gators!

Cycle Ladies Brave the Streets

Fancy headgear at Adeline Adeline - a woman-owned bike shop in NYC

RL Policar sent an article over from the New York Times recently titled “Women, Uneasy, Still Lag as Cyclists in New York City” detailing that fashion (loosely interpreted as disdain for sweaty back) and fear (of cars, buses, and rampant pigeons) are the top reasons why women don’t choose to commute by bicycle in NYC.  A while back I posted a guest article on BikeCommuters.com dispelling similar Cycle Lady myths.  Come to think of it, it seems that the top excuses for punking out of bike commuting apply to both men and women alike:

  1. Don’t Wanna Be the Sweaty Smelly Kid in Class (Who does!!?)
  2. Fear of Cars and Inadequate Bike Skills
  3. No Bike!

The New York Times article stated:

Despite the city’s efforts to become more bike friendly, male cyclists in New York continue to outnumber female cyclists three to one, just as they have steadily over the past two decades. Data tracked by the city and private groups shows the gap between male and female cyclists is even wider in areas where vehicular traffic is more concentrated. These figures lag not only far behind those in most major global capitals like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, where women make up the majority of cyclists, but also behind American cities like Portland, Ore., that have narrowed the gender gap.

So much gray, and with little red dots. We'll show you how to narrow your gap, Portland... see next chart.

Personally, I feel that bike commuting is no more dangerous as a female than a male (or read: “as a womanchild than a manchild”) .  On the other hand, if I were walk commuting around Kuhio Ave. dressed as “woman of the night“, that would be a different story…  But as a cycling lady, I can definitely say that despite being a weak and feeble human, one who is not prone to “high-risk” activities or thrill-seeking – I feel safe while commuting by bike.  To demonstrate my self-proclaimed feebleness: I don’t have tattoos (needles are scary, damn you tetanus shot!  That crap hurts for days) since I have a low threshold for pain (known to consume over the counter pain meds from stubbed toe to minor ear ache like a bowl of cereal).   Lastly, I have no desire to accomplish any of the following before my twenties are up: sky-diving, bungee jumping, paragliding, driving a motorcycle, or swimming with sharks or other prehistoric teethy creatures.

My co-worker Jen and I posing with our bikes - we swapped rides over the weekend!

So what’s up with stats in NYC stating that women don’t like to cycle in traffic congested areas of town?  I took the lane the other night on my short 4 mile trek home from Waikiki paddling practice to my house in Chinatown… yes it was dark…. yes it was raining… and yes some guy driving his family in a champagne colored Hyundai pulled up next to me to tell me what I was doing was dangerous and I should just stay home and take the bus.  Maybe he thought that I was going to get attacked by meth addicts, run over by him or other cars, or overcome with a panic attack for being outside in the dark and not in a car.   But, I – like many other Cycle Ladies – brave the streets day or night, rain or shine by bike; estrogen and shark week won’t hold me back!  Why?  You ask…  Why Not!  I say.  Oh, and it’s fun.

Bike and bus commuting is up in Honolulu since the rising gas prices hit $4.45 in April 2011 according to this KHON story. Only stats I can compare are those in my office, which I have prepared a graph:

As an office of 14, Malia, Jen, and I make better stats than most Cycling Ladies! EAT IT COPENHAGEN!

What’s the men to women bike commuter ratio like in your town?  If you are a women, are you afraid to bike in high-traffic areas or to arrive at work as a big hot mess?  How can we up the stats of fearless women bike commuters?  In the meantime, to the guy in the Hyundai, I’ll change the batteries in my blinky lights just for you.