Women, schlepping and transportational cycling

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Thursday, June 11, 2009
By Yokota Fritz

April in Sweden posted on Six reasons the world needs more women on bikes, mentioning some of the reasons women don't bike to work as much as men. April mentions that only about 30% of bike commuters in Portland (Oregon, presumably) are female; in San Francisco, it's currently about 27%.

Why the gender split?

Natalie Ramsland of Sweetpea Bicycles told me last year that she thinks "the broader scope of women’s responsibilities (work, caregiving, schleppin’) plays some role in female ridership. It’s easier to be the heroic bike commuter if you’ve got somebody else picking up the dry cleaning and shuttling Johnny off to soccer practice. It seems that too often that somebody is female."

In out society, there are also greater expectations placed on women's appearance in the workplace. Men can more easily get away with sloppy clothing and hair. Blogs like Velocouture, Copenhagen Cycle Chic (which turned two years old today!), Velo Vogue, Chic Cyclist, Riding Pretty, and many others work to illustrate that's possible for men and women to look good on and off the bike.

H/T Eco Velo. Photo by Chad Rogers in Orlando, Florida.

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=v= When Palo Alto had the Bikestation open and had an awesome woman on staff (Joni Taylor), it seemed to encourage more women to bike commute.

With all due respect to Natalie (truly--Sweetpea is a cool company), I have to say "Pschaw" to the schlepping issue. I live in a role-reversed household, granted with just one child, and I believe I would be short-changing my daughter by driving her everywhere. Going by Trail-a-Bike, she gets all the benefits of cycling we enjoy as adults, and hopefully the habit will stick. If I had more kids, I'd look into other trailer options as well as tandems, etc. Besides, most people, especially kids, would benefit from a less hectic, slower pace. They're being scheduled to death. A good indicator of an over-schedule life would be the sentence: "I just can't do it without a car."
Happy Trails,
Ron Georg
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