Why less women cycle.


Think this could apply to Brits nearly as much as the US as families live in a ‘daily mail’ fear culture at the best of times ……

Amsterdam cyclist  ©Richard Crawford
Amsterdam cyclist
©Richard Crawford

According to the UCLA report, women with children make twice as many child– serving trips and nearly twice as many grocery trips as their male spouses. Even when women earn more, are better educated, and work more hours than their male partners, they still make 1.5 times as many child-serving trips and 1.4 times as many grocery trips. These findings reflect the fact that in most US families women still shoulder the responsibility for caring for the household, and that responsibility is hard to manage on a bike.

Dutch women can use bikes to get around because they are less pressed for time than American women, in three fundamental ways. First, thanks to family-friendly labour policies like flexitime and paternity leave, Dutch families divide childcare responsibilities much more evenly than American families. Second, work weeks in the Netherlands are shorter. One in three Dutch men and most Dutch women work part-time, and workers of either gender work fewer hours than Americans.

Lastly, Dutch parents do much less chauffeuring of children and elderly family members than American parents. Neighbourhood schools and high-quality bike infrastructure in the Netherlands make it easy for Dutch kids to walk or bike to school, unlike their counterparts in America, where rates of bicycling and walking to school have been declining for decades. Dutch elderly are also much more independently mobile than their American counterparts.

If American cities hope to improve mobility by ushering in a European-style bike renaissance, improving bike infrastructure and promoting cycling will be necessary, but it probably will not be enough. The lack of women on bikes is a symptom of much deeper societal differences that, sooner or later, American urban planners will need to confront. Here are three policy changes that could help shift the culture.

First, reduce the burden of housework — and its associated trips — on women. Family-friendly policies such as paid paternity leave make it possible for men to help at home, and they set the pattern for the rest of parenthood.

Second, step back from our “always-there” work culture, and also pay workers a living wage. Reducing total work hours and encouraging more flexible schedules for men and women alike could free up the time necessary to get around by bike. And imagine what a game-changer it would be if low-income women could work one decently paid job rather than two or three, or if high-income women weren’t expected to be at the office 60-plus hours a week.

Finally, design communities that everyone — children, parents and grandparents alike — can navigate safely without a car. Local schools, safe streets and easily accessible activities help encourage independent mobility, and reduce the expectation that women need to serve as family chauffeurs.

Amsterdam cyclist  ©Richard Crawford ©Richard Crawford[/caption]

Admittedly, these ideas have far-reaching implications and require serious value shifts, but there’s no reason that bicycle advocates and planners shouldn’t be part of that discussion.

To build sustainable transportation networks that work for everyone, policymakers will need to go beyond what they see on the street itself. They’ll have to look into the Dutch home where a husband is changing a diaper on paternity leave; into the Dutch workplace where a mom on a flexible schedule can leave before the sun goes down; and into Dutch schools where children receive universal education about how to ride a bike to school, freeing up their parents to ride to work.

Friday bike poster: well book


On bicycles
50 ways the new bike culture can change your life

Bike culture is exploding in cities like Portland, OR, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Montreal, and Vancouver, BC. Whether people are riding folding bikes to the commuter train, slipping through traffic on streamlined single speeds, or carrying children and groceries on their cargo bikes, bicycles are making urban life more dynamic and enjoyable — simply better.

Amy Walker has been at the forefront of this trend as cofounder ofMomentum magazine, which chronicles and inspires urban bike culture and transportation cycling. In On Bicycles, she gathers a wide-ranging group of cycling writers to explore the ways that biking can change, and is changing, people’s lives. From utility bikes that are becoming the primary mode of transportation for entire families to the artistic creations of freakbike riders, On Bicycles has something for everyone who has ever ridden a bike.

Topics include:

  • cargo bikes * bike parties * a history of bike advocacy
  • the bike-craft boom * folding bikes * recumbents * biking with kids
  • handmade bikes * car-free streets * relocalizing * bike style
  • collective bike shops * women and bikes * and many more

 

 

In support of International Woman’s Day yesterday


Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel.” ~ Susan B. Anthony, 1896

Don’ts for women cyclists


On June 21st of 1895, the “Newark Sunday Advocate” ran an alarming story — syndicated from New York World — about a recent gathering of the Unique Cycling Club of Chicago; an event that saw two lady riders publicly punished/shamed for having the audacity to turn up wearing short skirts over their bloomers. That story can, and should, be read below.

Also of note is the amazing list that followed said piece, printed in an effort to better educate female cyclists in light of the bloomer fiasco. The list was titled, “Don’ts for Women Riders.”

Transcript follows. Click here for a larger image. Huge thanks to the wonderful brainpicker for bringing it to my attention.

Transcript:
The Unique Cycling club of Chicago is all that its name implies. One of its laws is that on all runs bloomers and knickerbockers shall be worn, and two members who disobeyed this rule recently met with a punishment that they will not forget soon. Union park was the rendezvous for the last run, and 50 members turned out. The president, Miss Bunker, observed two women wearing short skirts over their bloomers.

“Take the skirts off,” ordered Captain Bunker.

“Indeed we won’t,” was the reply.

A crowd of 200 had collected to see the start. The president and the captain held a consultation, and then, taking several strong armed members with them, fell on the skirt wearers and stripped them down to their bloomers.

“It was done in all seriousness,” said Mrs. Langdon. “The club’s rules are made to be kept and not to be broken. Why did we take off the skirts in public? For no other reason but to make examples of the offenders. They publicly defied our rules and were published accordingly.”

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DON’TS FOR WOMEN RIDERS

Don’t be a fright.
Don’t faint on the road.
Don’t wear a man’s cap.
Don’t wear tight garters.
Don’t forget your toolbag
Don’t attempt a “century.”
Don’t coast. It is dangerous.
Don’t boast of your long rides.
Don’t criticize people’s “legs.”
Don’t wear loud hued leggings.
Don’t cultivate a “bicycle face.”
Don’t refuse assistance up a hill.
Don’t wear clothes that don’t fit.
Don’t neglect a “light’s out” cry.
Don’t wear jewelry while on a tour.
Don’t race. Leave that to the scorchers.
Don’t wear laced boots. They are tiresome.
Don’t imagine everybody is looking at you.
Don’t go to church in your bicycle costume.
Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers.
Don’t contest the right of way with cable cars.
Don’t chew gum. Exercise your jaws in private.
Don’t wear white kid gloves. Silk is the thing.
Don’t ask, “What do you think of my bloomers?”
Don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys.
Don’t go out after dark without a male escort.
Don’t without a needle, thread and thimble.
Don’t try to have every article of your attire “match.”
Don’t let your golden hair be hanging down your back.
Don’t allow dear little Fido to accompany you
Don’t scratch a match on the seat of your bloomers.
Don’t discuss bloomers with every man you know.
Don’t appear in public until you have learned to ride well.
Don’t overdo things. Let cycling be a recreation, not a labor.
Don’t ignore the laws of the road because you are a woman.
Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes “to see how it feels.”
Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.
Don’t cultivate everything that is up to date because you ride a wheel.
Don’t emulate your brother’s attitude if he rides parallel with the ground.
Don’t undertake a long ride if you are not confident of performing it easily.
Don’t appear to be up on “records” and “record smashing.” That is sporty.