Sunday, March 28, 2010

Women and Bicycles

In my experience, a person riding a bicycle can be a rare sighting. Therefore, as you can probably imagine, a woman riding a bicycle can be even more rare.

My friend and I have been known in the recent past to ride in organized bicycle rides as part of the Midnight Ridazz community (Pedal Punx and Critical Mass being favorites), and honestly speaking, the ratio of women to men is rather low. The ones that are present will automatically get more attention than, say, the guy with the double decker tandem bike. She will be stared at, but not approached. She will probably be the one person who the clerk at 7-11 will let use the employee restroom because she doesn't have the equipment to whip it out behind a garbage bin (based on a true story). We've gone riding in all seasons, often at night until the early hours of the morning. The party rides, what with the music and colorful characters, are always super fun. As a single woman I try to get away with wearing as short a skirt or figure-hugging an outfit as possible just to see who stares (but, of course, will not approach). I always kept thinking that such rides would be great places to meet people but like most of life's arenas, it seems that everyone is window-shopping but not looking to buy.

Most times I feel rather sexy on a bike. There's just something about powering through with one's own relative strength, being kissed by the sun and eased along by the breeze (I <3 U, spring weather). I've pretty much been riding everywhere for the last two years - when working, to work; to school; to the bus station; to the farmers market; to my folks' house. I don't know everything about how bicycles work nor will I pretend to, but getting my hands covered in grease as a result of fixing my chain is a badge of honor in its own weird way. I like the way my legs pulse after a thirty-mile ride as much as the next person; I enjoy climbing hills; I'll even accept the battle scars of a sick fall down an intimidating incline.... it's only when people mention that I'm a woman that makes it something out of the ordinary, more noticeable than intended. But really the only difference between myself and a man is that if a fall causes my bike's frame to slam against the precious area between my legs, it's likely that I'll still be able to bear children...

Anyway, I really just wanted to set the stage for what will surely be future discussions, which I will gladly continue at a later time.

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