Cycling: Advice for Ladies

On edit 15/05/13: Sustrans have removed the original blogpost. They have put this up instead http://www.sustrans.org.uk/blog/why-women-dont-cycle. I can’t take credit for the removal, they were barracked on Twitter for the original post. Actually I wouldn’t take credit either. I would hope that they have understood why it caused offence.

Sustrans have some valuable advice for us girls, sorry ladies, er, no, what was the word now, so difficult to remember. Anyway, ladies, drawing on the wisdom of Sustrans, here is my advice to you before getting on a bike

What to wear:

Whatever the fuck you like. It’s a bike ride, not the Oscars. Or at least, that’s what you might think the advice would be. But no. Apparently this cycling malarkey is quite complicated for us women.

Just in case you were born in a bubble and have lived there ever since, Sustrans have the following news for you:

A breathable waterproof jacket will keep out the rain. Waterproof trousers aren’t sexy, but they will keep you dry

Well bugger me sideways. There are waterproof jackets? And trousers? Who knew? And these waterproof things, they keep out the rain. Like, Wow, man. That’s almost too much information for my poor little head. Of course, I will, for however long I’m on the bike in the rain, have to drop my fundamental female right to look ‘sexy’. Oh no, how will I cope without endeavouring to look sexy and available for every minute of the day. Oh gosh, well maybe for a few minutes I might just try being warm and comfortable instead.

There is more advice about what to wear:

Wear a good pair of gloves to stop your fingers freezing; Scarves also help keep you warm but keep long scarves away from any moving parts. Earmuffs look great and keep your ears safe from wind-chill too.

Well I never. Gloves to keep you warm. Wow. Have you told NASA? It’s such a deep insight I’m sure they’d like to know. And no scarves near moving parts. Oh thank you so much. It would never have occurred to me not to strangle myself by trapping a scarf in a bike wheel. Oh and ear muffs look great. Excellent. I must keep up that looking great thing and it’s so nice to have someone like you tell me it’s OK to wear them on a bike.

Just one question. Since ear muffs look great, do they cancel out the unsexiness of the waterproof trousers?
Oh but Sustrans continue with their excellent advice. How wonderful. What a treasure trove. There’s a section on ‘Staying Fresh.’ I’d love to see the male equivalent for this. Apparently I can wear a t-shirt and change when I get to where I’m going. Golly gosh and hockey sticks. I didn’t know I could get changed. And wear deodorant and take wet wipes with me. Oh me oh my. That’s not at all patronisingly blindingly fucking obvious. Oh no.

But wait, what is this. More pearls of wisdom await:

All that fresh air is good for your skin, so you’ll probably find that you arrive with a beautiful healthy glow. Use waterproof mascara in case it rains, or your eyes water, and take a powder compact for a quick refresher on arrival.
Helmet hair can be an issue: tie back long hair, secure it in a French plait or with a scarf under your helmet to keep it frizz free. Take a comb or brush with you to revive your style when you reach your destination.

Newsflash: I don’t wear makeup. If I did, I’m sure I could work out that waterproof mascara is better in the wet, the clue is kind of in the name. I’m not taking a compact with me anywhere. Piss off you numpties. And yes, thank you dears, I can work out what a comb is for. You patronising bunch of numbnuts.

Finally, we get to the meat of the issue:

Other tips for safe cycling

No, you patronising bellends. You pissing cockdumpling morons. Those are not ‘other tips for safety’. Hair and makeup advice is not effing safety advice in the first place. Have you any idea how patronising, gender-laden, annoying, sexist and idiotic your advice is? No? Well then go away and have a think. A really, really long one.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Cycling: Advice for Ladies

  1. Leigh Haggar

    Well that last season at the finishing school did wonders for your language, didn’t it? I do like a girl who speaks her mind. I just love your take on life in the saddle. I only wish one of the weekend supplements would give you your own column. Love it.

  2. cyclotron

    it looks like they have removed this post?!!

  3. Ahh genius. Nothing like some well-expressed, well-deserved rage!

  4. Great blog! Do you have a copy of the original Sustrans tips?

    • Thanks! Unfortunately I didn’t keep a copy as I had no idea Sustrans would pull the original. Google cache might have a copy. If so, it was under Sustrans Cycling for Women section. Vagenda have a few more extracts here http://vagendamag.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/on-yer-bike-sustrans-cycling-tips-for.html
      The original started with a very short section on safety concerns but other than directing people to bikeability schemes, which are great, there was really very little actual safety advice. They also advised women not to cycle anywhere they wouldn’t feel safe walking. That struck me as very odd. I know they have to be careful about liability but I find one of the best things about cycling is going places I’m scared to walk.

  5. Pingback: On advice on cycling for women | WisoB

  6. I have written a post on how irritated I am with other road users when I cycle. After reading your post, I am glad that I, being a woman, cycle in Singapore. At least, no one has ever asked me why I do not wear make-up when cycling.

  7. Hubby and I are just about to embark on world cycling trip for the next 2 years, and I have to say that I find their advice compelling and wise…oops, sorry I just choked on my sarcasm…I can think of lots of things to write about women cycling, and those wouldnt be included! my 1st tip would be: if you don’t have any common sense, don’t cycle! 🙂

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