Friday, August 14, 2009

I’m not a pro, but I am a…girl?

Let me start off by asserting my sheer and utter lack of expertise when it comes to serious cycling. I mean, I own a semi-decent road bike (carbon fork and seat stays!), have watched enough Tours to do a solid Phil Ligget impersonation, and, because I live in New York City, I’ve developed a healthy dose of elitism about my brakes, derailleurs, and the length of my handlebars.

That said, I’ve only recently gotten into what you’d call cycling. I’m fairly athletic, have run for ages, played assorted team sports, and have owned and enjoyed riding a (mountain) bike forever, but didn’t get serious until I got a road bike. In the roadie department, I’m a total newbie. I faced epic challenges installing clipless pedals into my bike (I actually managed to break my old pedal while attempting to get it off), and wanted to cry when I found out that Harlem Hill (on which runners and the occasional snail have been known to pass me) only averaged a 4.4% grade.

But I’m trying to better myself. I’ve been watching you tube how-to videos. I’ve been reading Fatty and the Snob (and doesn’t that sound like a fantastic kids book?) One of these days, I might even buy a jersey. (I do own two pairs of cycling shorts, thank you very much.)

The more serious I’ve gotten, however, the more frustrated I’ve become with how male-centric the whole cycling world is. Sure, us ladies get to vote now, and our salaries may even be approaching those of the external genetalia-ed, but take a look at the evidence of our inequality in the cycling world:

1. “Women’s Tour de France” (La Grande Boucle, if you’re keeping track): 4 stages versus 21 (count em’) for the riders with junk in the trunk. ‘nough said.

2. Women’s Cycling Forums vastly underused: the “women’s cycling” thread at has only had one post in the last week. The aforementioned post reads, “we havnt heard from you for a while. women cyclists of the world; we need women in our lives......” Many of the other posts on the "women's" thread were posted by men on behalf of their wives.

3. Sheer numbers: next time your on your bike, count the number of ladies you see out there compared to the men.

4. The fact that first domain I tried for--has nothing but a title posted.

So anyways, here's my minute and insignificant attempt to even the scales. Feel free to drop in and read/comment about my trials and tribulations if you are:

1. New to cycling, and want to learn from someone else’s mistakes rather than your own

2. An experienced cyclist (male or female) who wants to impart your wisdom on us mere mortals

3. A woman (or girl) who cycles seriously/bikes casually/aspires to do either

4. Bored at work

5. Lance Amstrong (because it’d be cool to have a celebrity read my blog)

6. A Schleck Brother (because I think they’re cute and have a 6th grade-style crush on Frank)

7. None of the above (i.e., anybody else.)

And, because no blog entry is really complete without a picture, I'll leave you with one of Frank Schleck, who makes me happy to be a female cyclist, despite our under-representation.

Eye Candy

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