Thursday, November 5, 2009

Frustrated all day

I read this blog post this morning before work as I ate my breakfast, and all day I stewed over it, partly because of the sentiment expressed, partly because of the uncivil way it was expressed.
I hate to feed trolls, so I'm reluctant to post a response on that particular website, but if I did, this is what I would say:

I must not read the same cycle chic blogs that you do.  The cycle chic blogs I read are not about portraying women as sex objects.  Instead they celebrate the ability of women (and men) to get on their bicycles and ride them as part of their daily lives.  For many of us, our daily lives include, kids, grocery runs, carrying things from point A to point B, riding in inclement weather etc. Oh yeah, and heels and skirts.  The point of the cycle chic blogs I read is that they demonstrate those kinds of daily lives lived in normal clothes, on bicycles.  The thing that I find kind of silly is the idea that I'd have to change my clothes into something special just to bike to the store.

 I personally don't think the chunky heeled mary janes and knee length shift dress over opaque tights I wore today are provocatively sexy- they're considered appropriate professional attire at my fairly conservative office.    I think there are a lot of people who feel that skin tight spandex bra and shorts are more revealing - I know I feel exposed and uncomfortable wearing bike shorts that leave little to the imagination.  I'm sure that's why bike skorts were invented.

As for the argument that heels and skirts are dangerously unsafe to wear while riding, this may be partly a matter of equipment and partly a matter of habit. I've never had a problem putting a foot down or dismounting from my step through frame in any attire, but I had two scary and painful incidents of falling on the street before I swore off clipless pedals forever.  Not to mention the tapdancing/ ice skating combo that is walking in shoes with exposed cleat on hard floors.  How about you wear your shoes of choice and I'll wear mine and we'll agree not to call the other's footwear choices "stupid" "silly"or "ridiculous"

I'll not address in depth the twisty argument that women riding in skirts is indecent and sexually provocative (and they should save that kind of thing for their boyfriends) and also anti- feminist because the only reason they would ride in such things is to provoke the male gaze.  If you want to take on objectification of women in the culture, fine, but leave my bike out of it.  I will say that most of the cycle chic blogs I read celebrate the independence and freedom the women have to ride where they want, wearing what they want to wear, or just happened to be wearing when they climbed aboard.

So please, go put on some clingy spandex shorts and cleats and go for a long ride for your own pleasure and athletic accomplishment.  I'll hope for your sake that no one checks out your ass.
But don't call me names or ridicule me for riding my bike in my everyday clothes,  nor disparage a movement that has encouraged so many women to realize that they didn't have to be superheroes or need special clothes and equipment to get on a bike and ride.

OK,  rant over, that helped a lot.  Do you folks think I should post it as a comment?


  1. A vicious and misinformed post from a judgmental woman; I regret that I visited it and ruined my mood. Of course, I couldn't stop myself from leaving comments either.

  2. nice! I never saw that post til now. I think it's a case of second wave feminism that I respect but sadly oftentimes forgets to see how things have evolved. The gen gap is widening there and it's fascinating to me.

  3. and thanks for the link love!!!

  4. Thank you for the link, because I couldn't stop laughing on the narrow-mindness of the lady blogger ;) she's just super grumpy, I guess she would be grumpy about a lot of things!

    I didn't bother writing a comment, as sometime grumpy posts like that don't need legitimation of any kind...

    I have given up my car nearly four years ago, I cycle everywhere with my adorable Pashley and for fun and for slightly longer trip I have my beloved Vespa. I cycle (as well riding the Vespa) in my everyday clothes, skirts, jeans, heels, boots, flat etc... I really don't care what other people think, cycling makes me happy and healthy, if people want to waist precious time judging others, let them be... they are the ones losing out...

    Happy cycling!

  5. It was a really poorly reasoned post, but I will give her credit for letting people post a lot of opposing, critical comments.

  6. Stacy, Yes, but part of what was annoying about it was how irrationally she responded to the comments. I didn't ever comment directly on her blog because I felt that the points I would make were already being addressed by others and still weren't getting through, although she was backing down a bit in her tone by the last comments I read.

  7. I'm glad I didn't link to the original post tho' I can imagine what it was about by your draft response.
    I ride in my street clothes. I find I get more respect (and room) from drivers when my skirt billows in the wind. And because I don't think the world needs to see my knickers, I made myself a pair of 'cyclettes' which are a bonus when wearing full skirts in this windy city.
    Some people need to get a grip.