Sometimes it’s Hard to be a Woman

by CycleChick on October 27, 2010

“Bike Like a Man”.

Good or bad, it’s a mantra I use when I want to bike strong.

I recently discovered I may have taken this mantra a bit too far when I overheard a couple of spectators at last weekend’s race debating my gender. I was racing at the time and unable to clarify the situation, so merely had to weave around them through the course while they discussed the matter.

Specatator #1: “I was wondering about that one, I thought it was a man, but I think now maybe a woman.”
Spectator #2: “Yeah, look at the legs. Woman. I’m pretty sure.”
Spectator #1: “Yes, you’re right. But at first I thought man.”

Damn compression bras. Or maybe it was my height, broad shoulders, or refusal to ask for directions during the race. So what’s a girl to do to make sure she’s not the object of scorn (or confusion) when entering the ladies’ room? I refuse to wear pink when I ride, or have any pink bits on my bike whatsoever. And makeup just gets in your eyes when you sweat (trust me on this one).

I was at a loss until I came across the latest Assos catalogue from Switzerland. In the land where the men are men and the women wear white leather pants, there are clearly defined lines when it comes to gender.

In the pages of the catalogue, Assos demonstrates how its products are to be worn by the rougher sex:

When I flipped to the pages featuring products for women, it became immediately apparent I have be wearing my cycling gear all wrong, which may explain why I was mistaken for a man while racing. Apparently, women are supposed to wear their cycling gear like this:

So you see, it’s not my height or other similarly manly physical attributes that are at issue. I have merely not been accessorizing correctly. I shall immediately trade in my helmet and sport shades for some glamorously large sunglasses and a colourful scarf. It looks like my shoes are all wrong too.

It is certainly a relief to have this bothersome problem solved. Thanks Assos!


The spectators probably got confused due to how feminine some of the male racers are. Face it, many male cyclist are not really that masculin – SPECIALLY roadies.

It's not you, it's them.

by Kevin B on October 27, 2010 at 10:03 pm. Reply #

Sheesh….dude, its a good thing you clean up well. YowZa!! Must be the bedroom voice.

Although, being mistaken for a man might save you some of that male roadie egoism that happens when they get beat by a girl.

On second thought. No it won't.

And those ads are not for women. They are for men who are shopping for women. Feed them a little fantasy about their hot girlfriend/wife on a bike and they'll drop some cash.

And all because you refuse to wear pink.

by Kim on October 28, 2010 at 12:32 am. Reply #

Hi Kevin B. I guess from your comments many male mtn bikers aren't masculine either. And seeing as your comments seem to indicate you are a mtn biker…..

by rick on October 28, 2010 at 2:58 am. Reply #

I have to agree with Kevin here. I am also often mistaken for a guy when I am running or on my bike (and I do wear bits of pink and am not even close to tall). Infact I once overheard a runner comment to his buddy as I passed the two of them "that is a pretty tiny guy"….my response "because I am A GIRL YOU STUPID F#CK head"
Despite this moment of rage I now always just assumed that really fit people all end up looking alike (lean muscle looks the same on both genders). There was an ad in one of the latest issues of Triathlete magazine that had a group of the pro's lined up in swim suits. Really not much difference at all except for the bikini tops (which were not exactly overflowing.

by Kristen & Paul on October 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm. Reply #

Hey Rick – You're right. I thought I made it clear, that I included MTB riders. It was intended to be joke. Must be the thin roadie skin… (Again, joking!)

by Kevin B on October 28, 2010 at 2:13 pm. Reply #

Yes, we roadies are a bit thin skinned (trust me, I've left my share of it on the road). Thankfully you can generally tell the roadies from the mtb folks by the amount of hair on their legs. But I'd say both groups are equally macho (we girls included).

by CycleChick on October 28, 2010 at 2:35 pm. Reply #

Luke A. likes to wear pink, and decorate his bike with pink. Does that make him a girl?

When I was born my doctor told my mom that I had "Child Bearing Hips"… Does that make me a girl?

Some guys have hairy legs. I have a few little fuzzes (unshaven). Does that make me a girl?

Rebecca Rush could DESTROY me in any bike race. Does that make me a girl, her a guy?

I'm 6'2, 175lbs (down 10 from last year). Some of the other guys in the A race are 125lbs. Does that make me a guy, them girls?

It'd be nice if people could occasionally keep their mouths shut!

by JP on October 28, 2010 at 2:49 pm. Reply #

I'm assuming by people you mean the spectators…?
I took no offense to their discussion (which perhaps could have been more discreet) and the post was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek. BTW fellas, nothing's hotter than a guy who wears pink. Just saying.

by CycleChick on October 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm. Reply #

yup. spectators! Pink, eh? Maybe Paul B. will be rocking his Polski Pink 1-piece Spandex suit for Halloween at the Harbor!

by JP on October 28, 2010 at 5:06 pm. Reply #

Ooooohhh! I certainly hope so!

by CycleChick on October 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm. Reply #

This is a good discussion as always. I'll weigh in again, because I am a glutton for punishment. Last night when I was at home and trying to resist the call of the beer in my fridge I answered in sociable sarcastic mode. Today I am at work at an educational institution and just came off a 3 hour class on something mind-numbing so I'll say something in geeky intellectual mode.

We live in a society that gender socializes us from birth. We give pink blankets and dolls to baby girls and blue blankets and trucks to baby boys. We expect and reward boys for being rough and competative and athletic and we scold girls when they behave the same. Society does this pervasively and unconsciously. As a result the number of women who grow up and have the guts to go out and race bikes recreationally is very pathetically small. I bet our spectators were making this observation and trying to make a count of the females in the race. At Sunday's race in a field of about 70 in the B race there were 13 women approximately (Less than 20% and I bet that is still a big improvement from 2 years ago). I was one them.

I've been mistaken for a guy too when my hair is covered up and tucked under my helmet and it doesn't really offend me. The circumfrence of my quads and calves is greater than the majority of bike riding men out there and there isn't much fat there. This does not, however, make me faster ;-) I'm also short so I have that going for me in favor of stereotypical feminism. And I colour my hair rediculously bright.

I'm a cycle chick that hates pink too (unless it is used in small tasteful doses and it clashes with Red). There isn't a single bike store in this city (including the one I am pretty loyal to) that has decent women's gear for the pink hating women cyclists. This bothers me tremendously. As do those Assos ads above. I'm actually pretty offended by them (as I sense CC was too given her tongue and cheek assessment) but, I can take them for what they are worth and laugh at it. But talk about setting women's value back about 20 years in one foul swoop.

I'm a competative woman. I like playing rough and going hard on my bike. I like the fact that I can beat some guys. Sometimes I feel as if I still get scolded for talking competatively. Like my competativeness is actually arrogance. I like when I come in ahead, but I can graciously get beat too. I'm not a stereotypical woman that is for sure. This does not make me want to BE a man or necessarily talk trash like one. It just means I have a different kind of femininity.

Ok done being a geek. On to eating Sushi.

by Kim on October 28, 2010 at 5:21 pm. Reply #

I hope this doesn't mean I can't get my solid gold princess bike…

by CycleChick on October 28, 2010 at 6:17 pm. Reply #

Nah. It just means you have to order me one too.

It also means I needed to give in and crack open that beer last night. Soon. Soon.

by Kim on October 28, 2010 at 8:09 pm. Reply #

Wow. Who would have thought such a discussion would occur from a seemingly harmless and recognized as such, comment from Kevin B. Just goes to show that we aren't all about gears, light widgets and air pressure, maybe some blowhardedness(sp) by me, I digress, If I could only get some thin skin, I might be a faster, more efficient climber…. Now I gotta dig out that old pink jersey; is it ok if its a bit faded? Thanks for this opportunity, Cycle Chick; great blog and now I wait for the next update.

by Rick on October 29, 2010 at 4:04 pm. Reply #

You mean….. You mean we DIDNT have three boys….??

by DOD on October 29, 2010 at 9:26 pm. Reply #

[...] past posts I have celebrated the Italians, the Swiss and the Belgians (they are the chosen people). This particular post celebrates the ingenuity and [...]

by Air Heads « Winnipeg CycleChick on January 21, 2011 at 3:38 am. Reply #

What’s wrong with these ads? I always carry my patch kit in a fashionable purse. And those mesh heels breathe so much better than any SIDIs. Just be sure your spandex cardigan matches your bibs.

PS. Thank @ellyblue for the traffic.

by Ben on June 24, 2012 at 7:06 am. Reply #

Haha! Thank YOU for the comment and letting me know about Elly. We are clearly cut from the same cloth. (it may be spandex but it sure ain’t pink!)

by CycleChick on June 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm. Reply #

[...] favorite all-time example has still got to be these catalog pages presented in stellar contrast by Winnipeg Cycle Chick — her hilarious blog post speaks for itself. Note how the men are conquering nature and seeking [...]

by Is this thing sexist? Introducing the “Bike Test” | Taking the Lane on September 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm. Reply #

People don’t have a gender. They have a sex. Hundred years ago every last dork had known this. Educate yourself:

by Max Moritz Sievers on September 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm. Reply #

Fucking amazing! Who knew bowls were male? I will now consider myself among the educated dorks, thank you! Best dance moves EVER.

by CycleChick on September 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm. Reply #

This is one of the more hilarious/extreme examples I’ve seen. Oh Assos….

by Jenn on September 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm. Reply #

I’ll never live down that pink helmet/bike combo will I…

by Luc on September 28, 2012 at 2:21 pm. Reply #

Nope. But I’ve said it before – nothing hotter than a man with the confidence to wear pink. Just saying.

by CycleChick on September 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm. Reply #

[...] favorite all-time example has still got to be these catalog pages presented in stellar contrast by Winnipeg Cycle Chick — her hilarious blog post speaks for itself. Note how the men are conquering nature and seeking [...]

by Is this thing sexist? Introducing the “Bike Test” « sisters from different misters on March 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm. Reply #

[...] najdraži primer svih vremena su još uvek ove stranice iz kataloga postavljene u drastičnoj međusobnoj suprotnosti na Winnipeg Cycle Chick – njen urnebesan blog post govori sam za sebe. Obratite pažnju kako muškarci osvajaju [...]

by Da li je ova stvar seksistička? Uvođenje “Biciklističkog testa” | cyberwanderlust on April 29, 2013 at 6:02 pm. Reply #

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