Cycling is for Girls

I like to think of cycling as mostly asexual. It’s the great equalizer where I can park the purse and join the androgynous spandex masses and ride until I puke. But lets face it, sometimes girls just want to be girls. Much like guys, sometimes we want to hang out with our own kind to compare bikes, belch loudly and scratch our privates without fear of judgement.

To that end, there are a number of things afoot that may be of interest to my fellow cycle sisters:

April 28th is Women’s Ride Day, something cooked up by Specialized to celebrate women in cycling. This monumental day is being recognized by Alter Ego Sports in the form of a women only ride. It’s open to riders of all skill levels and starts at the shop at 9am. It’s a great time to spend quality time with your better half (your bike) and hang out with some pretty cool chicks. Details are here.Second, our awesome country cousins in Altona, the Athena Bike Club, alerted me to a Women & Cycling Workshop Series taking place at the Bike Dump at 631 Main Street. This bike maintenance series is only open to chicks and uses the 3F model:

– Free
– For all skill Levels
(and my personal favourite)
– Filthy – as in get ready to embrace your dirty girl.

They run every Wednesday starting April 18 (yesterday) until May 30. The series is gets you up close and personal with brakes, hubs and rotational systems, gears and even bike bling. Yes. I said bling.

I many never want to do any hard core maintenance on my bike myself, but I sure would love to be able to describe a problem to the guys at the shop without having to use the word “thingy”.

Check out the schedule and contact information here.

And finally, it’s race season ladies, beginning this weekend with a the WOW Stage Race at Birds Hill Park, hosted by The Women of Woodcock Cycleworks. Boys are welcome. Deets are here.

In the short time I have been racing I’ve noticed there is an astonishing imbalance in the proportion of men to women, as demonstrated in this chart representing the attendance of a race I did last year.

This is not something that is unique to Winnipeg by any stretch, but it sure would be cool to see more of you come out to race. Heck, just think of it as a ride where you get to hang out with a whole bunch of new people. Trust me, they are all just as nervous as you are, and once you go to a couple, you really start to know everyone. They are, for the most part, really nice folks. Even the roadies.But perhaps you need more motivation. Perhaps it’s time to pull out the big guns…

Sigh. Here goes.

You really shouldn’t race. After all, you are just a girl and even though you may have pushed something the size of a watermelon out of your body through a hole the size of a quarter, it will probably be more pain than you can handle.

Everybody knows girls are super weak and dainty. You’ve probably never tried to move a queen size futon up two flights of stairs by yourself, and have certainly never touched anything disgusting like vomit or poo.

You might have to be outside in the sunshine and talk to people, and I know how much you hate that. There are way better things to be doing with your weekends, like laundry, marking papers, and going to Safeway. Those things don’t come along often, so it is important to embrace them.

I double dare you not to race.

Photo of New York bike wrench Susan Lindell by Sarah Lyon, for 2009 Female Mechanics Calendar. Whitemouth roadies photo by Carolyn Campeau.