Don’t believe the hype: Why Women can ride any bike they want

Don’t believe the hype: Why Women can ride any bike they want

There was a time when society looked down on women riding bicycles. While we’ve come a long way since then, we’ve noticed that there are still quite a few myths that might make women second-guess whether a bicycle is for them.

For International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate the women around the world who ride bikes. For the sake of our daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers and all women who want to ride a bike, we will debunk the top 4 myths surrounding women and bike riding.

False: Women have to ride “ladies” frames

The idea of women having to ride bikes that have an easy to “step through” frame came from the early 1800s, when the typical female attire included some heavy, multi layer petticoats and skirts. Swinging your leg over the high bar of standard frames was not just considered unseemly but a downright extreme sport with that added weight. The stereotype of a low-step frame still remains in some countries as the Ladies choice, but there is no actual physical or cultural reason for this tradition to continue. Step-through frames are super convenient and suit riders of all heights and ages perfectly well.

Modern women ride high step frames, aka traditional bikes with top-tubes, just as much as men do. There is no reason (not even a pesky skirt) to keep us women riding whatever bike we like.

As VeloAtelier bike fitting expert Lee Prescott recently told Cycling Weekly, “Based on the Dreyfuss Human Scale – the most comprehensive ergonomic data display there is – there’s no statistical difference between women and men’s limb lengths," not mincing his words, he reiterated: "There's no measurement which is different between men and women that affects bike fit.”

So what really matters is finding a bike you love and then customising it to your own needs. Adjust handlebar height, angles, grips and levers, seats and seating position. Make sure to choose a bike that can accommodate your flexibility level and comfort needs, more than what frame type the bike has.

False: Riding too much will make you bulky and less feminine

In the late 19th century, society ridiculed women riders as dangerous and threatening. Cartoonists went so far as to caricature the women as “mannish” and “spinsterly.” In many of these drawings, women were drawn with large, exaggerated thighs.

Many of these myths still persist, even though there is no evidence that riding a bike can leave you looking bulky – in fact, if you look at many professional cyclists, you’ll notice that the exact opposite is true.

Moderate cycling enhances fitness and helps you maintain a healthy shape, longer. A Harvard Study from (2010) followed over 18,000 pre-menopausal women for 16 years, and found that those who cycled about 4 hrs each week were 26% less susceptible to weight gain over the same time span.

False: Cycling with your child (or while pregnant) is reckless

There is a misconception that riding with your kids or while pregnant is a dangerous activity. However, there are easy steps any rider can take to make their trips more safe, like using bike lanes, or protected riding paths wherever possible, and to keep a close eye on your surroundings. Equip your bike with a rear view mirror, use good front and rear lights, and some reflective stickers to give you extra protection when sharing the road.

Cycling is an amazing exercise for all, as long as your doctor has no reservations. Having your child with you on a bike helps your kid connect with their community, nature and the world while riding to daycare or school, rather than sitting inside the car, the commute becomes a multi-sensory experience. The fresh air, bird song and interaction with the outside world during your trip will help you and your child build connection points with each other and your immediate surroundings. Riding a bike with a child (or while pregnant) is not reckless, it helps communities feel connected and encourages people to care about each other.

False: Riding a bike will give you “bicycle face”

Ok, this one I really had to look up. But yes, it is true. In the early 19th century (the term was first coined in the UK), doctors were of the opinion that women who rode bicycles would suffer from “bicycle face.” Symptoms would include the erosion of teeth and gums, an exhausted look, tight drawn lips, clenched jaw, shadows under the eyes and even bulging eyes. Now, thankfully, we all know that there are no “bicycle faces” amongst us. Yes, the occasional difficult ride may cause some muscle soreness and I won’t deny that when I ride my RadRhino 6 Plus, I end up with a random bug or two in my teeth and sore (face) cheeks, because I smiled too much.

So, if riding your Rad Power Bikes ebike will give you stronger legs, long term fitness, quality time with or without kids, ALL whilst having a huge smile on your face; I call that a win-win-win for women.

Find out what ebike suits your lifestyle by taking our quiz.

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