12 January 2011

Women on Ladies' Bikes--or Ladies on Women's Bikes?

Wouldn't you know it?  Today's "Lovely Bicycle" post shows three images of women on or with bicycles--specifically, transportation/commuter bikes.  Some of the comments that follow the post deal with the question of what a "ladies'"or "women's" bike is.   Some hate those terms; others, including Velouria, the blog's author, think that such terms denote distinctions that are more meaningful and useful than "unisex" or related terms.  Plus, "ladie's bike" or "women's bike" is simply shorter than the alternatives.

So...I read her post and the comments that followed.  Next thing you know, I'm seeing images of women on bikes everywhere I look--at least, everywhere in cyberspace.  Even though I was researching an entirely unrelated topic, I kept on finding images like this one:

Now there's a way to shake up the Miss America contest.  Instead of the swimsuit struts and talent charades, why not have the contestants ride "ladies'" bikes down the Atlantic City boardwalk.  Of course, the young women would have to wear dresses or skirt outfits.  I mean, wouldn't you rather  that your country was represented by someone who can pedal with grace and style instead of some other contestant who can only sing pale imitations of songs that were popular when your mother was born?

Somehow, though, I don't think Grace or Sally from Louis Malle's Atlantic City would ride a bike down the boardwalk. And even if they did, I don't think they'd convince very many other Americans to do the same.

1 comment:

  1. I must admit that I am dismayed when readers take issue with my wording when it comes to gender. In many cases, to say that a step-through is a unisex frame is actually inaccurate, because most of those frames are in fact made with a woman's proportions in mind (shorter virtual top tube, for instance). Sure men may ride it and no one says they oughtn't, but the design is nonetheless optimised for a female body. Even in the Netherlads, they are called Oma vs Opa frames and not diamond vs step-through. I ought to write about this I guess, so that my wording is not interpreted as accidental un-PC-ness...