08 November 2013

A Transgendered Bicycle?

Mixte frames are often referred to as "unisex".  Although the top tube, which is horizontal on a diamond or "men's" frame, slopes downward (and is sometimes split into smaller twin parallel tubes), it doesn't tilt as far downward as the top tube of a traditional "women's" bike.  Also, the top tubes of  traditional women's bikes are often curved near the point where they meet the seat tube.  

Whatever the designations and nomenclature,  the truth is that, at least here in the US, female cyclists are much more likely than males to ride mixtes.  And one rarely, if ever, sees a male cyclist of any age on a traditional female bike.

Some comedian--I forget who--once joked about getting hand-me-downs, and his older siblings were all girls.  I wonder how many boys have gotten bikes their older sisters rode before them.  And, of course, some girls received bikes their older brothers rode.  Believe it or not, one girl I knew was gifted with her older brother's Columbia diamond-frame (a.k.a. "men's") after its top tube was removed to turn it into a "girl's" bike!

But I never heard of anyone turning a female bike into a male one--until I saw this:

From Bicycle Shaped Objects

 As a result of "surgery" performed on it, this vintage Schwinn cruiser no longer has a down tube.

I have to admit:  I love the style.  But I'm not so sure I'd want to ride it!


  1. This is pretty common with custom and classic bike people. Old girls bikes are more plentiful to come by then boys but not as many girls are in to the old bikes and their value is not much so the guys transform them into something they will ride.
    Here I put together a page of photos for your viewing pleasure of bikes just from my friends here in town that have modified girls bikes.

    There are probably more here but those are the ones I found quickly.

  2. Accordion--Couldn't have said it better myself!

    Randy--You make a very good point about old girl's bikes. I've had a few as errand/beater bikes, mainly because I got them cheaply, or for free. Plus, the common wisdom of the time said that thieves weren't as interested in girls'/women's bikes because their resale value was so much lower than that of male bikes.

  3. My first bike - the one on which I learned to ride a 2-wheeler in Bayside, NY in the very early 1970s, was a hand-me-down from my five-years older sister (who may have received it from our brother, three years older than her) - it had a removable top tube, so that it could be a "girl" or a "boy" bike. I remember my dad running behind me, and I didn't realize he had let go...until I did, when I crashed into the garbage cans by the curb. The beginning of a lifetime love!

    I enjoy your posts! Thank you!

  4. Hi Ken--I forgot all about those bikes with removable top tubes. Thanks for reminding me of them. I wonder whether they're still made.

    Isn't it funny that "the beginning of of a lifetime love" can have such a beginning?

    Thanks for coming by.