Talking to Female Cyclists 101

Let’s face it, women that ride bikes are attractive.  If you need a word for it, try using callipygian.  Look it up.  Not only does cycling build great muscle definition and lean characteristics, it also takes a “special” kind of person to be willing to push their limits, set goals, ride a bike for hours, and enjoy this sensation of training.  I know it is tempting to ride up to that woman on the bike path and express your appreciation of her fit, form, and bike, but before you do, think before you speak.  Complimenting a woman on her bike and her fitness may be one of the biggest compliments that can ever be given, but just like everything else you say to women, it is all in the way it is said and the context.  Beware, she may be able to beat you up that climb, or have better power to weight ratio.  If you make her mad, you may never see ride with her again.  We all want to see more women on bikes, therefore, we need to encourage those who are out there riding, challenging themselves, and representing our sport so beautifully.  Want to make a new female cycling friend?  Here are some tips that just might keep that female cyclist within talking distance before you get “dropped”.

Most of these can be applied to many situations, but I can only speak from personal experience.

Talking to Female Cyclists 101:

  • Although animals can be cute and cuddly, and also sleek and fast, do not compare a woman to an animal.  Let’s face it, no animal is sexy.  You are as strong as a horse.  Should never be used.
  • When making comparisons, trying being a bit more poetic in your use of similes.  Riding like the wind is acceptable, even if it is a bit overused.  Perhaps similes should be avoided.
  • Never compliment a woman on the size of her draft.  We all know that drafting capability has to do with WIDTH and HEIGHTH.  No one wants to be reminded on how tall and wide they are.  I am speaking from personal experience.
  • The word beast should never be used.  What is inspiring or attractive about a beast?  I am thinking of something in the Lord of the Rings, and not the talented athlete I want to be portrayed as.  If you use the word beast, consider looking in the mirror first.
  • Labeling someone as being “strong for a girl” is not a compliment.  Women are strong, and this shouldn’t surprise you.
  • Talking about hormones should be off limits.  Don’t mention testosterone. Why would you?
  • Power and watts aren’t considered friendly conversation.  It is fun to geek out on data, but try to resist the urge to constantly ask about the numbers.  Riding your bike should be first and foremost about just that.  Riding your bike, numbers aside.  Worry about those later.
  • Do not ask how much she weighs.  She will lie.  We all do.  Stick to numbers like tire pressure and temperature over watts and kilograms.
  • Ask permission before “sitting on” a training interval.  You are at risk of getting snot blown on you, and it is the safe and polite thing to do.  This is applicable across the board.
  • We all know what they say about people who assume, so be careful assuming if someone can or cannot climb.  If anything, always assume they can do anything they set their mind to.
  • Group rides can be intimidating, especially when they tend to be male dominated, so just try to be welcoming to those females that show up.  We are all part of the cycling community, regardless if she is going to drop you or not.
  • It’s not always about competition, or who beats who.  I know it is fun to win, but pick the days you want to race those you ride with, and it isn’t every time!
  • While an occasional “push” is generally accepted, be careful how “low” that push is taking place.  Make sure your hands are appropriately placed and welcomed.  Personally, I rarely turn down the help though.
  • Be cautious of asking “how is this pace”.  Your pace is fine, and if they are there, they are accepting the challenge.  Training partners make rides better.
  • Chivalry is not dead, and we love every minute of it.  But just because I like to be ride princess every now and again, doesn’t mean I am incompetent or unable to fend for myself as well.  It is a fine balance, but that’s the fun part, right?
  • Flowers and pink does not always make it female appropriate.  Although women specific rides, equipment, and clothing is exceptional, don’t assume women just want flowers and petal pink, or is that pedal pink.
  • Although we all love to be the queen of our domain, ladies, be welcoming and accepting of the new women showing up on the road!  Our development is crucial on the mentoring and support of our community.  Be nice, friendly, and feel free to offer advice!  The cycling world can be a scary place to venture into, so let’s do our part in making it a bit more accepting.  Women and men, alike.
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