Why don't I see more women ebikers? Ladies? Thoughts?

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
So, when I commute, I see ebikers. They. are. all. men. I think I've seen TWO women ebikers on my commute ... since last September, one on a Faraday step-through and one on an iZip step-through.

Most ebike makers seem to ignore women. Some have just one (large) frame size (um, women tend to be shorter than men, so no go. Not good for shorter men, either!) Many makers are oriented to road and mountain bike styles that may appeal to women who already are road/mountain bikers but may not likely to appeal more broadly. Many brands don't offer step-through models or bikes that come in nice colors. Many bikes lack built-in features that make it easy to carry stuff. And, um, some of us want a bike that, um looks pretty AND has great functionality.

I don't think all women are like me, but I do think that a lot are, and would like the kinds of features I'm mentioning.

Ladies? Thoughts? (Men, not trying to exclude you--you can chime in, too!)
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I sometimes think of how I would raise my daughter. She would most certainly be introduced to all great adventures of bikes/ebikes.
Some of it has to do with the social conditioning that commuting on a bike with all the gear, mud from the road, sweat from biking is not so "lady-like"... or "not so graceful"..
They would rather spend the same energy in a spinning class or pilates. By nature, men are more exploratory and driven by adrenaline compared to girls.

About the social conditioning:


About boys and their adrenaline:



As a result, designers make bikes that are typically geared towards men. But, in countries where there are no rigid gender roles, you will see both types of bikes and riders. Example, Japan.
US still has bit of macho culture when it comes to the design philosophy of bikes. I have seen many men reject a perfectly good bike just because it was a step-thru AKA girl's bike.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
This is not just ebikes but same as motorcycles. Women are less likely to purchase motorcycles than men. (Probably because it's too dangerous)
Although more women are riding motorcycles, approx 80% of riders are men.

Not just motorcycles, but bicycles too.

The US / Canada bicycles are all about BMX, MTB, Downhill MTB, etc.
When was the last time women racing in Downhill championship? or BMX doing flips at Red Bull Dreamline?
I don't think women are risk takers, why would they volunteerily go down steep hill as fast as possible if they don't have to?

In the US / Canada, bicycles are NOT transportation to go point A to B. (yes, I know it's slowly changing, but still..)

In European or Asian countries, women ride bicycles just as much as men.
Although I don't have stats, Japanese ebikes are targeted towards busy mothers.
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
The US / Canada bicycles are all about BMX, MTB, Downhill MTB, etc.
When was the last time women racing in Downhill championship? or BMX doing flips at Red Bull Dreamline?
I don't think women are risk takers, why would they volunteerily go down steep hill as fast as possible if they don't have to?
.
I'm reasonably sure that in either the us or canada women aren't ALLOWED to compete directly with men in mtb at an elite level . There was a woman I knew from motorbike riding who was an amazing mtb rider, she competed in mens events in Australia but when she moved to the us / canada she had to ride womens events - with a drop in income / sponsorship etc.

Ps, this is my daughter (13 yo)
 

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PDoz

Well-Known Member
So, when I commute, I see ebikers. They. are. all. men. I think I've seen TWO women ebikers on my commute ... since last September, one on a Faraday step-through and one on an iZip step-through.

Most ebike makers seem to ignore women. Some have just one (large) frame size (um, women tend to be shorter than men, so no go. Not good for shorter men, either!) Many makers are oriented to road and mountain bike styles that may appeal to women who already are road/mountain bikers but may not likely to appeal more broadly. Many brands don't offer step-through models or bikes that come in nice colors. Many bikes lack built-in features that make it easy to carry stuff. And, um, some of us want a bike that, um looks pretty AND has great functionality.

I don't think all women are like me, but I do think that a lot are, and would like the kinds of features I'm mentioning.

Ladies? Thoughts? (Men, not trying to exclude you--you can chime in, too!)
You should try finding ANY female specific bike / riding gear for a reasonably tall woman - at 5'11" my 13 yo daughter now has to wear mens cycling clothing, a mens bike, but at least she still gets to wear a womens helmet ( at least until she moves to a full face) . She doesn't mind, but I do - she keeps stealing my stuff - including my bikes!
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
Hmmm...just a couple initial thoughts. Might be the extra cost of electric bikes. And for me I would prefer smaller wheels without the extra cost of switching. Even an inch makes a difference in stand over height.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Regarding motorcycles, you should spend some time in Florida! I believe there is a WAY higher than normal percentage of women motorcycle riders down here. No clue on why, or what's different that may be enhancing their numbers. I'll bet it's pushing 30% though, maybe more. A LOT of people riding in pairs (usually Harley's) are husband and wife.

Regarding e-bikes, I can tell you for sure my wife, who rode with me regularly on regular bikes, was a little apprehensive when it came to her e-bike. When we met, she struggled with the concept of keeping the bike in the right gear, eventually conquering that concept and doing well with it. With the e-bike, we add a thumb throttle, PAS sensor, and 5 levels of assistance on top of that gearing. Point being, IMHO, a lot of women are not interested in conquering all the mechanical and electronic wizardry going on in an e-bike to ride it effectively (as designed). I gave my wife a lot of time to mess with all the new stuff, gently reminding her how she might change the bikes settings to meet conditions that we were to encounter soon, and let her make mistakes without a peep (OK, maybe a grin escaped on occasion)! Took a bit, but she's now quite accomplished on it.
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
You should try finding ANY female specific bike / riding gear for a reasonably tall woman - at 5'11" my 13 yo daughter now has to wear mens cycling clothing, a mens bike, but at least she still gets to wear a womens helmet ( at least until she moves to a full face) . She doesn't mind, but I do - she keeps stealing my stuff - including my bikes!
Totally agree on the clothing for women. The manufacturers assume we are all 100 lb twigs, which we are NOT.
 

Cowlitz

Well-Known Member
Totally agree on the clothing for women. The manufacturers assume we are all 100 lb twigs, which we are NOT.
Very true for most sport clothing. It is acceptable for men to be round, but not women according to clothing manufacturers. If we are overweight, and not by much, we should be staying home wearing mumus. :rolleyes:

On the original subject? If what I see locally, in my little town is accurate, 50% of ebike riders are women. I have only seen 4 ebikes in town. Also, men are perceived to have more money to spend. They get paid more, in general. I've worked in a traditionally male type of work and it was a scavenger hunt to find clothing and kind of hard for me to enter the high testosterone shops where it was sold. I will say that things have improved in some places.

The problem might be our conditioning. I remember returning to the office after a day of hard work, quite filthy, and getting told how dirty I was. Never heard the office "ladies" tell that to a man. I could go on, but I won't. The US is very set in its ways and it has taken a very long time to make just a bit of progress.

I woke up this morning wishing that there was a bike maintenance and repair class to take locally. I'd sign up.
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
I woke up this morning wishing that there was a bike maintenance and repair class to take locally
Our local bicycle club offers these. It's BYOB (bring your own bike!) and not ebike specific, but I'm going to see if I can attend with my daughter. If they won't let us bring our ebikes, we can bring two of our conventional bikes.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Harassment/aggression on streets and trails is a problem, some real horror stories shared by women in our local cycling community about sh*tty behavior from other cyclists(wtf?), drivers, opportunistic bystanders, very depressing reading.
https://www.waba.org/blog/2017/05/guys-what-the-hell/
http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?11969-Guys-don-t-shout-at-women
http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?12771-School-Commute-Safety-for-Teen-Girl
One commenter on that last thread suggested YouTube can stream live from smartphones, and the video is kept for 12 hours. Amazon has an action camera for $60 that can stream live to Facebook/Youtube on iPhone https://www.amazon.com/EKEN-Streaming-Waterproof-Rechargeable-Batteries/dp/B072BM6VY2/

On the plus side there is an active Women & Bicycles Facebook group for our area https://www.facebook.com/groups/WomenandBicycles/
 
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Credible Hulk

Active Member
Where I live I see very few women on bicycles at all. The ones I see are often older low income ladies who can't afford bus fare to the grocery store. They ride rusty old bikes, usually with a plastic milk carton strapped to the back so they can carry groceries. They usually ride on the sidewalks. The bike lanes in my neighbourhood are full of spandex clad males on expensive bikes.

I think there are a number of factors that drive women away from ebiking (in North America):

- ebikes are being designed for men, not women. Frames are always 19 inches by default and the retailers don't even discuss frame size or standover height. If the lady orders online, she gets a rude awakening when the bike arrives and she needs a stepladder to climb up onto it. Most ebike offerings have men's frames with high crossbars, forcing the woman to swing her leg over the back of the bike to mount. Most women aren't gymnasts or contortionists, and try doing that in a skirt. One ebike I used to have was so high that I couldn't stand over it at all, and at red lights I could only put one foot on the ground. Step through bikes are being cluttered with water bottle holders and batteries, which interfere with stepping through. I also see so-called step through bikes whose lowest standover height is two feet or more.

- Women are more conscious of their clothing, and ebikes are not friendly to women's dress. Clothing gets dirty when you ride any bike, even with fenders. A woman who has to wear business wear for her job or is going to a dress up event won't commute on an ebike. Trailing clothing like longer coats, wide pant legs and skirts gets caught in the spokes. Skirt guards exist for the back wheel but good luck finding an ebike that has them. I've seen one while looking for a bike.

- ebikes are designed to look mean, macho and masculine. Women like to be able to customize things, or to have a range of colours and styles to choose from. We like our possessions to look graceful and feminine to reflect ourselves. Most turnkey ebikes are either black, or black and white. There might be a tiny patch of colour here and there. They're also designed to look heavy and blocky rather than graceful and feminine.

- Women are sometimes driven away by things that seem too technical or require a learning curve to use. Ebike controls can be intimidating. I remember when I got my scooter, it took me some time to memorize what all the buttons and switches were for. Simplified controls would appeal to them.

I believe that there are two underserviced markets for ebikes - ladies, and seniors. Someone could design ebikes and accessories specific to those two markets and if they do it right, they could make a killing. You could design an ebike with graceful, sweeping lines like an old beach cruiser but with a lighter frame. Have at least three available frame sizes. Add a skirt guard on the back, and front and rear baskets or panniers. Offer a tricycle option for seniors. Put simplified controls on it. Offer it in a range of fun colours. Offer optional decals a customer can stick on to customize the bike.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Where I live I see very few women on bicycles at all. The ones I see are often older low income ladies who can't afford bus fare to the grocery store. They ride rusty old bikes, usually with a plastic milk carton strapped to the back so they can carry groceries. They usually ride on the sidewalks. The bike lanes in my neighbourhood are full of spandex clad males on expensive bikes.

I think there are a number of factors that drive women away from ebiking (in North America):

- ebikes are being designed for men, not women. Frames are always 19 inches by default and the retailers don't even discuss frame size or standover height. If the lady orders online, she gets a rude awakening when the bike arrives and she needs a stepladder to climb up onto it. Most ebike offerings have men's frames with high crossbars, forcing the woman to swing her leg over the back of the bike to mount. Most women aren't gymnasts or contortionists, and try doing that in a skirt. One ebike I used to have was so high that I couldn't stand over it at all, and at red lights I could only put one foot on the ground. Step through bikes are being cluttered with water bottle holders and batteries, which interfere with stepping through. I also see so-called step through bikes whose lowest standover height is two feet or more.

- Women are more conscious of their clothing, and ebikes are not friendly to women's dress. Clothing gets dirty when you ride any bike, even with fenders. A woman who has to wear business wear for her job or is going to a dress up event won't commute on an ebike. Trailing clothing like longer coats, wide pant legs and skirts gets caught in the spokes. Skirt guards exist for the back wheel but good luck finding an ebike that has them. I've seen one while looking for a bike.

- ebikes are designed to look mean, macho and masculine. Women like to be able to customize things, or to have a range of colours and styles to choose from. We like our possessions to look graceful and feminine to reflect ourselves. Most turnkey ebikes are either black, or black and white. There might be a tiny patch of colour here and there. They're also designed to look heavy and blocky rather than graceful and feminine.

- Women are sometimes driven away by things that seem too technical or require a learning curve to use. Ebike controls can be intimidating. I remember when I got my scooter, it took me some time to memorize what all the buttons and switches were for. Simplified controls would appeal to them.

I believe that there are two underserviced markets for ebikes - ladies, and seniors. Someone could design ebikes and accessories specific to those two markets and if they do it right, they could make a killing. You could design an ebike with graceful, sweeping lines like an old beach cruiser but with a lighter frame. Have at least three available frame sizes. Add a skirt guard on the back, and front and rear baskets or panniers. Offer a tricycle option for seniors. Put simplified controls on it. Offer it in a range of fun colours. Offer optional decals a customer can stick on to customize the bike.
Meanwhile in Japan...

 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
This is a symptom of a greater problem in the bicycle industry. They tend to make gear for their sponsored people (mostly dudes) and ignore real people (many of whom are women). You can easily extrapolate that to other parts of the outdoor gear world.

Everything from how most bikes are over-geared unless you are a super-athlete to ridiculous ergonomic choices on grips and pedals falls out from that fact.
 

Cowlitz

Well-Known Member
Our local bicycle club offers these. It's BYOB (bring your own bike!) and not ebike specific, but I'm going to see if I can attend with my daughter. If they won't let us bring our ebikes, we can bring two of our conventional bikes.
I wonder if the local community college branch could have a class here? We're out of the way of everything--up Highway 97 near the boundary, and not a lot goes on here. I moved here from an even more isolated place, but the little community library sure worked their buns off to bring in various speakers and have classes on things. Not so here.