Is Biking Just for Young Men? (Discussion)

Cycling advocates argue that women, older people, and children are not likely to use local city streets to bike out of concerns over fast-moving car traffic.

During a common refrain from cycling advocates was that busy streets in Altadena and elsewhere make it hard for anybody but young men to ride bikes.

Several advocates both at the Altadena Town Council and the county hearing said specifically that many women don't bike because they fear for their safety on city streets that don't have separate bike lanes to keep cyclists away from traffic.

Of course, it was not just women that were mentioned: advocates named older people in general and children as other groups who are not able to take advantage of street biking.

So what do you think Altadena?  Are you a female biker?  Do you see a lot of female bikers on the road?  Do you think the majority of local bikers are young men?  And if so, do you think that is a problem?  Can it be solved?  Please weigh in below in the comments section.

Mike November 17, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Define younger men. I'm 56 years old and I ride with a lot of others who are even older then I. Average age in my group is about 45 and we have women both younger and older make up about 30% of our group. Our club rides usually consist of 35 to 50 riders on Saturday's. The young guys typically will be racing and don't spend a lot of time in "group" rides. Training for them wouldn't be in this area.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) November 17, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Reader David James has the following comment: Comment - Common Sense and Bike Lanes “Is Biking for Young Men?” By way of bona fides, I did the only road biking book for the entire state of Arizona "Cycling Arizona, The Statewide Road Biking Guide - Christine Maxa and David A. James (Westcliffe Publishers, 2006 ISBN: 978-1-5679-537-2) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cycling-arizona-christine-maxa/1100123565 I know Altadena very well, having lived there many years. 1. ALL public transportation in California should accommodate bicycles. 2. ALL California communities should have both dedicated bikeways AND interconnecting N/S-E/W bike lanes. Are there communities unsuitable for bike lanes? Yes, Montecito might be one example, for the obvious reason that most of the surface streets are little more than bike lanes that accommodate cars. In this respect, Steve Lamb raises some very good points for Altadena. A word of caution - bike lanes are more complex than might be supposed and without proper planning for street parking can become obstacle courses more dangerous than no bike lane. In that respect, Altadena is dependant on "intelligent design" by county engineering and must live with the results, in sum, pay attention.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) November 17, 2011 at 05:09 PM
[continued] BTW, I did “Cycling Arizona”, every single mile, at the age of 63. The number of 70 and 80 year-old cyclists on American roads would surprise you. Everyone, regardless of of age, benefits from safer roads, bikeways, bike lanes and alternative forms of transportation. Finally Altadena, get your fair share of transportation funds (alternative transportation), work with the cyclists - they really do know what they are talking about - and make Altadena a better AND safer place to live. Do it, it’s just common sense.
Robby November 17, 2011 at 05:45 PM
If bikes are going to be allowed onto public transportation, then their owners ought to pay for dry cleaning costs when their chains get grease on other patron's clothes. I've been smeared with bicycle grease twice on the Gold Line. On one occasion I asked the bike owner for $10 as partial compensation for the cost of *attempting* to clean the grease stains off my beige skirt, and of course that worked out about as well as you'd expect. So here's my tip for people who are forced to share train cars with bicycles - head towards the middle of the car where bikes can't fit. Hopefully you can avoid contact with them when you are get on and off and they are blocking the doors.
True Freedom November 17, 2011 at 06:40 PM
The trains definitely need to better accommodate bikes for everyone's sake. You shouldn't get your dress greased, or shins scraped, etc The current setup of asking bikes to wedge into the connection section between two cars is just asking for trouble, because you have to pass by seated passengers, who's seats face the center aisle, to get out. They really should make some bike sections with seats removed... where upon entering, bikes go one way and seated passengers the other way.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) November 17, 2011 at 06:43 PM
I agree with both above. I have taken my bike on a train twice, and it is a tough fit. I think what you could very easily do would be to take out the two stand-alone seats at the front of the cars, and instead, in that area, hang bike hooks from the ceiling. That is the most efficient way to contain a bike in a small space.
Lisa Hastings November 17, 2011 at 07:23 PM
There are more important things to complain about on the Gold Line than bicyclists, like the people who hog seats and block aisles and doors and the people who stink like cigarettes. So, on the train, leave the bicyclists alone. As for riding a bike on the street, I don't do it. It's way too dangerous.
Adam November 17, 2011 at 11:02 PM
Apparently, there are some plans in the works. From http://www.metro.net/around/bikes/bikes-metro/ : On Green and Gold Lines:  Please stand with your bike in the designated area marked with this symbol.  Metro will be adding open areas for bikes in these cars in the future. Note:  Frequency of rail service will increase as seats are removed, to better accommodate those with bikes and all other riders.
Alison Johnson November 17, 2011 at 11:25 PM
I would definitely ride again if my current schedule accommodated it, and hope soon to resume cycling on weekends. I used to do triathlons in my 20s and 30s and trained on city streets in Pasadena and Los Angeles-- with a few forays up and down the long bike path to Long Beach, and one great trip to Carlsbad... sigh! Those were the days! I am not afraid of cycling on the city streets. I do obey the driving rules of the road since the journey itself is my destination, and I'm not in a hurry to make a race time or get to work. Bicycles are also the most efficient transportation, using the least amount of energy for the greatest distance traveled. I think the bikeways are a GREAT idea and will likely use them with my family.
Rachel Wing January 06, 2012 at 03:19 AM
I'm a biking middle-aged woman. I've bike-commuted all this week 8.5 miles each way from Pasadena to Monrovia. The young men bike faster than I do -- does that make them safer? We're all pretty helpless against a car! I wonder if there are statistics on deaths and injuries of cyclists hit by cars, proportional by the cyclist's gender. I have to adjust my schedule so I can get home before traffic heats up. The worst part of the commute is in Arcadia between Baldwin and Michillinda because the suburban neighborhood design made for very few through routes except for a few major thoroughfares - i.e. no quiet residential streets that actually go anywhere. I use Colorado, but I have a very scary 1.5 miles coming home where Colorado is a mini-freeway. I can't wait for the Gold Line to get out to Monrovia, or for Arcadia to realize what a waste it is for beautiful Colorado Blvd. to be restricted to cars. It would be a perfect place for a road diet or for a separate recreational path. Why do they need an additional 4 lanes running parallel to the freeway anyway? I'd also like to point out that there is no sidewalk on that stretch. I tried to run it once and kept having to balance on the narrow curb when cars came by. If I had a kid in a stroller ---- I'd never go there. What a shame! So, yes, women bike. But perhaps we take the risk a little more to heart.


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