If This Is Women’s Cycling, Include Me Out

BIKE HUGGER  ( Dave Schloss? Byron?) wrote today,  asked for my comments. But since you have to join up and sign in an’ all, I decided to just answer here. If answer is the correct term for dreaming up a thoughtful reply to  the industry-financed DVD called “Cyclepassion”.

There’s plenty of discussion going on, possibly precipitated by a particularly pornesque portrayal of top(less) pedalinas– April, Heather– undressing for the cameraman/viewer. I am a fan of these ultrafast women.  Watching the winners in Durango receive tattoos that night reminded me of a peep show: Heather Irmiger was gorgeous (but scary drunk) in her  shimmering white wig ,  surrounded with a hundred camera-toting admirers.sswc-2009-heather-irmiger-tattoo

“Manwhile”, few were taking notice of the male winner’s tattouage.

Perhaps some day there’ll be porn parity– we’ll  see the top men doing precisely the same thing–stripping for the camera, offering their  beauty  up for inspection.  This will happen when homosexuality doesn’t register a blip on the market value of the athlete, AND when the football players paychecks plummet.

I sent the link out to the Old Bat sisterhood for feedback.

Denver Wombat Amy Lewis wrote to me: 
ugh–your polkadot tights have a thread reaching all the way to pornified vamping for the same old tired male gaze? Gag, i hope not.

I am surprised to think that the wacky tights could be construed as ‘sexy’ in the same way the Paula Pezzo cleavage and chamoisbeaver shots are. When I want to be sexy I disappear and come back muddy.

There was that one time I finished the Rockhopper sans jersey. It was simply to help the announcer recognize me.  In 1984, there seemed to be no one checking race numbers against rosters to announce finishers by name. Really. For the record, my future husband Charlie was the first rider across the line that day, I was  second person in.

The pro men did an extra four miles, so we  weren’t the ‘real’ winners, just the first back to the keg.
I will wrestle with the topic of sexual sports rhetoric in my upcoming book Fabulous Me, A Hagiography. Due out er…soon. No. Not really. Late.

About 15 years late.

But here’s a comic  –attempting to throw some light on problems encounterd  when women enter the bike shop.  I conceived this strip 17 years ago, and commissioned Mudflap ‘zinestress Greta Snider to draw it  for a hundred bucks . 

I can’t recall if it got published anywhere but Wombat News. I doubt it. It’s based on the true life-trials of Harriet Hayes of Boise Idaho. She wanted a Merlin. The kid in the store wouldn’t sell it to her. This seems unthinkable now, but back then he wanted to “save her money” by steering her to a cheapo cruiser.

Byron has other threads in his blog, one entitled

Women as Outcasts In Cycling Industry

( so-called women specific design vs simply well-designed bikes for a variety of body proportions…) and here he points out that the industry blames the women who complain about their treatment in bike stores: It’s Women’s Fault–“they should do more research before going into a shop and then ask the right questions” opines someone from one of the big three manufacturers.

~ by jacquiephelan on May 30, 2010.

9 Responses to “If This Is Women’s Cycling, Include Me Out”

  1. One day “they” will realise


    but it might be too late

  2. It’s common enough, Jacquie. Last year I had to be physically dragged by a mate out of a bicycle shop in Edinburgh that shall remain nameless (although I shall note that it’s the largest and best known) because the patronising attitude of the sales staff had me so angry I was ready to do unspeakable things to him just to prove that, despite being a mere woman, I was more than capable.

    That strip echoes the experience I have had in all but a scant few bike shops, and I treasure the ones that have treated me like any other knowledgeable customer.

  3. You rock, you are my hero. And because you are so awesome I just nominated your blog the SUNSHINE AWARD. Please go to my blog for details on how you can claim it.

  4. […] is written partly in response to Jacquie Phelan’s recent musings about where women fit into the cycling industry, and partly because I sometimes kick ideas around […]

  5. I wrote a sort of response/reaction on my own blog. I never have been able to figure where (if at all) I fit in cycling.


    I think the over-sexilicious stuff is prevalent in just about every corner of our society. This is just one of the many manifestations of it in the cycling world. I’d say it’s pretty close to the various T&A Knog advertising campaigns.

  6. or the Madonna/Whore complex we have in the States. Your stockings and androgyny was provocative, not sexy; well, there’s likely some people that found it provocative, as they did David Bowie’s androgyny or Madonna or Lady Gaga.

  7. I love the comic, and am passing it on to a mature lady friend of mine running Leadville 100 for the third time this year.

    One of the thing about this cyclepassion clip that bothers me the most (and there’s a lot about it that bothers me) is the awkwardness and discomfort of the women. I feel like the whole posed “sexy” thing takes all the fun out of the partner-based cardiovascular-improving activity we call sex. To me, sweaty, muddy bodies of any gender hunched over their bike frame swooping down a trail is better foreplay than posing awkwardly in front of a mirror in garters, but hey, whatever makes you feel good.

  8. I think you are fantastic ! Want the book !
    About bike shops and women….they do not mess with me…..they know better. I have a 25 year old going into pro racing and last week my 18 yr old son wanted his road bike fixed. Cycle shop gave him a horrible quote to fix it. I drove down and slammed through those doors and told the “specialist” exactly what it needed.
    Woman do research…the bike is fixed. (I should have done it myself).

  9. I looked it over J it’s not right. It’s like you say, what should be good for the gander should be good for the goose also.


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