I guess from a marketing perspective, there's this possible less touched market that is women on bikes. It's a part of the biking economy which still has the possibility of generating profit for bike equipment & clothing retailers. From a government perspective, perhaps there's a perception that there's a group of people whose fitness could seemingly be lifted with a quick fix plan, and an easy win place for obesity issues to be tackled. Probably I would think the 30 to 50 year old women's group. People who wouldn't want to be seen dead in lycra, wobbly bits exposed and bike handling skills uncertain in unfamiliar traffic laden cities.
There's also a healthy do gooder chunk to it too I think. There's a bit of me wonders why exactly it is that my local club, the North Cheshire Clarion want to not bend over backwards, but certainly to actively make provision for inclusion of women road riders. I am not really sure what the motivation here is. I believe they have 25 female members of the club, pretty much all of whom I would guess have joined knowing just what the club has on offer and being happy with that. Nobody joined believing it was a place suited for women. We just thought it was suited to bike riders. It wasn't about gender.
But there are these once a month women's only rides, now with a male ride leader since the only regularly available, competent and willing female enthusiast emigrated to Australia. And somehow, I felt I ought to support these. Now that's weird, isn't it? What, after all, is my motivation for doing that. I can ride with the club's Saturday slow ride, and indeed very probably the medium ride too. I'm properly catered for. It doesn't need to be a women's ride. Yet Saturday found me out on the women's ride, and I think mostly it was because it was there, slightly because it felt like an easier option (I reckoned there was a reasonable chance I'd be in the top half of the group pace wise), and because I felt surprisingly strongly that if the club wanted to do this, it should be supported. I am nothing if not a team player.
I wouldn't for a moment say I regretted having turned up to the ride, even though I was the only rider there. It was a pleasant ride, rolling Cheshire countryside, and although not the easy gentle ride I wanted, due to just being me and James heads out in the wind. And we spanked the normal ride time, kicked it into the hedge and threw rocks at it.
Now we're talking it through on the forums. The eternal question has been raised. What, exactly is it that women want? Totally leaving you with this thought ...