Comment 70197

By highwater (registered) | Posted September 30, 2011 at 12:06:32 in reply to Comment 70186

Allow me to chime in with a female perspective. Urban cycling requires a certain degree of assertiveness and confidence that men, particularly younger men, often take for granted, making it hard for them to empathize with those of us who are intimidated by the prospect of cycling the streets of Hamilton.

Women are conditioned from birth to stay safe by making ourselves as small and invisible as possible. If we dress or act in a way that draws attention, we're 'asking for it'. It's a much bigger mental leap for us to take on something that requires us to assert our right to a share of the road, be highly visible, and physically take up space in order to be safe.

I'm working on it, and judging from conversations with friends, I'm further along than most of my peers and frequently tackle the downtown. However, I would be totally intimidated at the prospect of a regular commute up and down the mountain. That's a huge leap and I don't think it's fair to chide anyone who's not prepared to face it on a daily basis.

Also, the author mentions that he has kids. I don't know if you have kids anon, but having kids does a number on women's willingness to take risks. Consciously or unconsciously, you weigh the consequences of every action a little differently. There's alot riding on those tires!

It's one thing to suggest that she consider commuting by bike, but between social conditioning and motherhood, it's a bit much to suggest she is 'silly' for not trying.

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