So people. Look. Every single day, at some point in my ride to work or from work or for errands or whatever, at least once, a man pulls up behind me, a woman, who is waiting at a light and just assumes, in the absence of other information (for I have been placidly waiting, perhaps, for a while) that I must be slower than he is,

He therefore thinks that he should aggressively pull in front of me or cut me off, because I, a lady, will only get in his way! Shortly, this gentleman and I both find that he actually isn't a faster or stronger rider than I am, and sometimes we discover this whilst, say, going over the river along Damen! Either way, I then have to pass him, which makes things less safe for both of us. Please, dudes. STOP DOING THIS. IT'S RUDE AND YOU'LL FEEL BAD LATER AND YOUR SELF-ESTEEM IS NOT MY PROBLEM.  

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I feel like you may be missing the point by quoting a man's advice on how women and other femme folks should be navigating this issue...

Couldn't disagree more. Bike Snob basically telling women to shut up about about the male aggression we experience because, Bike Snob, as a male, doesn't see women having this experience. *sigh*

This coming from someone that has made a name for himself by stereotyping cyclists into cute categories so he can make fun of them with ease. Nope. 

This has totally been my experience as a woman as well, on a daily basis at times even.

It's a thing and it'd be great if people just believed us that it's a thing (and then also stopped doing it).

Is this just a commuting issue/annoyance for you? Or whenever you’re riding?

This happens to me a lot when riding/training up north (Sheridan Rd., etc.) - most times I end up passing them back, sometimes I don’t. Not sure I ever considered my gender was an issue with it.  That’s not to say that gender doesn’t play a role in your case.

Doesn’t really happen to me while commuting, but most of my ride is on the LFT.

I will say this, re: cycling and gender exists, but it’s taken a weird turn recently and I’m not sure it’s productive.  Example: every time I see a cyclist that is both 1) alone, and 2) has a puncture - I always stop to aske them if they’re ok and have everything they need...I do this for men/women. I do this all the time. I’ve done this for years. A few weeks ago a woman was alone on the south LFT and had a puncture. I stopped and asked if she was good, etc.  And she looked up at me with disgust and damn near screamed at me, “I know how to change a flat, I don’t need rescuing just because I am a woman.”  

I think ink she was pretty close to calling me an asshole.  Was I being sexist and suggesting she was “weak” because I checked in on a fellow cyclist?  I’ve really thought about it a lot since then...not sure what to make of it.

Anyway, maybe this ‘shoaling’ is a sexist act. Or maybe sometimes it is. But it also happens to me a lot and I’m a strong rider on a recognizable bike...and also a man.

I usually ask men if they have everything they need, even if they seem to have everything in hand.  I don't ask women.  I assume they will ask for help if they want it.

I also generally stop whenever I see anyone with bike problems. I always carry everything I need to fix just about every bike-related issue (excluding ball bearings). I've got all my tools in my bags.

Most of the time, people just say they're good and I go on my way. A couple of times, folks have been genuinely rude about it. It's always a woman who is rude. Always. 100% of the time.

That being said, the most genuinely appreciative have also been women. A couple of weeks ago, a female tourist on a rental bike had a pretty nasty fall on her bike. She tried to brake before a spot of sand on the trail at LaSalle Dr, but the rental had the absolute shittiest maintained and setup brakes I've ever seen. The cables both pulled out of the channels and locked the brakes on her, dumping her to the pavement. She's laying there in the street, with a car no more than 18" from her. And people are just going past her, using her as an excuse to blow that crossing light, since the cars were stopped. She was probably the most thankful person I've ever encountered when stopping to help.

I guess my point is: Shitty people are shitty. Gender-blame-assignment is shitty. Prejudice works in both directions.

"Do you have everything you need?"

That seems to be the acceptable and appropriate question that cyclists ask another cyclist who has had a breakdown. At least that's been my experience and everything I've read universally online. 

Other cyclists should recognize this usual question and respond with a positive or negative answer. 

Although most every time I've gotten a flat tire it's put me in a less cordial mood.

Having a flat/mechanical on the bike is no excuse for being rude to helpful passersby. It's not their fault you've punctured.

Once during a century ride, a guy who'd stopped awhile and later rode on complained to me that "everyone kept asking of I was okay!" i told him to be happy that someone showed an interest.

IMHO,the woman who was hostile to being asked if all was okay had no right to snap like that when it doesn't seem like she was being mansplained (if she had been- well, then all bets would've been off.)

When i'm on the side of the road for any reason- puncture,picture-taking,lunch break, whatever- i appreciate when passing riders ask if all's good. i do the same when i pass a stopped rider- it's neighbourly.

First off, I appreciate you willing to be explorative about your experience.

In the context of the larger gender conversation that is happening in the forum, the 'weird turn' or 'rudeness', as described in other comments on this thread is a reaction to the build up of loads of sexist micro-aggressions and comments. I am sorry that your intentions in this situation were misinterpreted but frankly we're tired and we don't owe anyone the extra labor of sensitivity around navigating these issues. To you it was an innocent kind gesture, to her it was the straw that broke the camel's back. A few weeks ago, in the evening rush on milwaukee, some guy pulls up next to me at a stop light and says 'wow, you sure are fast!', meanwhile there were two people ahead of me traveling faster. Why did he choose to make that comment to me? Sure it was a compliment which could be nice or well-intentioned even, but it was also an indication of his expectations around female/femme riders not generally being capable of being fast.  These experiences add up and are demoralizing. 

I appreciate your kindness and willingness to help other cyclists. I would suggest in the future asking if you can lend them any tools rather than if they need help. Be thoughtful and mindful of language and phrasing, sometimes we'll mess up but that's okay.

This is a bullshit response.

An offer of help is just that, there is no need to turn it into a sexist act. In fact I'll go so far as to say that the woman who misreads a simple "is everything okay" is the real sexist here.

There is no reason to use different language when offering help to a woman than when offering help to a man, and to suggest it is, in my opinion, a good look at sexism.

Equal treatment is equal treatment, and as soon as a woman asks to be treated or spoken to different than would be to a man, well, it ceases to be equal. 

I'm definitely not wasting my time responding to you here but I think your response here speaks volumes to the issue so thanks for that!

As does yours.


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