Body Image and Cycling Clothes: An Unhappy Relationship

This is a blog post that’s been stewing for awhile. It’s been hard to get out of my brain for a couple of reasons. First, because the thoughts are all jumbled in there and I’ve needed to sort then out. Second, it’s a post which required some confession and I’ve needed to work up the courage. But after a discussion on Twitter yesterday  about the lack of cycling clothes for women inspired Sarah (@_pigeons_) to finally write her own body image post, I’ve decided to screw up my courage to write the post, because the more women who come out of the clothes closet and confess their body issues, the more women will not feel alone!

I’m a plus sized girl. Always have been, always will be. That’s just the way I am. I wear a US size 18 (UK 20/Euro 48). I have big thighs (made bigger by cycling!), big hips, a big waist (with a large tummy), big boobs.  And I would say that generally I’m able to convince myself that I don’t really care about my size. Except when I have to buy clothes. That’s when I feel fat. That’s when I start wondering how people see me, if they judge me because of my body, if people are disgusted by me. And I shouldn’t give a fuck! I’m a feminist, goddamn it. I know it’s society that makes me feel ashamed! But I can’t help it. When I think about clothes, and how I look in them, I always wonder how well I’ve hidden my belly and if guys who do see it are turned off by it.I know clothes that fit well and are flattering make a huge difference in how I look and my confidence. But damn, it is hard to find well fitted clothes when you’re a size 18 and have a large chest. When I know I need to shop for specific clothes (jeans, a dress, cycling shorts), I start getting anxious because I know it won’t be easy. I’ll admit- I’ve been brainwashed by society.

Today, as we were talking about cycling clothes for women on Twitter, I could feel myself starting to get emotional and stressed out. Buying regular clothes isn’t a picnic, but at least I know there are a couple of places I can rely on to have my size. When it comes to cycling clothes, forget it. I’ve never been in a cycling shop that has women’s sizes that will fit me. XL? Don’t make me laugh! I’m lucky if I can get my arms inside an XL, let alone zip it up. The male cut might be roomier in the chest, but there is no way it’s going to fit over my hips (trust me, I’ve tried). I don’t even bother looking at cycling clothes in the store, because I know they won’t fit.

This means I have to look online for my cycling clothes. And even online there are precious few options when it comes to extended sizes in cycling clothes. I hate buying clothes online- even everyday clothes. Even when they have good measurements, I still can’t tell how the fabric lays and stretches  or if the cut will be flattering to my belly and chest. Plus, if it doesn’t fit, I have to go to the trouble of sending it back. Buying cycling clothing online is even worse, because the sizing is awful. A nightmare. I spend days combing through sites, comparing sizing charts. I’ve even made a freaking spreadsheet. I need at least a 46 inch chest. Louis Garneau goes up to 3X. Sounds promising, right? Except their 3X is only 42 inches. Castelli? Their XXL is only 45. And let’s not ever talk about the high end brands. Rapha? 40 inch chest max. Even discounting the fact that there is zero standardization in sizing, how is sizing like that going to encourage more women to feel good about themselves on the bike?

sizes

My sizing spreadsheet

I know I’m never going to look skinny on the bike, but is it too much to ask to have flattering cuts, non-elasticized hems, and jerseys that don’t ride up?  And this is just the technical gear. What about all the new ‘stylish’ every day biking gear? Rapha doesn’t even have a women’s casual line. And besides Vulpine (which doesn’t have extended sizes), I’m hard pressed to even name another company that does casual riding clothes for women. And honestly, even if there were companies that did casual biking clothes for women, I wouldn’t even bother to look to see if they had something to fit me, because I know they won’t and it will just make me feel fat and ashamed when I see the sizing.

There are two issues at play here: body confidence and lack of options when it comes to cycling clothes. And I think the latter is affecting the former. When, time after time, I’m confronted with sizes that don’t even come close to my measurements, the message seems to be “We don’t want you size here. Your size isn’t normal and we can’t accommodate for it.” How is one supposed to remain body confident in the face of that?? Whether it’s technical or casual riding gear, time and again, I’m reading the message that my size isn’t “normal.” Even if I didn’t think of myself as fat, it would be hard to keep convincing myself of that when the only size that MIGHT fit me is an XXL, if I’m lucky. And even though I know they’re just arbitrary letters and numbers that don’t really mean anything, I can’t quite stop myself from feeling ashamed of my size.

Could I be thinner? Yes. I could do things to help me lose weight. I eat like shit and I don’t work out enough. If I improved my diet and rode my bike more often, I could lose a size or two. But I am always going to be plus sized. I’m always going to have big thighs, big boobs, a tummy, a large waist. When is the cycling industry giong to start recognizing that most women who ride bikes aren’t built like guys- they have curves, they have pooches, they have roundness. Women want flattering cuts to maybe help disguise some of the bits they don’t like. Or at least a cut that acknowledges they have HIPS and a WAIST. I’ve worn enough plus-sized, box shaped shirts to recognize the importance of defining a waist. I know I need to keep working on accepting myself, but it is hard to accept myself when it seems no one in the fashion industry or at the cycling clothing companies does.

But in an ironic twist, I don’t really care when what I look like when I’m on the bike. There is no where to hide when you’re wearing technical gear. All of the lumpy bits are out there. But for some reason, I don’t care. Even if shopping for cycling gear stresses me out to the max, once I’ve got it on and I’m on the bike, I feel comfortable. I feel strong. And I think, in the end, that’s what makes it all okay. I know many women aren’t like me, so I’m grateful I stop caring about how I look once I’m on  the bike. And as long as I feel strong on the bike, I guess that is what is most important.

RAGBRAI '13

At RAGBRAI ’13 with my dad and brother

So much thanks to Sarah (@_pigeons), for being brave enough to write her post. Also thanks to both Sarah and Jen (@_gavia_) for the great conversations which inspired these posts! Give them both a follow!

Update: Sarah has curated two posts on cycling clothing for larger women- Part 1 for plus sizes, Part 2 for XL and XXL sizing. AND Tina over at Wheel Women did exactly what I hoped this post would inspire- she wrote a blog post about her body image issues on the bike as well! Check it out here.

Happy Results, Unhappy Process

To be honest, the Contador verdict today given by CAS was the best case scenario that I thought would never play out. From my perspective, it couldn’t have been a better outcome. CAS upheld the rules created by WADA, and Contador’s 2 year ban is retroactively applied so he gets to start racing again in August (right in time for the Vuelta even though he has to miss the Tour and the Olympics). But there is so much that doesn’t sit right with me.

First, CAS was the only one to do anything right, in my opinion. To start, the UCI waited ages to release the positive and apparently only did so when German media threatened to out them. And they apparently told Contador to keep quiet about the positive when they told him about it. The Spanish federation sanctioned him, then backtracked, said “just kidding!” and reversed the sanction. The UCI did appeal the Spanish federation’s no-sanction decision to CAS, but they waited until the very last minute to do it! I know it is not up to the UCI to decide how a rider is sanctioned, but you would think that they would do everything in their power to make sure the rules were upheld. Even though the CAS took its sweet time releasing a decision, its decision was in line with the WADA no-threshold drug rules, concluding that Contador’s contaminated beef defense wasn’t strong enough to prove that the ingested Clenbuteral came from outside sources.

Second, Bert only has 6 months left on his 2 year ban to serve! This is not CAS’ fault. It’s the fault of the UCI/WADA for not moving quickly enough to appeal the Spanish federation’s decision not to sanction Bert and the two sides playing cat and mouse for a year, drawing the trial out. Now, I don’t want Bert to have a 2 year ban from today, but to count all that time he was racing in 2011 as time served on his ban is bull doody. I’m not sure who to blame for that- the UCI, the rules themselves, everyone who farted around and delayed the trial, who knows. But in the end, he will have to spend 11 months not racing out of a two year ban. That’s a lot of race results to strip.

Lastly, and most grievously, is the apparent lack of consistency in treated failed drug tests. Now, I haven’t been around cycling long enough to have sat through any other positive results trials. But the example that sticks out to me the most is the Landis positive. From what I understand about that, they practically yanked him off the podium to serve him his positive. There was no hiding it. There was no delaying. The UCI basically called him guilty from day one, who cares what anyone says. That’s a marked difference from the UCI doing what it can to cover up and delay Contador’s positive and only pressing the case to the CAS after it was clear the Spanish federation wasn’t going to do anything- I believe the UCI hoped Spain would do the actual dirty work of sanctioning Bert so they wouldn’t have to. And I think if the public and WADA would’ve let them get away with not appealing the Spanish federation’s decision, they would’ve just let it ride. And we haven’t even talked about the Spanish federation’s handling of the whole situation! Not only did they do everything in their power to make sure Bert wasn’t sanctioned, the way they handled the positive of Bert’s countryman, Ezequiel Mosquera, was remarkably different.  In my mind, it doesn’t matter that Mosquera’s positive was a more “traditional” positive- a positive is a positive and Bert should’ve been sanctioned just like Mosquera, especially with the rules as they are. On all levels there seems to be favoritism and inconsistencies in enforcing rules which, in my mind, is cycling’s biggest problem. The only way cycling can truly be clean is if the rules are clear, the process simple, and the punishments consistently applied.

I’m relatively happy with how it all turned out, but the whole ordeal makes me realize that cycling can only be as clean and efficient as its processes.

Sources:

Person First

As I’ve entered the cycling world and became a cyclist myself, one thing I’ve had to get used to is the amount of anger, dislike, and disregard centered around cyclists. All cyclists, and especially me, have learned to stay away from the comment section of stories about cyclists- whether it is a story about a hit and run, or a fatality, or biking infrastructure. Why? The amount of vitriol and hatred that is directed at cyclist in those comments makes me sick to my stomach. People say things like, “I want to run cyclists over when they get in my way,” “When they slow me down, I honk my horn at them to scare them out of my way,” “Cyclists deserve to get run over, they have no place on the road.” Those things sound like exaggerations, but they’re not. I’ve read multiple comments along those same lines. When I read things like that, first I feel sick, then I get angry, then I get scared- what’s to say that these commentators, or people feel similar, aren’t driving behind me and get so angry that I’m in their way, using “their” road that they decide to bump my back tire, or squeeze past me and “accidentally” hit me on the way by? Or, less life threatening but no less terrifying, yell something obscene at me or throw something out the window at me? I know these comments don’t represent the entire car driving population, but it only takes one angry driver to cause me to crash.

For me, there are two issues to address. One is that the road does not “belong” to anyone. Just because cars use the road the most and they are usually the biggest thing out there does not mean it is “their” road. The road is for everyone to use- everyone pays for the roads, everyone can use the roads. It’s true that those who own cars do have to pay special taxes associated with them- gas tax, licensing fees, etc. But most of that money goes towards interstates and state roads- most of which cyclist don’t (or can’t) use. The county and back roads that cyclists most often use are mostly paid for through general funds, which get their money through local, property and sales tax- things unrelated to automobiles and which everyone pays, no matter their mode of transportation. In addition, most roads don’t even pay for themselves at all- they don’t even break even when it comes to construction and upkeep. So they are constantly being subsidized. (For more information: Cyclists Ride on the Roads They Pay For, Bikes Pay for Roads Too, Actually, Highway Builders, Roads Don’t Pay for Themselves)

But my other point goes beyond numbers, money, even mode of transportation. It’s about the fact that I’m a HUMAN. Just like everyone else. Just like those driving in cars, just like the pedestrians crossing the street. The fact that I’m on two wheels and not encased in metal doesn’t make me less of a human than a person sitting in the car. I deserve respect and consideration just like anyone else- it shouldn’t matter whether I’m on two feet, two wheels, or four wheels. NO ONE deserves to be yelled at, harassed, threatened, spit on, bonked on the head, run over, called terrible names. It’s true that cyclists aren’t perfect. There are a lot of us who don’t follow all the road rules. And I know that can be frustrating to see. But please don’t hate all cyclists just because one ran a red light, or didn’t stop at a stop sign. Does every single motorists follow every single rule? No. Neither does every single cyclist. Yes, cyclists can be unpredictable and dangerous, but so can can motor vehicles. Everyone has the responsibility to remain diligent and alert, whatever mode of transportation they are using. Because the road will only be as safe as the people make it.

Next time you’re tempted to honk, rev, yell, or worse, at a cyclist, just imagine that it’s me on that bike. Or, if you don’t know me from Eve, imagine it’s your sister, or best friend, or significant other, or anyone else you know that rides a bike. Imagine how I (or that person), might feel about that honk, or yell, or profanity, or that pass which cuts a little too close and too fast for comfort. I just want to be able to ride my bike and not worry that my mere presence on the road will incite someone to cause me bodily harm. I’ll do my best not to act stupid or behave recklessly, and I’ll try my hardest to make sure I’m not unnecessarily impeding the  journey of those in cars. But if I feel I need to take the whole lane because I’m scared that someone trying to pass me won’t have enough room and will knock against me, I’ll do it. Not because I hate cars and the people in them but because I have a right to the road too, and a right to feel safe on them.

When you see a cyclist, don’t just see the two wheels they’re riding on- see the person who is using their two feet to push their bike forward.

Cycling’s battle of the sexes

Tonight, I am sad. I’m sad because these past few days I have seen an enormous amount of sexism in the cycling world lately. I know that sexism exists all over society, but I don’t think I’ve ever confronted it as much as I have in the cycling world. I’m not saying that cycling is more sexist than other areas of my life that I participate in, but nothing else I’m passionate about has aroused this much ire in me. And lately this ire is turning to sadness. A sadness that so many people don’t recognize the sexism that exists in our society. Oh sure, women can vote, advance far up the career ladder, be a mom and a career woman, stay single as long as they like, etc. So what am I complaining about, you wonder? Clearly women are totally equal to men- they have all the same opportunities! Oh but it’s not about the opportunities. It’s about the deeper issues. Sure, on the surface women seem to be equal to men. And maybe with regards to opportunities, the sexes are equal. But what is not equal is how the sexes are perceived at a deeper level. Whether you realize it or not, sexism is so ingrained in our society, most people do not recognize it. Stereotypes are actually sexism disguised. Emotions, child rearing, home life, fragility= female. Strength, stoicism, the workforce, breadwinner= male. Words like “pussy,” “girly,” “sissy” are used to illustrate weakness. Expressions like “grow a pair,” “balls to the wall,” “man up” are used to illustrate strength. Notice a trend? Whether we want to admit or not, the male lists are given more weight and prestige in our society.

If you really looked into how society views men and women, can you honestly say that society sees men as exactly equal as men? Not just on the opportunities level, but on a perception level? I do my bit to counter sexism by trying to educate those I come in contact with on how they might be unintentionally sexist. And I feel I do a pretty good job. But when the Amgen Tour of California pulls stunts like making a women’s TT payouts conditional on how they preform against the men and when pro cyclists Caleb Fairly cannot see how this might be offensive or demeaning towards female cyclists, I despair at such blatant disrespect for the female sex. If ideas like this are seen as a good idea, ideas so clearly discriminatory against women, how can we even begin to tackle the ingrained sexism of our society? It’s hard work convincing someone that their knee jerk reactions and accepted truths are actually sexist stereotypes. It’s even harder to accomplish this over Twitter. It’s too easy to fall back onto sarcastic, hurtful statements, when well thought out, reasoned arguments require so much more than 140 character soundbites. In addition, because some have so many followers, they can become inundated with negative comments and become supremely defensive. This makes it impossible to have a civilized discussion.

It’s not just the ToC story that has me worked up. It’s been little things like the use of the word “girled,” the Sea Otter Classic  getting sued for having a female only day, someone using the phrase “boys will be boys.” All of these things made me mad, then I got sad. I know what I do to help people understand how sexism is rooted in our society. But I don’t know what else to do. Is that enough? Maybe. I’ll do what I can and hope it’s enough.

(I’ve written about sexism in cycling before, here)

The Baubles in their Ears

After reading a post by The Inner Ring, about the hairstyles of the peloton, I was inspired to finally put together my post on a disturbing trend I’ve noticed in the pro peloton: earrings. I’m not sure what inspires this look, but in days past and present, they are prevalent. It’s a trend not unnoticed, as an Inner Ring reader commented on the same thing. And I’m not talking about little studs here, it’s full on hoops, or nuthin’.

Now, many of them are European, so I think they can be given a little slack- they seem fond of holding onto past fashion trends. Or bringing them back at least.

Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert

Another Belgian, Frederic Willems

 

bonus hair!

And Francesco Chicchi is Italian to boot.

Robert Wagner, a German now of Leopard-Trek- only appropriate, as that team is chock full of Euro style goodness

These Europeans I can understand, if not forgive. But Tyler Farrar, as an American, I cannot understand or forgive.

 

I usually consider to Tyler Farrar to be a pretty hip dude, but I cannot approve of those earrings. However, it seems he’s adopted the Euro look. So maybe it isn’t so strange. (he’s also suffered some funky hair, as well. Glad he’s moved past that)

 

Then there’s Jan. Ullrich that is. But we’ll also cut him a little slack, as he’s old school.

(love the kit, though)

I’m sure there are other offenders I’ve missed. But I seriously want to know: why are cyclists drawn to hoop earrings? Isn’t all that Lycra and those shaved legs enough to drive people away? I think the UCI should worry about censoring bad hair and hoop earrings sooner than they should worry about race radios if they want to bring more people to the sport.

Races and their Radios

Argh, okay I know I said I wouldn’t write about the race radio ban (at least on Twitter I did!), but having just read this article on VeloNews, I now can’t help myself! (For background, catch up with this, this, and this.)

I genuinely do not care whether or not the peloton uses radios. I’m writing this post because I think both sides are being ridiculous and want to call them out on it.

Firstly, yeesh, has no one ever heard of compromise? Both sides are of the “my way or the highway” mentality, with neither side willing to back down. This doesn’t seem like the best way to solve this situation!

The UCI seems to have decided to implement their decision for no other reason than because they want to. While they say they “analyzed” all the arguments, I’m interested to know what all the arguments were. In addition, they also site “scientific data” which shows the dangers of using two-way radios. I’d also be interested to know what that scientific data is. And I’m not really sure I believe it when they claim to have listened to everyone in the sport, including “riders, organizers, national federations, media, fans and sponsors,” as they chose to vote on the ban before even having a meeting with many of those they claim to have listened to (article here). So really, they just seem like a bunch of grumpy old men whining about “kids these days.”

As for those who want to keep the radios in their current format, let’s not kid ourselves-you want to keep the radios because it gives you tactical advantage. Yes, there is a safety issue and it helps protect riders. But if you were really interested in keeping the radios for the riders’ safety, you’d be open and proposing a limited use radio.

As someone who’s only started to watch racing this year, I’ve never known racing without radios. However, I wouldn’t say radios made those races boring! For me, in the end, racing is about those on the bike- their endurance and strength. The DS can say whatever he wants on the radio, but if the rider doesn’t have the strength or legs, it’s not gonna matter. There is also the matter of the things beyond human control. Sure, people like Jonathan Vaughters want the race to be “fair” and won by the strongest rider or team, and see radios as the way to do that. But when has cycling ever been fair? On stage 2 of the Tour this year, when a moto slide out on an oil slick in Spa, causing a huge pile up, was that fair? Or when Fränk Schleck crashed on the cobbles, could that have been prevented by radios? And we certainly can’t forget (or at least I can’t!) Andy’s dropped chain, Alberto’s attack, and a road too small to allow a close following support car. Those things certainly weren’t prevented by radios, and they certainly all affected the outcome of the race.

And another thing- I don’t feel like the “test” days in the 2009 Tour, or even the 2010 Worlds are a good litmus test as to how it would work without radios. Most of these guys have spent the last 15 years or so using race radios. You can’t just go from radios to no radios in one day and expect everything to be the same! They need to re-learn how to ride without radios. So don’t use a couple of one-off days to judge whether or not going radio-less is a good idea.

I understand the desire to “go back to the way things were”- I’m a historian, I get it! But you can’t make a 180 degree turn back to the past after being in the very technical present for ages. You can maybe make a 90 degree turn, but you can never go back to exactly the way it was. This is why I think, like others, a good compromise would be to have an open channel, one-way radio. This way riders can be made aware of dangers/accidents/obstacles ahead on the road, gives the DS’s a purpose in their cars, and forces the riders to use their heads AND their feet.

Both sides are acting irrational, not offering any sort of feasible solutions to the problem, and are only hurting the riders who get caught in the middle. The fate of cycling is not in the hand of the race radios- let’s spend more time focusing on how to deal with dopers.

I don’t use radios, but I do use Twitter. Follow me here.

Excuse me while I get on my soapbox…

While this post is a bit of a departure from the usual cycling-related inanities, it was something which struck a nerve with me and does actually relate to cycling in a big-picture way! So, my apologies, but I promise it’s still a good read!

A blog post appeared on the VeloNation website overnight written by Benji Greenwood. Greenwood rides for Rapha Condor-Sharp, a UCI Continental team and periodically blogs for VeloNation. I’ve enjoyed reading Greenwood’s blog, as it is blog about riding in the middle of the peloton- he’s not the best, but he’s not the worst and he loves what he does. It is a personal blog, which is clear from the lack of editing by a higher up. Not really a problem, as he’s a decent writer- his blogs are readable, which is more than I can say for some! In this particular post he attempts to explain the disparity between men’s and women’s sports (with an emphasis on cycling) and what women can do about it. This post struck a nerve with a lot of people, myself included. And okay, I can admit that after reading it I was a bit upset. However, I’ve calmed down now and can look at it all rational and stuff.

I will be the first to admit two things: I didn’t even realize women’s cycling was separate from men’s cycling until watching the Tour de France this year and I don’t really follow women’s cycling.

To the first point: During the Tour, it suddenly struck me that there were no women. After some research I found that women have their own Tour, the Route de France Féminine, as well as their own Giro d’Italia, the Giro Donne, and their own races, such as the Tour de L’Aude. While I would like women to be equal and compete equally with the men, I reluctantly accept that women’s biological makeup and build make it an unfair fight. So I’m grudgingly okay with this.

To the second point: The main reason I don’t follow women’s cycling is because I’m not invested in the female cycling personalities like I am the male cycling personalities. This is probably a direct result of the lack of coverage of women’s cycling. More on that later.

A response, if I may

His post. My response:

(I will preface all of this by saying based on the “conversation” I had with Greenwood over Twitter regarding his post, I think his heart is in the right place. It’s just his delivery that needs some work.)

I absolutely do not disagree with the point he was trying to make, which he maintains is to promote women’s cycling and encourage women to not only take more notice of the sport, but also fight for its equality. I mainly disagree with how he made his point.

First he posits that sports are more male-centric for just that reason- it’s a sport and “men like sports more than women.” This is illustrated by showing how women’s magazines are filled with celebrities, fashion, diets tips and not sports.From these magazines it’s clear: “women are not as keen on sport. They prefer fashion and gossip.” Not only are women not as interested in sports as men, but they also don’t idolize sports stars as much. And this is their problem. As he says, “how can they expect to be treated as equals when it’s women themselves that don’t seem interested by sport?”

So, if I’m reading this right, he’s basically blaming women for the lack of interest in women’s sports. Because the females aren’t interested in women’s cycling, it’s got no chance. This is what he sees as the main problem contributing to the lack of coverage and interest in women’s cycling. Greenwood feels that instead of “moaning” about the lack of coverage, top female riders should actually do something. To this end, he suggest that women stop with the “scantily clad photo-shoots” (such as the Cyclepassion calendar! And my opinions on that are best saved for another post), which he equates with being slutty. This will help female cyclist to gain respect from women and become their role model, thus increasing their interest and dedication, which will in turn encourage males to support female cycling as well. To be good role models, female cyclists need to keep their clothes on, have cute hair and wear the latest fashion. His other suggestion is for more female cyclist to write blogs so their female public can connect more with them.

My question is…

…why is just up to the women to do something to change the status quo?

Just because I’m a woman I should be obligated to follow women’s cycling? While I support women in sports, I don’t follow women’s sports. Does this make me a bad women? No. I probably don’t follow women’s cycling because there is no coverage of it. Would I follow if there was coverage? Maybe. Who knows. The point is is that it is not just up to women to change the status of women’s sports/cycling. It’s a two sex society and it takes both sides to make change. This means writing an article which supports women’s cycling without gender stereotypes (men like boobs! women like fashion! sexy is always slutty!). This means really looking at why women’s sports do not enjoy the same support as men’s sports and what can be done to change it, as men and women. And if you can figure out how to solve the gender inequalities in women’s cycling, then we can finally figure out how to solve the gender inequalities of society!

So while Greenwood writes his blog with the best of intentions, his overall good message is lost amid old stereotypes and not- great suggestions. It is clear from the reaction on Twitter that there were other women who also failed to see his good intentions through all the gendered stereotypes and those who were. In the flurry of Twitter reactions that followed, Greenwood was very good about responding to tweets, defending/explaining the intent of his post. It was during these ensuing conversations where Greenwood clarified his intentions and even offered up some good, non-gendered suggestions for increasing female cycling’s exposure. On the one hand, I admire him for taking this topic on. On the other, this topic doesn’t have to be controversial-most people agree there is a huge disparity between coverage of women’s sports and men’s sports. He just made it controversial by using the same tired stereotypes to make his point, not really looking at why the inequality between men and women exist, and not offering any practical solutions to the situation. Keep blogging, Benji, but let’s be a little more thoughtful next time, mmm’kay?

Follow me on Twitter and check out my articles on US Pro Cycling News.

A Human is a Human

I just wanted to write a quick note about the hit-and-run that happened in Vail. Brief recap: Dr. Steven Milo was hit from behind by Martin Erziger near Vail, Colorado. Erziger did not stop to help Milo, but did call 6 miles down the road for help for his damaged Mercedes. During the trial process, the DA decided to reduce the charges to two misdemeanor counts instead of a felony, citing the possible job loss and subsequent loss of income as justification. And this last fact was what got the Twitter-verse up in arms, and as the story spread through the cycling community, it got picked up by the mainstream press, such as the Huffington Post and the Daily Mail. To get even more detailed information on the legal side of this issues (since my grasp on that is slim!), Bob Mionske has a great blog post over on Bicycling.com which not only summarizes what happened, but the legal proceedings as well.

So there are two things which are really sticking in the craw of the cycling community. The first is the obvious lack of worth placed on a cyclist’s life. The second is how the socio-economic standing of Erzinger influenced the decision of the DA to file lesser charges against him.

(more…)

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