You know Margaret Wente is right, getting ladies to cycle is a lost cause. After-all, ladies don’t like to sweat, mess up their hair or put themselves in potentially life threatening situations, much less fight for their place on the urban roads.
Margaret Wente is clearly a lady. One who drives her car to work wearing her six-inch heels, with her designer handbag resting on the passenger seat. Only to emerge fresh-faced & pristine from her air-conditioned car at her office’s parking lot.
You know who cycles? Broads.
Broads don’t give a f*** about sweating or messy hair. They like a little sweat. And messy hair is hot, ask any red-blooded straight man.
They own the road like a boss & have no fear of “maybe” getting hurt. They welcome the exhilaration of the Toronto urban commute. They live for it & find reasons to bike, just so they can get that feeling you get when you zip down a hill with your hair whipping in the wind.
They have stories of near misses, feats of skills, of the times they stood up to themselves & the times they saw something amazing because they cycled.
Broads cycle. Ladies whimper at the thought of it.
There is a truth in Margaret’s article though, Toronto is an intimidating city to cycle in. Our bike culture is not mainstream (yet, but we are getting there) & our cycling infrastructure is lacking. Drivers are used to cyclists who hug the curves of the road & don’t blink as cars speed by inches from their handle bars. The good ones share the road, the bad ones get angry at your presence & try to bully you out of their way.
Cycling in Toronto is intimidating.
For many years I was too intimated by the reality of cycling in Toronto to try it. I thought I couldn’t do it. I didn’t think I had what it takes. But, after seeing women like me cycle I thought if they can do it so can I! Last summer I got myself a used bike & tried commuting to work. I would save money & stay in shape I told myself.
It turned out that I did save money & it did keep me in shape, but I also learned that I did have what it takes to cycle in Toronto. It turned out I was good at it & I really, really enjoyed it. I learned to be an aggressive cyclists, one who didn’t fear the cars & owned my place on the road. I realized that I deserved to be on the road. I had to right to be there & no one was going to intimidate me out of it. I became more confident.
In a way I feel sorry for Margaret Wente, she doesn’t think she has what it takes to cycle in this city. She doesn’t believe she can cut it. She’s scared. Of all of the things I’m sure Ms. Wente has accomplished in her life, she doesn’t think she can do what you & I do every day – cycle in Toronto.
Lead the way Ye’ Wenting Broads
While Margaret’s article has spawned a trend in the Toronto cycling community Wenting, which means “cycling while being a woman”. We should all remember that as women who cycle we are leading the way for others to start. There is no judgement of those who fear it. I get it, I really do.
But, that is EXACTLY the reason why we, women who cycle in Toronto, need to continue to do so. To show those women who are fearful & doubtful of their skills, that they can do it. The media won’t help. Politicians won’t help. The will continue the fear mongering of cycling is dangerous. Or position it as a leisurely pursuit that should be confined to the park trails. But,
So I’m #Wenting, every day all day. Because I hope that seeing me gives a women the courage to try cycling.