For a bit of fun (please don’t take it too seriously), I’ve identified seven types of female cyclist. I’ve deliberately used the word cyclist because that’s what I call myself, but I know that many of the groups I’ve identified wouldn’t use that term.
With my arbitrary categories I also acknowledge that some women move from one group to another – An ‘Occasional rider’ could catch the bug and become an ‘Obsessed road cyclist’. And women can be more than one category at the same time – an ‘Obsessed road cyclist’ can also be a ‘Commuter’, a ‘Mountain biker’ and a ‘Mum riding with kids’.
This woman races road or track, or both. She ranges from occasional racer to serious athlete and usually trains for particular events, which could be anything from local club racing to Masters World Championships. She’s quite likely to also be an ‘Obsessed road cyclist’ who enjoys riding with her mates (both men and women) just for fun.
Obsessed road cyclist
I’ll happily tell you that this is my own category. I call myself an obsessed road cyclist, and I know plenty of women who are just like me, to a more or lesser degree. This woman rides three or more times per week, she has lots of matching gear and kit, and takes pride in her obsession. Depending on how many years she’s been an obsessed road cyclist, she may have more than one road bike, or at least have traded up one or more times. Her motivation for riding might have started out as just fitness, but you can also add social opportunities and her desire to experience ‘freedom’ to that list.
This woman hasn’t caught the bug yet. She rides no more than once a week in warm sunny weather but more likely only rides every few weeks. Her choice of bike is usually a flatbar road bike. She favours bike paths over roads for safety reasons, and might ride with one or two friends but often alone.
This group of women is gradually growing but commuting by bike has traditionally been more popular with men. She rides to and from work, and usually has good facilities at work to get ready for her work day. To call yourself a commuter, you don’t need to ride every day. Commuters often fit into one of the other categories as well.
The female mountain biker is often a roadie who enjoys riding in the bush, or trying another discipline. She rides on the trials, and is happy to drive to dedicated mountain bike parks. Female mountain bikers might also race their bikes, and make these events a family affair with involvement of their partner and kids.
Bikes make great modes of transport, particularly for short trips and on flatter terrain. There is a cohort of dedicated women who ride their bikes as their main or only mode of transport. You can recognise her by her basket and/or pannier bags, and she often rides in all weather conditions. I also include touring in this category, although they are fairly different from short trip ‘Transport lovers’. Touring riders can travel vast distances carrying all their gear on their sturdy bikes.
Mum riding with kids
Quite a lot of women take up riding when their kids are small so they can share a great outdoor activity with their families. This might start as a baby seat on the back of their bike, and evolve to riding alongside their children when they are old enough to ride independently. This woman often catches the cycling bug and moves into one or more of the other categories after the kids lose interest in riding with their mum.