• A round table organized by the network of repairers Cyclofix addressed the issue of the feminization of cycling, particularly in urban areas.

  • In Paris, more and more women are riding in the saddle, especially since the installation of secure infrastructure.

  • But many points remain to be improved, be it equipment, parking solutions or the deconstruction of stereotypes.

" Where are the women ?

asked Patrick Juvet in his falsetto voice.

Well they are more and more on bikes.

“A study carried out in the summer of 2020 after the installation of coronapists in Paris revealed that 41% of cyclists were women, indicates Camille Hanuise, director of the Paris en Selle association.

Before they were put in place, we were at 36%.

An increase of five points directly linked, according to her, to the creation of these new infrastructures.

“To sum up, the more cycle paths we have, the more women there are on bikes.

»

Because for the director of Paris en Selle, the main obstacle to female practice is the feeling of insecurity, which therefore reduces these dedicated infrastructures.

"Some women are already afraid as pedestrians, so switching to a bicycle is a difficult

gap

to overcome, and it is a public on which we must work", affirms for her part Marie-Xavière Wauquiez, president of the association Femmes en mouvement, during a round table on the feminization of the bicycle organized Tuesday morning by the network of repairers Cyclofix.

For example, “the slopes must be sufficiently lit, which reduces the feeling of insecurity,” says Camille Hanuise.

The VAE booster

Regarding infrastructure, the activist also calls for more parking solutions: “Women are in fact more often subject to making multiple stops, whether for shopping or to pick up the children.

And not being able to park your bike safely can be a hindrance to your practice.

Another sticking point is the question of equipment.

“In general, it is unisex, but in fact not at all suitable for women”, notes during this round table Ophélie Laffuge, founder of Beyond My Bike, a community of women on bicycles.

"It's more complicated to adapt for a woman than for a man, abounds Caroline Labroue, founder of the e-shop Je suis à vélo.

With a skirt, heels or a handbag, it's not easy and the bike ecosystem hasn't taken that into account.

For Ophelie Laffuge,

But speaking of equipment, there is one that has been a "real

game changer

 ", in the words of Marie-Xavière Wauquiez, it is the electrically assisted bicycle (VAE).

"It erases the relief and the wind, which go from obstacles to simple adventures, and it becomes safer to ride," she explains.

"The VAE was one of the springs that put a lot of people on the bike, which is no longer just seen as a sporting object", adds Caroline Labroue who asks on this subject "to stop complexing people on the VAE" .

Moreover, for the young entrepreneur, the fact that the bicycle has become an everyday object has made it easier for women to seize it.

The issue of open frames

Nevertheless, if the trend is towards more equality between men and women, there is still a long way to go.

"The bicycle is only the indicator of the place of women in society", believes Ophélie Laffuge.

“Part of the inequalities in cycling come from the inequalities between men and women in society, adds Caroline Labroue.

Making adjustments is not enough.

We must reverse the problem: why do women feel less safe?

This is because they feel less safe in the public space.

She thus calls for deconstructing mental patterns on the bike.

For example, the fact that open frames would be reserved for women.

"It's an artificial distinction, Judge Camille Hanuise.

In the Netherlands, many men ride Dutch, open-frame bicycles.

» By the way, the Vélib’

For women who have taken the plunge, “the feeling that comes up the most is that of freedom, assures Ophélie Laffuge.

Women become masters of their trajectories, of their movements, in total independence.

This moment when you are alone on your bike with yourself, these are precious moments for women.

“Before concluding:” The bicycle is a bit like the new broom for witches.

»

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  • gender equality

  • Transport

  • Ile-de-France

  • Paris

  • Bike

  • Mobility

  • Women

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