Backhanded Compliments – sexism on the bike

26 Sep

Yesterday I was on one of my cycling loops by my home (the Antonio Banderas Loop – if you follow me on Daily Mile, every time I ride this loop it says “Shannon rode Antonio Banderas” hee hee).

The intersection of Antonio and Banderas

Nothing big just a nice and easy solo ride.  I wasn’t pushing it but I wasn’t in zone 2 either, something in between, you know what I mean.  So I was ridding along at a good comfortable pace and I come up to a stop light.  (I live in South Orange County, CA aka suburbia the home of strip malls, housing developments and fast food chains)  At the light was a man in a racing kit (cycling outfit with a team/shop logos worn by cyclist who race for the aforementioned team/shop) and he had the physique of a very active cyclists.  We exchanged hellos and I grabbed a drink of water.  The light changed and he jumped out of the saddle and was off.  I was in no rush and not in the mood to race or kill myself, but I am “me” so I gave it a little push and stayed a few bike lengths behind him.

Less than a mile later we hit another light (oh suburbia!!) and the man looks back and there I am.  He said, “Good job, you are fast.”  my response was the ever so witty and genius, “umm, thanks?” And the light changed again and we were off.  He was out of the saddle, dancing on his pedals (if you follow pro-cycling, you know where I got that saying) and I was sitting back just doing my thing.  Inside I was boiling over.  “Good job”, really and my response was THANKS?  I should have said “It is amazing how my breast don’t slow me down more” or “Crazy, since I am a blonde woman that I can even work this thing!”   I had about 10 more snarky remarks that I should have said but was to dumfounded to speak.  I was probably for the best, since I was wearing a Tough Chik jersey and don’t want to associate my brand with being a bitch.

This is not the first time that this has happened to me.  Not that it happens often, but I have encountered sexism on the bike.  Men HATE when I pass them and will do everything close to having a heart attack to catch me and pass me up or not let me pass them in the first place.  I can’t tell you how many times a I have passed a man, just for him to turn around and pass me.  Then 2 miles later he is pulled over “checking his phone” red-faced and wheezing.

Back to yesterday, so of course I meet up with this guy at the next light.  Visibly out of breathe, making sure I stay behind him (I am assuming) he asked me if I raced. “No, not really but I am doing my first triathlon next week.”  We rode to the next light together and chatted.  He was actually a really nice guy and raced several years back.  At the next light he turned off (probably because my wicked fast pace was killing him…I joke…it was his neighborhood…but it is my story…so yeah I was kinda killing it) and I have to admit, the rest of my ride I was on a bit of a high.  This guy was impressed by my pace, thought I was a racer!  I mean I know that just because I am a woman he shouldn’t assume that I can’t keep up with him, but I have to admit…I loved every minute of it.

Wicked Fast Cyclist, for a girl...

Are you a victim of sexism on the bike, or at the track or in the pool?  How have you dealt with it?

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5 Responses to “Backhanded Compliments – sexism on the bike”

  1. Haley @ Climb Run Lift Mom September 26, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Haha! I always get a kick out of your Antonio Banderas loop on DM!! Back handed compliments despite the “compliment” part always suck. But great job on a great ride!! You rock 🙂

  2. BigHappyFamily September 26, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    I always get, You’re pretty fast for having five kids, or You look great for having five kids. My favorite compliments are any positive words uttered that aren’t followed by “for having five kids”

    • mel September 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

      Well…did he ever say that you’re fast ‘for a woman/girl’? if so, then ‘yep’ …sexism. but i’ve ridden on a mtn bike next to a roadie and gotten the same reaction….not thinkn it was sexist at all, but that it was about the bike. anyway, there are MANY factors aside from gender that could get a ROCKN compliment like that, enjoy it and tell him that ‘he’s pretty fast too and to keep up the good work! =)’.

      Now…I HAVE had MAJOR sexism issues on the golf course and when mtn bike racing…..for example…..a guy we were paired up with on the tee box said that ‘women should not be on a golf course. period.’ well, that KINDA pissed me off and I’m usu not very competitive, but decided to kick his ass that round. My hubby was proud. LOL! Just a month ago, in a mtn bike race…a male rider (who had OBVIOUS heat exhaustion issues) would not allow me and another female racer to pass. He was very slow and blocking. He told us that if we thought we were sooo good, the we were gonna have to ‘force’ him to get out of the way. We did.

      Ok…with that said…there def a TON of sexism out there. Sometimes, the guys just have no clue about what comes out of their mouths or how it sounds to us. Just try not to take it to heart and compliment them back for being able to keep up with YOU. =)

      Btw….totally jealous of your ride locations. I’m in Dallas. It was so freakn hot this summer, my tire treads melted on several rides. LOL!

  3. Jess @ THIR September 26, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    ALL THE TIME. And age-ism. And body-shape-ism!
    Because I am female, I should not be able to swim and ride fast. Because I am older than some of my clubs hardcore kids, I should not be able to swim faster than them.
    And most of all, cos I am a bigger chick I should not be able to do things better then them.

    Keep on smokin’ em!!

  4. Marcus Falcon August 19, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    It happens to me everytime lol. Female riders passing me. I ride a cannndale slice and ride the trails here in Washington. Full attire, but can care less about the bike accessories. Hey I don’t mind them passing this old 52 yr old fart with two arthritic knees and a broken pelvic bone . Keep it up! 🙂

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