Re: [CR] Attracting women with bicycles, or not (warning: long story ahead)

Example: Framebuilders:Alex Singer

From: Jon Spangler <>
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2011 21:35:23 -0800
To: Dale Brown <>
Cc: Linda L Hudson <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Attracting women with bicycles, or not (warning: long story ahead)

Joe and all,

Both bikes and riding have been the topic of occasional pillow talk during the past 23 years ("Where do you want to ride this weekend?" Did you remember to fill the water bottles and put them in the 'fridge for the century tomorrow?"). Although buying new bikes ("Do you think we're ready to try a tandem yet?") has been discussed, I don't think we've ever discussed steel tubing gauges, mitering, or brazing flux....

Linda and I were first introduced at a tour of Redwood City bike routes ride I was leading for Western Wheelers Bicycle Club - out of Palo Alto - on a sunny Sunday afternoon in June, 1987. [ON-TOPIC CONTENT: I was probably riding an old 1960s Dunelt 3-speed that day. (It was on long-term loan from my sister at the time and later was stolen. :-( ]

Linda showed up on her 1980s Lotus, which had a Stronglight 99 triple crank. (Would a 1985-6 SL 99 qualify as KOF or on-topic?) Her poorly-fitting helmet (too big for her new 'do), her under-inflated tires, and her loosening-up BB cup impressed me the wrong way. (She told me at the time that my unsupportive, patronizing, and authoritarian reactions to her fit and mechanical issues had similarly "impressed" her... :-) Luckily, Chain Reaction Bicycles was open and they fixed up her BB problems while we waited. This eased the tension a bit....

Back in the off-topic late 1980s there were noticeably more women cycling than there had been during my University of Oregon (Eugene, OR) days (1969-78). There were far fewer than there are today, though. The fact that Linda rode seriously and had joined Western Wheelers on her own was a big deal: she had already earned points in my book for both, BB and big-hair helmet problems not withstanding.

About a week later Linda stopped by at the camping store where I worked in Redwood City during a busy noon rush - to show me the new, properly-sized helmet she had just purchased at Chain Reaction Bikes a block away. (Linda lived in Palo Alto and worked in Sunnyvale at the time. I knew neither detail and the significance of her extra trip was lost on me.) Being busy with customers, I curtly acknowledged her "correct" purchase, suggested she should have done that "long ago," and excused myself to return to my customers. (Notice how I consistently did my best to impress Linda by being friendly, warm, engaging, and empathic? It's a wonder she even spoke to me after such treatment.)

The following Labor Day, Linda came on a non-club ride with three other women from Western Wheelers. (We had not yet been out on a date.) One of them had invited me along, possibly in order to further promote Linda getting better acquainted with me (or vice versa). After we had finished our scheduled Skyline loop of 15-18 miles Linda and I both expressed an interest in doing more mileage, so we took off again when the others left and headed back on the Portola Loop towards Palo Alto, where Linda said she lived.

On the rolling hills west of Woodside Road and before 84 turns off towards Skyline, I tried to drop Linda a few of times. She, realizing what I was up to, would have nothing of it and stayed glued to my wheel. (To my perverse male sensibilities, her ability to stay glued to my wheel was "a good sign" that a romantic relationship might endure: nothing like choosing sound criteria for a long-term relationship... :-)

Having sensed Linda's "greater potential," I asked if she would like to go out for brunch. Shedeclined, citing a need to go home and clean her town house.

It would be two more months before I got smart enough and gathered up the courage to ask her out on our first date. About 30 minutes later, over Garlic Eggplant (with extra garlic, no less :-) and Kung Pao Chicken, all the serious trouble started for her.

We were married the following year (September 10, 1988) and have been together ever since. We have never purchased a tandem, and I am not sure whether buying and riding one would have helped or hindered us. I remain hopeful, however,m that some day we will be able to afford one and have a place to keep it. For now, our set of Peugeot UO-18 mixtes - both solidly on-topic, albeit with some off-topic components - are as close as we can get to having a tandem.

Jon Spangler in Alameda, CA USA (writing too long, as usual, and most certainly now at my three-a-day limit, but very grateful for my beloved long-time cycling partner...)

Message: 8
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2011 13:55:28 -0800 (PST)
From: Joe Starck <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Attracting women with bicycles, or not
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

--- On Thu, 1/20/11, wrote:

It just happens
> that the bicycle is capable of creating an intoxicating
> combination of physical, mechanical, aesthetic and
> intellectual passions that, combined with the sheer joy of
> the using, is undeniably attractive to those who get it.
> Or I may be completely full of hooey.

Brian Baylis may recall, he and I and Dave Tesch were at a pizza joint, or a taco joint, I forget which, after work, having food and beer, and Dave was in a fine moody, talking enthusiastically about everything about his bikes, and then he topped it off with: "Man, is it ever great to talk about framebuilding with a woman when you're in bed!!!"

Joe Starck Madison, Wisconsin USA

Jon Spangler Writer/editor Linda Hudson Writing TEL 510-864-2144 CEL 510-846-5356