Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

news

Transport minister: Women can’t cycle to work in skirts or dresses

Women cyclists on Twitter: “Yes we can!”

A transport minister has been ridiculed on social media today after telling a House of Commons Select Committee that women cannot commute to bike

Rachel Maclean, MP for Redditch and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport made the remark when she appeared before the Transport Committee today to discuss e-scooters.

The gist of her comments was tweeted from the account of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling and Walking, its post quickly gaining a flurry of replies.

Some came from women who have themselves commuted by bike while wearing skirts, dresses, or whatever takes their fancy – one of the replies coming from Roxanne de Beaux, executive director of Camcycle, the Cambridge cycling campaign group.

Others – such as Coventry’s cycling mayor, Adam Tranter – pointed out that cycling in everyday clothing is something that people in countries such as the Netherlands, which have prioritised cycling including providing safe infrastructure, have done for decades.

He wasn’t the only one to mention Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

The Netherlands and Denmark were referenced in a number of replies.

Following on from that point, other Twitter users responding to the post highlighted that there needs to be a shift in attitudes in the UK to get away from the cliché of cycling being the domain of people in Lycra riding at speed.

L1060082

 

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment

15 comments

Avatar
handlebarcam | 3 years ago
2 likes

They ought to get one of those drones which sprays disinfectant to do a sweep of the DfT. Because it seems Chris Grayling's weapons-grade stupidity turned airborne before he left, and is still lingering in the halls and offices of its headquarters.

Avatar
Rich_cb | 3 years ago
4 likes

Commenters: What a stupid politician. All women feel comfortable cycling in skirts.

The same commenters: Phwoar. Women cycling in skirts.

Avatar
Sriracha replied to Rich_cb | 3 years ago
0 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

Commenters: What a stupid politician. All women feel comfortable cycling in skirts.

The same commenters: Phwoar. Women cycling in skirts.

Attraction is assault, joy be damned.

Avatar
Clunkymonkey | 3 years ago
2 likes

He's being short sighted and out of touch (are these both the same thing?). If you are commuting at less than FTP or "popping down to the shops" why can't anyone wear what they want within reason.

In most city centres it is almost as fast to cycle a couple of miles as it is to drive and find a parking space. If the government want less cars bikes are one of the alternatives. Once at work if you need to "nip out" are you going to change back into your bike clothes?

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to Clunkymonkey | 3 years ago
1 like

Clunkymonkey wrote:

In most city centres it is almost as fast to cycle a couple of miles as it is to drive and find a parking space.

No; it's quicker.

Avatar
fwhite181 | 3 years ago
6 likes

The public debate around cycling in the UK increasingly feels like the US debate around guns and gun-violence. 

"Changes like you're suggesting just aren't possible. People won't do that", says a country surrounded by examples of countries where changes like that have been made, and where people routinely do the thing.  

While ever our 'leaders' are stuck in the 1980s we're not going to progress. 

Avatar
Dingaling | 3 years ago
3 likes

My immediate thought was how do pillocks like this get into a position of responsibility?

When I grew up virtually everybody cycled to school and work. Hardly anybody owned a car. Back then women didn't wear trousers and therefore cycled everywhere in a dress or skirt. Womens bikes were usually fitted with an array of elastic strings over the mudguard between the chainstays and seat stays ( or even further back) to stop a loose dress getting caught in the spokes. I'll bet there are a few older roadcc readers who remember the enjoyment we as young lads had when the lasses started wearing mini skirts and still cycled to wherever they were going.

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to Dingaling | 3 years ago
2 likes

Dingaling wrote:

I'll bet there are a few older roadcc readers who remember the enjoyment we as young lads had when the lasses started wearing mini skirts and still cycled to wherever they were going.

Remember it?  I still go weak at the knees when the image you've conjured up flashes through what is left of my mind.

Avatar
Shades | 3 years ago
4 likes

I have this debate with people all the time in the UK but, if you're not cycling yourself into a 'muck sweat', it's perfectly possible to cycle in normal clothes if you put some thought into it (eg cycle 'friendly' clothes, cycle slower, e bikes etc).  My opinion, but it's because our cycling 'resurgence' in recent years has been born out of sport cycling (ie primarily a sport but some people also see it as a way to get around) as opposed to continental countries where it's treated as a mode of transport (and something you can do as a sport if you want to).  In 3 days of cycling in Berlin, I saw one person in lycra and literally hundreds of people cycling in normal clothes.

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to Shades | 3 years ago
1 like

Shades wrote:

I have this debate with people all the time in the UK but, if you're not cycling yourself into a 'muck sweat', it's perfectly possible to cycle in normal clothes if you put some thought into it (eg cycle 'friendly' clothes, cycle slower, e bikes etc).  My opinion, but it's because our cycling 'resurgence' in recent years has been born out of sport cycling (ie primarily a sport but some people also see it as a way to get around) as opposed to continental countries where it's treated as a mode of transport (and something you can do as a sport if you want to).  In 3 days of cycling in Berlin, I saw one person in lycra and literally hundreds of people cycling in normal clothes.

Perhaps the government (excuse for) should have thought of that before appointing the sports cycling organisation British Cycling as the lead on getting more people cycling, rather than a more broadly based outfit?

Avatar
Shades replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago
1 like

Interesting.  My view is that British Cycling comes at cycling from a 'sport' perspective, whereas Cycling UK takes a more holistic view.  Not sure swelling the numbers of Club pelotons is going to transfer into people swapping their car for a bike.

Avatar
mdavidford replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago
1 like

What mandate do British Cycling have from the government exactly? I couldn't find any particular reference to it. I know that a lot of governing bodies had money thrown at them to try to capitalise on / develop talent for the London Olympics, but that would have been more around encouraging people to take up cycling as a sport. Do they have any particular remit to encourage utility / recreational cycling?

Avatar
Philh68 | 3 years ago
10 likes

After a NZ politician cycled to hospital to give birth because as she put it "there wasn't enough space in the car", all excuses for why women can't / shouldn't / wouldn't cycle became null and void.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-45238768

Avatar
dodpeters | 3 years ago
12 likes

We’re never short of excuses for not cycling in this country, even though the same issues often don’t affect cycling in other countries.

Avatar
Sriracha replied to dodpeters | 3 years ago
1 like
dodpeters wrote:

We’re never short of excuses for not cycling in this country, even though the same issues often don’t affect cycling in other countries.

I saw this posted somewhere recently (sorry if it was here and I'm duplicating);
https://cyclingfallacies.com/en/

Latest Comments