Saturday, 11 April 2015
Clare forwarded me a marketing email from mainland bike chain '99 Bikes' the other day which featured some collections of '6 riding kits to match your style'. I didn't really read her email properly before I checked out the collections but she said something about checking out 'Commuter Girl' and 'Commuter Guy's' outfits. So I did.
First I noticed that commuter girl had quite a nice helmet. But then I noticed that she had a very crappy bike - Imagine trying to get that steel frame over Bonnet hill with all of 7 gears at your disposal - the flowers she would be carrying in her quaint basket would be well and truly wilted by the time she got to Sandy Bay. But hey, I decided to give 99 Bikes the benefit of the doubt as perhaps their version of 'commuting' is a little different to ours – they are obviously thinking something flat and short (and warm). But then I checked out "commuter guy's" outfit – and hang on.. his bike is WAY better, has all the gears to make it over Bonnet Hill & even up Napolean Street (dubbed 'Spew Hill' by me and Clare), although he's going to be squished by the first Kingston bus that comes along as he's dressed all in black. So even though commuter girl would be pushing her bike (and also extremely pissed off that she was made to commute with a bike that weighed more than her Holden Barina*), she'd at least be highly visible as she was being oggled and wolf whistled by passing hoons while muttering under her breath. Luckily she has funky looking shoes.
*car driven by real commuter girl so she can do a 17km each-way commute, rather than a 37km each-way commute.
It's also interesting that her spend on her kit is only $670, while commuter guy's is $1340. I guess 99 Bikes has either a) acknowledged that on average females earn less than males and kindly adjusted the collection to suit, or b) assumed she'd want to spend the other $600 or so on hair products and makeup or c) recon she doesn't need to spend much on kit as this is what she normally wears when she rides anyway :
Now further research has revealed that I'm probably being a bit harsh, as 99 Bikes do actually feature a female rider who actually looks like a real cyclist in some of their ads, but Clare tells me they frequently send her emails featuring ridiculously dressed female models while they use a regular looking cyclist guy for their male kit. However Clare also tells me that in the store she went to, the staff were really nice. So that's good.
Which leads me on to something else, around Facebook recently there's been a few long comments and occasional linked articles written by women complaining about how bike clothing companies only make cycling clothing for women which have swirls or other decorative designs on them. This seems a weird complaint to me, I see it as a positive that the cycling companies are making and marketing clothes specifically for women, and if women didn't like them they wouldn't buy them. Of course not everyone has the same taste, but that's the same with all clothing right? So anyway that's a band wagon I'm not climbing on to. I guess it's possible it's the same story with the stupid yellow bikes - women are snapping them up?? I dunno, I doubt it. I think Clare has a very nice take on it.. see below..completely stolen from her blog post..
Lately I have been doing something which is contrary to my nature: getting up before 7am and exercising before work. Lacking the motivation for this feat on my own, I have been relying on Cathy to inspire me. When she and her family were in Norway, I commuted to work a couple of times from her place, a really nice ride over Bonnet Hill to the city, about 17km each way. Now that they are back, Cathy and I have been attempting to ride twice a week, which means I get up at 6.45 in order to drive to her place (where my bike is living). We’ve been thwarted by rain, holidays and dental appointments a couple of times, but generally we’ve been pretty consistent.
We’ve also been consistently dorky - both Cathy and I wear high visibility jackets, and out gear is far from up-to-the-minute; much of it relying on gaffer tape and/or sheer willpower to stay together. What we do have going for us is that we are both pretty strong cyclists - it’s about 50 mins each way to the city, including a long climb out of Kingston and a killer hill in Battery Point. Regular reader(s) will remember that we also did the four day Cape to Cape mountain bike race, finishing in the top half of a mostly male field. So it came as a bit of - well, I won’t say a surprise, more annoyance - when I received an email ad from a large national bike chain, 99 Bikes. I’d long since been bemused by their marketing in Melbourne - their showroom in Clifton Hill has two large window sized posters: one of a trim looking guy in full bike kit holding a racing bike; the other of a model in a tank top holding a ‘mama bike’ (as they call them in Japan) with a dinky basket. And by tank top I mean exercise bra - which I ride in all the time. UNDER MY BIKE TOP. And dorky high vis jacket. Anyway, in keeping with this theme, 99 Bikes had a few bike ‘packages’ for sale - one for ‘commuter guy’ and one for ‘commuter girl’. I am sure you can imagine the discrepancy between the two packages: as we all know, girls like to look pretty and pick up the shopping on the way to their part-time work as child car assistants at the kinder down the road; while men like to work up a serious sweat on their way to their law firm in the city that encourages a ‘work-life-balance’ i.e getting home in time to tuck the kids in on a school night before eating the delicious meal of fresh ingredients that commuter girl brought home in her bike basket and prepared in her tank top.**
**commuter girl’s tank top never gets sweaty. Unlike mine which I hang around my office, along with all my other wet, smelly clothes, so I don’t have to put on a cold sweaty bra for the commute home.
And to demonstrate Clare's point about our gear, here is the best of our combined collection: