Though I would have loved to be there in person, I enjoyed visiting the Handmade Bicycle Show virtually. The pictures and descriptions of all the beautiful, handmade bikes were amazing, and it was refreshing to see so many bikes made for the kind of utlitarian riding that Dottie and I do.*
But as I scrolled through the winners on Cyclicious (pic nabbed from there as well), I noticed something — winner after winner was a man. The group photo at the end really brought it all home.
OK, so the winners were men, but surely there was at least one woman exhibitor at the show? A scroll through the list of names turned up several promising possibilities. Nobillette? Nope, a man’s last name. Parlee? Three men. Sadilah? No again, though that company’s owner named his business after his two daughters and I love his explanation of why he decided to do that.
Am I missing something? Why don’t women build bikes, when we know they ride them? Women make up only 10-20% of engineers, depending on the exact engineering discipline and which survey you look at, but I don’t think it’s out of line to expect that out of dozens of exhibitors, there might be one woman.
Don’t get me wrong, these men built beautiful bikes and I’m sure they deserved their wins (was especially glad to see the M.A.P. I was drooling over in Dottie’s post take a prize). But I’m thinking a woman who makes utilitarian, step-through bike frames especially for women might find a waiting market. Terry Bicycles are just for women, but they’re mass-produced. Natalie Ramsland, who hand-crafts her Sweetpea Bicycles, is a woman, but she wasn’t at the show. As she points out on her site, it’s especially hard for women to find bikes that fit, so why aren’t there more companies like hers out there? And why do the ones that exist seem to focus on diamond-frame bikes, instead of step-throughs**? I might have to get my dad to give me some welding lessons next time I’m home. . .
*Utilitarian pricing, not so much, but handmade rarely=inexpensive.
**Terry Bicycles does have a nice-looking mixte on sale right now.