Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Raleigh 2005--a Call for Action

The drama of the 2005 Raleigh Catalog on the Cycling Sisters list-serve continued for a bit but has basically calmed down in Chicago. The winds must have blown its stink to the fair city of Minneapolis however since darkling child wrote this comment referencing uglybike's disapproval of this catalog.

I spent some more time on the Raleigh site looking through the whole 2005 catalog (instead of a single picture). My impression changed considerably and I wrote a second letter to the list-serve. In the meantime Gin wrote to Raleigh about our concerns and received this less-than-understanding response from Raleigh.

At Friday's CCM Art Show I was pulled aside by several people (men and women) whom I respect tremendously and told that my ideas are well-reasoned and even-handed. Today through the magic of email forwarding, I was asked to write an article about this for Bike Traffic. And so I will.

First though, I am going to take my own suggestion, and compile the profiles of as many bicyclists as possible (boys welcome, too!) who don't appreciate this portrayal of women and bikes to send to Raleigh. I will leave profile forms at the Handlebar and CBF. I'll also bring some to the wheel-truing workshop on 2/15 and the Derailluer party on 2/23--which is going to be the deadline.

If people from outside of Chicago want to join in, please send me your profile: Also feel free to forward this on to anyone else or link-up if you care to. The Bike Traffic article is due March 1, so don't dawdle and get your profiles to me by February 23.

Things to consider including in your profile:

  • Gender, Age, location....
  • Types of biking (commuting, racing, mtn, leisure, fitness)
  • Years biking
  • Number of bikes owned
  • Miles per year
  • Year-round biking
  • Involved with any bike-related organizations (please list)
  • Number of people you have helped choose a bicycle
  • Upcoming bike purchase?
  • Anything else important!!!
  • Your thoughts on the 2005 Raleigh catalog.
  • Name, contact information optional.

Also interesting is to look at the Raleigh catalogs for 2004 and 2003. The 2003 is a traditional bike ad--almost entirely men except for the leisure women riders (the women mtn bikers aren't riding they are standing in a meadow watering dogs out of bottles--while the men are roaring down hills, pushing up them, portaging their bikes over boulders and then rock climbing. grrrr). The 2004 catalog seems much better--more women in general, more women moving--plus they show urban bike commuters! It still isn't perfect, but definitely in the right direction. And then we get to 2005. What happened??


At 12:32 AM, Blogger Sascha said...

It's me again. A point in your other post struck a kindred nerve in me so I'm quoting your bit from it:

"These bikes have the same basic styling: the men's is stealth black--even the rims are black, but the 'ladies'' is powder blue with whitewall tires--bitchin' it is not, nor is it black. Weird--this tag line reads very much as if men are norm and women are some 'other.'"

Oh please! I don't know how often I have to rant about this. Here's one more time.

Just because I am a WOMAN does not mean I want to ride a freaking pastel colored bike.

If you've looked at my blog at all, you might have noticed that all of my riding is categorized, tongue in cheek, under the Smurfette Reports. This is because powder blue has been the least freaking objectionable color I can find to buy stuff in.

Listen up bike and clothing manufacturers: I want an orange bike with black accents. I want a Red bike. I want orange and yellow, I want orange and yellow and black. Fer crying out loud, Terry Bikes, stopping selling lavendar and white bikes.

Give me some primary colors dammit!

ok...rant over

At 12:30 AM, Blogger Frick said...

First of all, I'd like to say that I feel sorry for all the women out there who don't like to own pastel accessories. It sucks when you don't fit the market demographic.

That's what this issue comes down to. The serious bikers are not going to be affected in their decision to buy a bike by the frivolities in the picture. (I think I just invented a word) So if you you're looking to expand your market, where else to look but the demographic that is most prone to buy expensive toys that they don't need: Men 18 to 35. (Ug, me see cute girl with bike. Me wish get attention of cute girl. She likes bikes, so she like me more if I have bike. Bike attract girl to me, and she lured with in range of me club)

At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Jim said...

Frankly, I don't see what the fuss is all about. I turn on the TV, read a newspaper, get online, or walk down the street, and I see sexy women being used to sell me every conceivable product. The fact that Raleigh is now doing the same thing is shocking only in that they didn't do it sooner. From my limited knowledge of this subject, it seems that the current outrage stems, at least in part, from the fact that Raleigh is a bicycle manufacturer, and as such, is expected to have a progressive social conscience like some Raleigh riders undoubtedly do. The truth is that Raleigh is a big company that cares about the bottom line, not about what is or is not "PC". For all those who think Raleigh is wrong to be using women to peddle bicycles (get it?), I suggest not buying Raleigh merchandise. I mean, let's face facts, most Raleigh bikes are mediocre at best, and boycotting them wouldn't necessarily push one out of the good bicycle market. But anyway, good luck with writing that article.

At 11:39 PM, Blogger freewriter said...

new to your unique blog. glad it's here. rock on. no wait... roll on.


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