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Thread: Sexism, again

  1. #1

    Sexism, again


    Let's be honest about this.
    I repair bikes, here in our bike kitchen in one small central european country.

    We are group of nice folks there. But I'm the only girl, besides couple guys, which repairs bikes.
    It's frustrating to see, how someone comes and on my question "need help with anything" the answer is something like "I need to see real mechanic" and thats really stupid. I tend to have hands covered in dirt and oil, with few tools stuck behind my belt. And the other bike kitchen crew consider me decently skilled. But no, I'm a girl and people are just back minded.

    Yet, I get to repair bikes and sometimes people feel that saying something like "whoa, for a girl, you know something about bikes"

    And, the third, and my favorite option is: I'm really tall and have shorter hair and lot of tattooes, so I get mistaken from behind a lot of times. Usually some guy sees me working and gets up to me with "hey, this and this is broken" i turn my head to him and he says something like "no no, better give the bike to some guy"
    You know, it's hard not to punch that type of guy in his face.

    Sorry for my angry rant. I hope for some advices how to cope with this without yelling at people.
    And, does this happen all around the world, or only in our post communist european hellhole?


  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    I know just how you feel - I've been building my own bikes up (on hand-built or off-the-shelf frames) for 30 years now and I still get treated like I don't know anything.

    The worst was when I live in a small central European country and went to a local cycle shop to get a pair of new tyres for my road bike. I asked for a specific, high-end, make and width of road tyre only to be told 'No, they're not what you want for your bike, you need tyres for 26-inch wheels'. Don't know how the bloke could tell this, seeing as how he couldn't see my road bike - it being at home. However, I had cycled in on my old shopping bike and he 'naturally assumed' that I had only one bike and that was it. When I explained that I had another bike that I used for racing, Alpen brevets (equivalent of sportives in the mountains) etc., he didn't believe me and still insisted that I needed heavy duty 26-inch types. In the end I left without buying tyres, but I went back later in the day to show him my lovely bike and explicitly didn't buy the tyres in his shop but cycled into the larger, nearby town.

    What is it with guys like this who just seem to think, if you're female, you can't possible know anything technical?

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Happens everywhere i guess. I wanted a specific type of wheel, i not dressed not in cycle kit but to go Xmas Shopping, usual people i dealt with in the bike shop were out, so the mechanic from the back came to serve... would not believe i had any idea about bikes or what the wheels might cost... finally he gave me a price (we had already done our homework and been given a quote) when i did not flinch at the cost finally decided i might actually know something about bikes, but he still would only believe it when the shop owner walked back and greeted me by my name.
    Second occasion was when i first moved to a new area, i had a bike frame i was going to build up and went to a local lightweight specialist, asked for prices on all the items i required, was given a price list plus 30, I queried what this was and was told it was for building up the bike..... told them i would be doing the build, this was greeted by raised eyebrows, and the comment, well if you think you can do it yourself.. and then we will sort it out..... I assured them i had been building bikes, had coped with various emergencies while touring abroad and walked out of the shop never to return....

    I was shocked because so many of the shops local to where i lived knew me and knew my level of knowledge.... so was not used to being treated like this.


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