I hear a lot of people in the cycling world talk about how great it would be to get more women involved, and I have to wonder what their motivations are. What if girls just don’t dig it? Should we force or cajole them to race?
Now, mind you, there are girls who do love riding bikes. Lots of them, in fact, and they’re good at it. The female Rider of the Year racing this year at the velodrome, for instance, was as heated and passionate a battle as any Lance and Jan ever waged.
Bucket o’ Dudes
There are also lots of girls involved in triathlon and running events. My informal unscientific estimate is that the mix of men and women at any given 5k or sprint triathlon is somewhere close to even between guys and girls. On my way up the distances in triathlon, though, I did notice a sharp decline in the ratio of men to women.
Full-distance Ironman races are basically a big bucket of dudes with the odd sprinkling of female athletes.
How To Get Chicks
So yesterday I saw this tweet from Rich Kelly, who is affiliated with the Interbike bicycle industry convention:
Interbike: Panel on future of tri @triathlonamer conf I see many of same issues as in cycling: women, minorities, doping, learning from NASCAR success.
Rich doesn’t go into detail, but I assume he’s talking about getting more women involved in triathlon, not attempting to learn from NASCAR how to get minority women to take performance enhancing drugs.
Is Bud Light a performance enhancing drug? I digress.
Why Do We Care?
Here’s my deal: Who cares if more women get involved? It seems to me that sports would be best served to spend their resources on the people who do show up — regardless of gender — rather than throwing those resources at people who don’t. So what if females don’t participate in the same numbers as men do?
Now, if the motivation to get more women involved is so that the women who are already racing have more competition and thus get more attention and better sponsorships, then I support it. I don’t think it’s going to happen, mind you, but I support it.
I say let women do whatever women want to do. If they don’t want to race, they shouldn’t be coerced.
No means “No,” right?