Pink Pedal Power! …Or Not?

pink flamingoIn general, I like pink.

As a color: I wear pink to work, casually, and so forth. I have a mild exception to being draped entirely in pink (because I’m quite tall and don’t wish to look like a giant pink flamingo). I have my fair share of pink hues in my closet and I’m not afraid to use them! However: when it comes to cycling kits I absolutely loathe pink. As a matter of fact, I am only recently reluctantly embracing a smidge of pink in my life for my women’s development racing team. (Whom I think the world of!) Like I said, I’m not a pink hater, but when it comes to cycling…

Sorry Ladies: pinky-poo girly cycling kits make me gag.

Here’s my beef with pink pedal power in cycling. Who decided that women’s cycling gear should look like the little girls clothing section? Who decided that women MUST wear pink if they ride a bike? There are quite a few ladies that love to flaunt their pink power, and that’s great! But, pinky-poo stuff is so prevalent that its become stereotypically awful! Pink cycling kits for women have become a ‘thing’ big enough to get stuck in my throat. In our culture’s evolution; Marketing has decided that women should wear pink (or purple / baby blue hues) along with some frilly pattern that sometimes includes flowers (gag).

Whatever happened to the powerful designs that men get to enjoy? Aren’t women powerful too?

You darn right we are
.crossing the finish line

As a reasonably serious competitive cyclist I am personally hugely offended at the slim choices that women receive when it comes to serious cycling apparel. Sure, these days there are lots of choices including nice outfits to wear if you are commuting or perhaps even if you’d like to go out for the evening via bike. This progress is fantastic, but designers have not quite let go of the fact that not every lady that rides a bike wants to look like a Lululemon commercial when out for a long ride. Maybe these designers don’t think women actually ride over 20 miles.

Regardless, leave the yoga clothes to yoginis please.

Let’s take something simple such as high-viz colors for instance. I was thrilled to see that the Italian iconic cycling clothier, Castelli, had finally embraced tasteful designs to include high-viz colors (because I often train after work). However, as a female, if you would like to own fashionable Castelli gear in these bright fluorescent colors you are out of luck unless you buy a jacket. I searched, and searched, and searched. Castelli has embraced high viz colors in their fine designer summer gear in men’s kits only. The same old pink, purple, and baby blue colors still grace all the women’s clothing lines. Nothing screams “women don’t ride enough to need safety” that this blatant omission.

Sorry Betty, Dear – this is a bit much. We love you anyway though.

“…brands are getting it wrong with horrible colours, pinks, lilacs and see-through or floral patterned jerseys. Women want their clothes to be flattering but tiny women and big women aren’t catered for.” – Jess Duffy, 24, cycling instructor

Only non-designer lines carry high-viz rags for ladies, which is ok – but even then it’s buried in a sea of blue, purple, and pink. I struggled for years finding kits that weren’t completely silly or girly looking and reasonably functional (three pockets please!). I yearned for the streamlined sleek looks of the guys kits while the best I could hope for was some funkadelic kit design of mediocre quality and usually too short in the torso (tall chic problems). Finally I had enough…

I said “screw it” and bought a men’s kit.

It was awesome! I had worried that the chamois would be, ah, anatomically incorrect or that it would fit funny. There might be some extra fabric where I didn’t need, but not in a place that mattered. I finally have a kit that looks great and even fits reasonably well! Better yet: I found that the men’s chamois was infinitely better. Go figure…

Sadly, I have taken to only ordering men’s kits because the women’s selections are still awful.

If the Pall of Pink wasn’t so prevalent I wouldn’t care if I wore a jersey with pink on it – I have nothing against the color. However, because pink, purple, and blue seem to be the MAIN colors for women – it makes me shudder at the very suggestion. I don’t wish to be stereotyped or limited because I am a female. Women’s cycling is already severely under-appreciated compared to the attention the men receive, let’s not add fuel to the fire. I feel that we women have the right to be considered serious cyclists and need to have clothing that will stand up to extensive wear, be visible (and fashionable), and make us feel as powerful as we are!

Olympic Road Race | London 2012

“All the men’s photos are of them being awesome and cycling in bad weather, I want that for women too, it should be about the awesomeness of cycling.” – Emmy Tither, 22, a former cycling instructor

So, if I make a face at a pink kit or roll my eyes at the thought of frills, flowers, swirly patterns, or other ‘fluffy’ designs – you know why. I’ve been bombarded with ‘pink pedal power’ for too long. No, it’s not cute. Yes, it’s demeaning (in my opinion). Not because of the color – just because of its over-use and the connotations that come with it. Pinky-poo princess designs need to cease and desist because it’s LABELING women if nothing else. That’s like saying men should mostly wear blue, red, and black – never pink. Quite frankly, I know some serious competitive men that wear Rapha’s pink quite well.

Ladies: Ride On and put the Pedal Down because you are POWERFUL.