Of course, I can't speak for all women, but since the subject is being bandied about the bicycling blogosphere, I figured I'd add my feminine two cents. Women probably have a good idea of the type of bike that would lend itself to commuting and they more than likely realize that they don't need special clothes to ride in since a lot of the bikes they're seeing are in clothing stores (or the store's website or catalog). So now that it's simple enough for a girl to find a bike, what else does she need to hit the streets?
- Information. Knowledge is power. Classes will help with confidence when one is timid about mixing it up with cars on the streets. Bike maps enable a woman to avoid particularly snarled streets when she's carrying precious cargo, like the kiddies, or when she wants a less hectic commute. Who doesn't want that? I cite G-maps Pedometer as a "chic enabler," but this article cites three articles with a lot more information on bike mapping and links. You can also think locally and try your neighborhood civic association's website. The East Atlanta Community Association is a good example--they give bike routes in text form to popular Atlanta destinations from EAV.
- Infrastructure. I'd like to see a lot more political will behind cycle commuting before even touching the what-should-be-built-where question. Heck, I'd just like to know that the money is there.
- Super cheap car insurance. I mean the kind that garners a girl big savings for driving no more than a certain amount of miles. Driving a car less often should lead to the cost effective trifecta of less wear/maintenance/repair, lower fuel costs, and lower insurance costs. A few American companies offer this type of pay-as-you-drive insurance.
- Accessories. Women need to know that there are myriad ways to transport goods by bike that don't require them to schlep anything on their backs or shoulders making them arrive sore or funky at their destination. They also need to know about all the different cargo bikes, seats, and trailers that enable one to transport kids by bike safely.
- Facilities. Staying fresh shouldn't be a problem when one has the proper basket, panniers, trailer, etc. to transport items or little people while riding slowly. However, some of us do live in some pretty warm and sultry climates so there are certainly a lot of women who deserve the extra security of having a place to clean up at work. At the very least, gyms across the country should be offering their facilities to cyclists at special rates, like this. It's just good business.