Last week, Momentum Magazine shared a photo Beyonce had posted of herself on a bicycle, and many readers dismissed the photo, claiming Beyonce didn't represent "real women riders."  Momentum, to their credit, held their ground with a thoughtful explanation, and the whole thing got us thinking: what IS a "real" woman rider?

We at Brooklyn Bicycle Co. have been lucky enough to put lots of great women on city bikes over the past few years--bloggers, activists, entrepreneurs, and more--and we wanted to share the conclusion we've come to: any woman who rides a bicycle is a real woman rider.

And here are a few of our favorite ladies--real women riders--on their city bikes. Enjoy!

Real Woman Rider: Brittany | Design and craft blog The House That Lars Built | Provo, Utah

The House That Lars Built

"I moved to Provo from Copenhagen, Denmark, a bicycle capital. I rode my bike in rain, sun, snow. Though I ride less here because it’s not as equipped for bicyclists, I do take work breaks around town on my 7-speed bike. My husband and I go on dates on our bikes and it’s been a wonderful way to see neighbors out and about."

Real Woman Rider: Kristie Holt | Dallas bike activist & Local Hub Bicycle Co. shop owner | Dallas, TX

Local Hub

"On a personal level, riding a bike can change your life. Not only is it super fun to feel the freedom a bicycle brings, but it promotes a healthy lifestyle...[and]...it’s ok to be new at biking...we’re here to help. We can still remember the first time we stepped into a bike shop and how intimidating that can be. No question is a bad question; pretty sure we’ve all asked the same thing at least once before."

Real Woman Rider: Anna Maria | Women's Cycling blog Pretty Damned Fast | Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn Bicycle Co. Wythe

"I really think commuting by bike is one of the most awesome, empowering things a person can do."

Real Woman Rider: Erin | Life & style blog calivintage | Los Angeles, CA

CaliVintage

"Owning a bike has meant a lot of different things to me throughout the years. Back when I was younger, it was my primary means of transportation and it’s how I did everything – from grocery shopping to visiting friends to riding around town just for fun. Later, I started going on longer day rides and even touring for weeks at a time across the state. [...] And now, riding around town on my bike is a really fun alternative to driving a car. [...] It also turns out biking is one of the best things to do in Redlands, CA if you’re interested in meeting people–it’s a sort of conversation piece."

So you see?  All these ladies have different relationships with their city bikes, ride differing amounts and for different reasons, but all have real, valid experiences. If we as a community want more women to ride--and we do!--the way to do it is by welcoming and accepting all riders, not just those who bike a certain number of miles a week or who can name all the parts on their bikes.

Making women feel less than because they bike only around town, or because they bike in stylish outfits--or because they DON'T--doesn't broaden or strengthen the biking community.  Even though it might feel like excluding others is a unifying experience, it's not a healthy one, and our industry--and the communities we affect--won't benefit.

Want to see more ladies on city bikes? Check out our instagram, where we regram a lot of our riders, and our "Ladies Who Ride" pinterest board! Have things to say about this issue? Leave us a comment or tweet at us!


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WANT TO KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING IN BROOKLYN?

What Are the Differences Between the Franklin and Willow Step-through Models?

Looking at the Franklin and Willow, but not quite sure how the models compare? No worries – we get this question a lot, so we’ve put together a quick rundown on what sets these models apart!

 

#TLDR (AKA Too Long Didn't Read)? Here's a Quick Summary:

 SIMILARITIES DIFFERENCES
FRAME GEOMETRY HANDLEBARS
COLOR-MATCHED FENDERS & CHAINGUARD SADDLE
3-SPEED INTERNAL GEARING GRIPS
KICKSTAND INCLUDED TIRE COLOR
REAR CARRIER
CHAIN COATING
7-SPEED GEARING
FRAME MATERIALS

 

 

1. HANDLEBARS

This is probably the most notable difference between our step-through models. With the Willow featuring our Swept-Back Handlebars. This means a much more upright (European-style) riding position (think sitting in a chair) that is well suited for leisurely riding.

The Franklin models feature our Relaxed Ride Handlebars, which are slightly more aggressive and ideal for both commuting and leisurely weekend rides.

 

2. TIRES

The Willow comes with cream tires, whereas the Franklin sports black tires. Do note that regardless of color, all our tires offer an added layer of puncture resistance.

 

3. ACCESSORIES

The Willow is our premium model and includes a rear carrier, as well as an upgraded sprung saddle and grip set from Selle Royal’s Royalgel™ line.

The Franklin features Selle Royal Vegan Leather saddle and grips. Please note that this bike does not come with a rear carrier. If you would like to purchase a rear carrier for this model, you will need a 26” carrier for the S/M Franklin and a 700C carrier for the Large Franklin model.

Both models come with color matched fenders and chainguard, as well as a kickstand.

 

4. RUST-PROHIBITIVE COATING & GEARING

As our signature model, the Willow has a few additional premium features including a rust-prohibitive coating on the chain and internal gearing resulting in less maintenance and more riding.

The Franklin 3 model includes internal gearing (just like the Willow), whereas the Franklin 7 has an external 7-Speed derailleur.

 

5. FRAME MATERIALS

On a more technical note – the geometry on both frames is identical, however the Franklin and Willow models are made from different materials. Are you currently thinking “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?! I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT BIKES!!”? Do not fret – we totally get it! Take a breath and read on…

The Willow frame is made with double-butted 4130 Chromoly Steel. We use a stronger grade of steel, which allows us to use thinner tubing resulting in a lighter frame.

The Franklin frame is crafted with specially engineered high-tensile steel. What does this mean? We are able to offer a similar bike of a more moderate price point. Our Franklin model is the most economical step-through model in our portfolio of bikes (as well as a team favorite)!

Still have questions on sizing (or anything else)? Email us or schedule a concierge call with our team. We’d love to help!

 

Don’t forget: All of our bikes include Free Shipping & Professional Assembly.

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