This morning's commute (the 'ugh' edition)

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  • PROOF. That south London is more civilised. Probably.

  • Just now wondering if any ladies on here get much / any remarks / harassment / abuse?
    Had this guy the other day properly lurching over a lady on Vauxhall Bridge Rd - awkward.

  • When I first started cycling in London I'd get this white van signal at me every once in a while. I used to think there must be someone I know in it saying hi. So naive eh!

  • i started this thread because it was a daily occurrence and i knew it happened to other ladies as well. i don't wear particularly revealing or saucy clothes, i don't bat my eyelashes at men in ven or titter at their disgusting remarks (nb - absolutely no excuse at all for their behaviour, but some people have this awfully shortsighted opinion that women somehow "ask for it" where "it" is any kind of gross remark/behaviour) - i am a bog standard girl in jeans and a jumper waiting at the lights. i just wanted to ride my bike. but my commute was always, always subject to this input.

    i've had a lot of time off the bike, but last week i rode from home to the train station for the first time in a few months. i got (i kid you not!) fifty metres and i got a wolf whistle from some builders.

    weird observation - it NEVER happens on the brompton. only on traditional looking bikes. maybe the brompton looks dowdy?!

  • Well that sucks. Can't stand this sort of behaviour.
    Contemplates social cleansing

  • I did get wolf whisteled for the first time the other day and did find it kinda creepy - group of builders. But then realised later on I wasn't wearing any socks so - asking for it wasnt I?

    "ask for it" where "it" is any kind of gross remark/behaviour)

    I hope things are changing / updating. progress always slow it seems.

  • It's not really their harassment, but the mindset behind it that bothers me. Many many men see women as objects of pleasure. Many think it but not act on it. Some would not admit it in public. Some might be people you actually know. It scares me.
    And I'm quite sceptical about change because literature, the visual arts and entertainment are still full of male gaze giving us the wrong sense of normality. We're just raising another generation of pigs.

  • The chills is right, it's horrible to witness it happen. We might all disrupt it happening when possible. I mock letched at some harasser guys in a pointedly 'I don't mean this' face again the other day, not always clever if you're a scaredy cat like me.

    weird observation - it NEVER happens on the brompton. only on traditional looking bikes.

    So peculiar!

    I agree wih that piece Oliver linked to in the ES suggests, this feels like it should be properly addressed as hate crime like 'minority' target harrassment can be. So that police would be forced to respond 'this is a crime' rather than something utterly bleak like 'just enjoy it luv'.

  • Resurrecting this thread to say that, despite moving outside of London (ish) and pretty much dropping out of cycling, one of the first times I've ridden properly recently I got about fifteen seconds from my front door and a man in van actually slowed down to give him enough time to wind down his window and pass comment on me. I almost just went home again out of sheer exasperation. I pretended not to hear him

  • Hope that hasn't put you off going out on the bike again.

  • Months ago I got a ‘smile, love’ from two lorry drivers who I’d patiently waited for while they manoeuvred in the road ahead of me. I knew which site they were working on so I tracked down the Chief Exec of the lead contractor and complained directly. They took it seriously, said they’d put the firm the drivers worked for on notice, and called me to apologise. No punchline, and doesn’t really change very much, but was so nice for once to be taken seriously for once - pathetically that was all I wanted: someone to recognise that the behaviour was unacceptable. More companies doing that might start to chip away at the social acceptability of it.

  • i'm really glad you had this experience. i've accepted that a lot of grassroots or bottom-up change on this comes from people's social groups shifting to it "not being a thing that we do/is acceptable" and peer-level dynamics so (once again) it's down to men to say "yo that's not cool." (as well as other impacts) if the perpetrator won't listen to the person he's catcalling. i'm talking broad strokes and i know it's a complex social issue with many factors and everyone's experience is difference yadda yadda but i'm also super pleased for you that someone got the consequences of what they did for once.

    i now live on the hertfordshire/london border and it STILL happens to me almost every time i go outside on a bike. it is absolutely bananas, i want to complain that it's an anti-pattern. i don't look like a Classic Woman TM, i am nonbinary, have shortish hair, a lot of tattoos, fairly chunky. i would seriously struggle to believe that i'm everyone's aesthetic cup of tea. catcalling is not about sexuality, it's about power, and usually singling out women or people who look a bit different. tiresome. @cafewanda it doesn't stop me wanting to get out on the bike thankfully, but it's something i think about. one of these extra mental bags i carry around that i wish i didn't have to be aware of. i just want to ride my bikes!

  • i did a talk at SPIN LDN a few years ago for hollaback , i can see if i still have the slides if anyone wants a refresher on "helpful and supportive things to do if you are sexually harassed while cycling"

  • Thank you. On one level I felt sad that I had to appeal to another man with more power to do anything, but as you say chipping away at social norms means harnessing other people in the system. And I’m sorry your experiences are consistently so horrible, it sounds exhausting.

  • Morning all, this thread, makes for tough reading and am sorry that you have to endure this. The aggressive sexist comments, behaviour of men behind the wheel or walking by, Both my daughters cycle around London and have suffered harassment in recent years.

    If you are ever in a situation with a driver of a trade van. I strongly recommend you report them to their MD or CEO.

    Or even better if vehicle is contracted to a building site report it to the Principal Contractor as KT_Bee has done. The bigger Construction firms are more inclined to act. This action also from idiots who wolf whistle or behave like morons from building sites. Go find the Site Manager (his number will be on the site entrance notice board) and report them. Let the site manager know that you can reach his boss at HQ.

    I work in the building industry if you need help ping me. Even if it brings a site based tool box talk around public engagement. At least the message comes from within.

    Site rules generally dictate that this behaviour or harassment is unacceptable, site operatives can even be removed from site indefinitely if they repeat an offence.

    It won’t solve all the street level aggro, but I hope this helps.

  • There's a female friend of mine who I occasionally pass on my way to work, and I'll give her a slightly sarcastic sounding 'Oi Oi!' as I pass, in a manly laddy type of way. I sincerely hope that no-one in earshot thinks I'm doing it seriously...

    Otherwise, I'm entirely sympathetic to every story I'm reading in here. It's tricky enough being a cyclist, and a woman, let alone trying to do them both together. I'll always do my best to call out anyone who I hear giving anyone shit from their vans (if I can catch up with them, of course. Which I usually can't).

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This morning's commute (the 'ugh' edition)

Posted by Avatar for ioreka @ioreka