It's a sad story that we've all encountered in one way or another. In this short but powerful video clip, Lea shares her experience going to a bike shop and struggling to get the product she wants.
Some will see this clip and think that the employee at the bike shop probably had good intentions, perhaps he was simply trying to be a good guy and save her money. Though that may be, the way I see it, the problem is twofold.
He used external cues to guide his judgement of what her needs were rather than listening to her needs and engaging in a conversation about them and getting a better idea of her riding type, budget, goals, all those good things that matter.
His default reaction was to bring out a pair of shoes that were "lesser than" rather "greater than"; his default was to limit her ability rather than overestimate her ability. Ask yourself, had a guy in sports gear, cycling tan lines and shaved legs come in, would the employee have also brought out a inferior product or might the employee even have tried to upsell and bring out more high end pair? Far too often, our knee jerk reaction is to create limits around women for the simple reason that they are women. There seems to be somewhat of an established category and this category is perceived to be inherently limited, and IMHO therein lies the problem.
So what can we do about it?
Talk about it - RAWR isn't about ranting, it's about not being afraid to speak up and raise awareness about the flaws in our cycling culture that may, unintentionally, place limits on women in the sport. End of the day, Lea got the shoes she wanted but consider that a lot of women new to the sport won't put their foot down (light pun intended) the way Lea did.
Ask about it - Not sure what someone's ability or skill level is? Ask them! Or better yet, ask them about their goals and cater their product needs to where they're going instead of how you see them.
Act on it - The more we practice overestimating women, the more women will overestimate themselves and achieve more than we all thought was possible. It's as simple as that.
As always, please reach out with any feedback, thoughts, comments, or ideas!