Cycling is a sport enjoyed by people of all genders, but it's no secret that the industry has long been geared towards men. From bike design to marketing and cycling apparel, the needs and preferences of male cyclists have been prioritized, leaving women with limited options. One of the most obvious examples of this is in the realm of cycling apparel, where women's options have traditionally been limited to the “Pink it and Shrink It”.
The "pink it and shrink it” approach refers to the practice of taking men's cycling apparel and simply making it larger or smaller and in pink or other traditionally "feminine" colors to appeal to women cyclists. This approach not only limits the options available to women, but it also fails to take into account the unique needs and preferences of female cyclists.
One of the main issues with this approach is that women's bodies are not simply smaller versions of men's bodies. Women have different proportions and curves, therefore requiring different cuts and fits in order to be comfortable and perform at their best on the bike. For example, women typically have a shorter torso and longer legs than men, which means that a women's specific jersey should be shorter in the front and longer in the back to accommodate this difference.
Another issue with the "pink it and shrink it" approach is that it reinforces gender stereotypes and reinforces the idea that women are not serious athletes. By only offering women's cycling apparel in pink and other traditionally "feminine" colors, the industry is sending the message that women's cycling is not to be taken seriously. I mean, women do love pink as much as men, but we also love many other colors as well. Our accomplishments matter.
Cycling Out Loud was founded specifically to solve for this issue. All of our cycling skinsuits are designed with women in mind, creating custom cuts and measurements to fit the modern woman with curves. We were founded on the principle that women want and deserve cycling apparel designed to fit their unique body needs. Women want to look good and feel feminine without compromising comfort and breaking the bank. These things are not mutually exclusive when cycling.
In conclusion, cycling is a sport that should be enjoyed by people of all genders, but the industry has long been geared towards men. The "pink it and shrink it" approach to women's cycling apparel not only limits the options available to women but also reinforces gender stereotypes. However, it's good to see that things are changing and companies are recognizing the need for women's specific cycling apparel, with different cuts and fits, and a wider range of colors and styles that are not limited to traditional gender stereotypes.