With the growing popularity of cycling amongst the women, the spotlight has been turned on local bike shops, and their efforts- or lack thereof – to be female friendly.
Not too long ago, the average bike shop would have a largely male dominated layout with the ever so small and limited women’s selection tucked away in the gloomy corner – or in a cardboard box behind the counter from my experience!
But times are changing, however slowly, and local bike shops and brands are realising the potential in our loud minority. The days of trawling through the kid’s section for small enough jerseys, and sifting through the dark recesses of a store for those bib shorts are soon to be a memory.
Commonly, a bike shop is a beginners first port of call for seeking hands-on advice and assistance for beginning a life on two wheels. However, many bike shops have developed a social stigma for being nothing more than a boys club, making it a somewhat intimidating environment for newcomers who have novice, and delicate questions.
Launched in October 2015 by professional cyclist Marianne Vos and her dedicated team of ambassadors, Strongher sets out to promote, encourage and support women in riding. Earlier this year Strongher launched a campaign to recognise “female friendly” bike shops by checking them against their Shero guidelines. If a store meets the requirements, they are added to a worldwide Strongher database, and provided with a stamp of approval from the women’s cycling organisation.
As a Strongher Ambassador myself, and after assessing local bike store, Alf Jones Cycles, I went along to award them with their seal of approval. But what exactly makes a female friendly store?