Why do all the bike jokes feature male cyclists?

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So funny. I liked it. I almost shared it.

But why, why, why do all the cyclist jokes and memes feature male cyclists and their female spouses?

Here’s one of my favourites.

Her Diary:

Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn’t flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn’t say much. I asked him what was wrong; He said, “Nothing I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn’t upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smailed slightly, and kept driving. I can’t explain his behavior – I don’t know why he didn’t say, “I love you, too.” When we got home, I felt as I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep – I cried. I don’t know what to do. I’m almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.

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His Diary:

There’s this creaking on my bike that sounds like it’s coming from the bottom bracket … can’t figure out why.

And then there’s this one,

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I think in the new year  I might start redoing these with same sex couples and with female cyclists for those of us who love the humour and hate the gender roles.

Sometimes it would be so easy to fix. I love this column/blog post by Eldon Nelson, How to Justify Your Next Bike.

It’s so funny. Go read it. It starts off on the right foot with no assumption that the cyclist is male.

“We cyclists are simple folk. We don’t need much to keep us happy. Really, all we need are clear skies and a road or trail to make us happy…

Oh, and we need bikes. More specifically, we need another bike. Always. And that means we need to pay for another bike.

Now, it’s not the paying per se that’s difficult. We can always find a way to get the money we need for bike stuff — take a second job, sell a kidney, money laundering, whatever.”

But then BAM, unnecessary gender roles and heteronormativity .

He writes, “What’s difficult is justifying the expense of yet another bicycle, whether it be to our wives, our parents, or to our own nagging conscience.”

How hard would it be to add “husbands” or go for the gender neutral “spouses”?

What are some other examples of gendered bike humour? Do you know any jokes that get it right?

About Sam B

Philosopher, feminist, parent, and cyclist!

4 thoughts on “Why do all the bike jokes feature male cyclists?

  1. caitlinburke says:

    Note that in all the examples above, the major theme doesn’t really have anything to do with bikes. It’s “I can’t have a clear, simple conversation about values with the person I am supposedly intimate with,” so they’re pretty vile just on their face. That’s the standard “men are like THIS and women are like THAT hurr durr” lowest common denominator of humor.

    Women get criticized for buying bicycles, too, of course, albeit with some gendered accents. Men might seek to escape household chores with long road rides and fussing over expensive bikes, but that definitely won’t work if women are buying bikes and going on rides themselves!

    http://www.roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com/illustratedpolicenews/

    That said, I’ve been riding for a long time, and I can’t think of a time a man took me to task for spending money on bicycles. (It helps that I’ve never been financially dependent on a man. Truly.) I think there is a genuine difference in communication styles between people who buy into the idea that an expensive hobby is childish and somehow shameful vs those who just don’t, and I think men who like to spend money on hobbies enjoy the license they feel around women who also like to do that. So those jokes can’t get the same toehold.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emily says:

    When the roses one scrolled past on my Facebook feed I interpreted it totally differently I read it as her having walked into the room with her eyes shut expecting a good surprise gift ( a new bike ) and about to realise it was a stereotypical romantic surprise gift (too many roses).
    Although I guess that would be “he’s bought ME a new bike”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Julia says:

    One of my favourites is: “My biggest fear is that when I die, my wife will sell my bicycles for what I told her they cost.”
    Gendered it is. We could change ‘wife’ to spouse, but then we end up with the unwieldy ‘him/her/they’. We could reverse the ‘wife’ to ‘husband’. But yes, there is a presumption that men will spend more on bikes. In fact, that IS true in my own marriage. Of the ten bikes in our garage, 2 and a half are mine. (We have a tandem.)

    Liked by 1 person

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