The title of this post is not quite accurate as you don't need to be a babe (or a female for that matter) to be harassed whilst on your bike. But it takes a wanker to harass people on the street. I take my bike everywhere I go, no matter what I'm wearing and gosh, do I have a numerous stories about people holling at me from the passenger seats or even stopping on red light to ask me how much would it be. For what, asshole, FOR WHAT?! is my usual loud answer to which they generally have nothing left to say. Street harassement, especially towards women, has finally become widely recognised and debated issue. Dawn Foster, female cyclist, sick of the unwanted attention has set up a blog 101 Wankers where she pins down places on the map where the incidents happened. My friend Julia and her friends have also started blog Hollaback London with motto "If you can't slap them, snap them!" where girls are encouraged to take photos of drivers and their registration plates and openly ridicule them on internet and calling up their companies (more often than not, the attackers would be van drivers) to complain. If you have a story to share, send it to Julia, I did too and it was very liberating experience.
While on the feminist note, there's an interesting article in Guardian online about the all-male British version of Tour de France - Tour of Britain - looking for a women cyclist to (wait for it) become their podium girls! Alas, it seems that the only way a female cyclist can make her way to this contest is to stand on the podium, looking pretty and kiss the winner. As the tour manager says: "Their role is not to stand there and look pretty by any means; they are there to coordinate the activity that goes on. They will be bringing our VIP dignitaries on the stage, handing the trophies to them to hand to the cyclists, they help the riders to put the presentation jerseys on." Now, that's something that requires a serious skills. What's most depressing is that some female riders go along with it like when Claire Pedrono, winner of Tour Britanny was given the honour of holding the chalkboard with the information on racer's times. Sad.