North Shore observations - women without helmets on utility bikes

Over the last 2 days I have seen 8 young women with long hair riding utility bikes with no helmets.

This has been on the Northern beaches, and Crows nest / StLeonards

Seems like a movement is starting on.

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Good stuff, seeing more and more in Surry Hills and CBD. I've been leading by example on my daily commute and ride around the eastern suburbs/beaches on the weekends! 

Its great to see! Manly has always been thus, part of the laid back surfy culture perhaps as much as the police realising they can be doing more useful things and turning a blind eye. There's also a great selection of affordable and pretty utility bikes being offered in the Manly Cruiser Shop which must be helping. It was hard to find any utility bikes in Manly until fairly recently despite having 6 bike stores in the area.

Also noticed an increase around Surry Hills recently despite police still organising the occasional sting on Taylor Square and not shy about pulling people over on the Bourke Street cycle path. 

Manly Cycles has always been a kind-of cruiser/utility specialist-ish (while always selling MTBs and Road bikes). They used to only have what is now the Cruiser shop until a few years ago.

Saying that, most of the utility bikes I see around seem to be the ~$250 Reid and XDS lady's bikes and cheapo single speeds from wherever for blokes (if you count them as utility?).

An acquaintance who works at a bike shop says they often have women come in who have bought one of the aforementioned too highly geared, albeit cheap, anchor weights asking about bikes which are easier to ride up hills (i.e. Trek Allant, basically). Surely there must be a market for lighter lower/wider geared utility bikes?

That's my gripe about most of the utility/upright bikes for sale - not the weight but the gearing. The assumption seems to be that they're for flat places, but that doesn't hold for Sydney.

Too right. I think they are just copying the dutch/european spec line for line, right down to the gearing.

I rode the boris bikes in Belgium recently, and while they did have a selection of gears, (from memory 5 speed gripshift) the gears were fairly tall. Especially for a 20kg bike.

Same gearing on a townbike  in Sydney would be unworkable.

You can always put a motor on it (and turn it into a moped) \s

Paul, that looks the exception that proves the rule. With the lowest gear at 22-30 it should be low enough for just about everything.

But the front suspension and wacky spoke pattern - what's going on there?

The Reid ones are fairly low geared - Mrs Blue manages to get up most hills OK with hers (after a bit of getting used to it).

BTW, utility bike? I prefer City Bike!

As for the no helmets thing, I got caught on Wednesday on a City Bike (My usual ride had a flat, and I feel a pillock riding a 1960's Raleigh City bike with a helmet) and the cops were waiting at the end of Wilson Street near Redfern.

Despite my answer to the question "Do you know why we've stopped you today?" being "Is it because there's no other crime going on?" I was asked if it was my first time being caught, I said yes, and I was let off with a warning (they took down my details though).

Great answer to the cop's question, will remember that for my next run in! I once made the stupid mistake of answering the 'is this the first time you've been stopped for not complying with the helmet law' question with a 'no I've been cautioned a few times'. First ticket promptly followed. I blame the early hour and lack of caffeination for my lack of mental acuity in that instance.

My ladyfriend bought herself a Globe Daily 2 from Cruiser shop at the weekend for $500. Seemed very well priced when shopping around online. It looks great, seems to have a decent enough drive train (7 speed Acera) and she absolutely loves it though admittedly not tried it on any hills yet.

Interesting that Specialized now seem to be chasing the utility market.

I'd be surprised if it passed the Sydney Rd While Seated test.

42t single chain ring, sigh - IMHO, example of what Colin wrote. IMHO, utility bikes need 22/34 to be of proper utility in the Northern Beaches. 22/34 seems to be X + 1 where X = may as well get off and push. It certainly passes the Griffin Rd (Dee Why) Seated (because a toddler is in the way of standing) While Loaded With Toddler and a Rear Rack Full of Stuff test.

The Urban Goddesses have crossed the SHB!


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