Oh CycleGear…

Oh CycleGear, your catalogue drives me crazy every month, and not always with amazing deals on great moto gear. Sometimes, I am struck with the subtle derogatory, dismissive attitude towards female motorcyclists.

CycleGear September 2015 catalog

It appears that your target market is entry-level riders. Your house brands are inexpensive and low quality, but a riding boot that will only survive one crash or six months of normal wear is better than no riding boot at all. Riding is an expensive hobby, and I appreciate that you provide an affordable means for new riders to get some basic safety gear so they can try it out without having to break the bank or go unprotected in those dangerous first few months on the bike. Did you know that the fastest growing demographic in motorcycling is women? I assume so, but your catalog really rubs me the wrong way, and that is not the effect you want to have.

You often promote your women’s section on the cover of your magazine, and yes it is great that you sell women’s riding gear. Your house riding gear brands (Bilt and Sedici) have a pretty good selection for women and girls. It is not¬†great that women appear on six of the forty pages in your catalog where riding gear is advertised, in the four page “women’s” section, all of which is pink, black and white, and there are two other pictures of women – one modeling a helmet, and one modeling FreezeOut cold weather base layers. I’m including the FreezeOut image here :

CycleGear FreezeOut Ad, page 27 of September 2015 catalog

WTF? At face value, you could interpret this as saying “Hey riders, we sell warm winter riding base layers! They will keep you warm and dry, just like these models.” Or, you could read the subtext of this ad and hear it say “Hey guys, heat up your ride with winter’s best accessory, a hot blonde model. 80% off!” This just reeks of the leering macho boys club BS* that scares women away from riding, and it has no place in a catalog. What were the advertisers thinking? Whatever it was, they were mistaken. Boo, CycleGear. For shame.

* Disclaimer: None of the guys that I ride regularly with have this attitude. That is why I ride with them.

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