I was watching video of Le Tour on YouTube, and I got bored and started looking for videos of pro women's races, and then I got distracted by a shiny marketing video for a popular road bike, and then somehow my ADD and YouTube's suggestions led me to this video, produced by Trek USA. My first thought was <3 Frank Schleck! My second thought was, who is this Mandy-beast who is going to "take on" FS? This is going to be awesome!
- There's no race.
- Did Trek purposefully gender their e-bike campaign toward women?
- There's no race!
I'm not hating on Mandy. She looks competent and able on her bike, and although I might add a helmet to that riding outfit, I say more power to her.
With this video, Trek says to me, "Look at this cyclist. He is a man. Look at his bicycle. He is fast, he has achieved in his field, he has a reputation. Look at him train with dedication. Look at his helmet, his spandex, and his shoes. This is what a professional, respectable cyclist looks like."
This video also says to me, "Hey women, you do not fit the above image of a cyclist. But don't worry. We made a special bicycle to help you get your groceries."
E-bikes are often seen as being for people that do not have the strength to ride unassisted. This marketing video seems to want to "normalize" the e-bike. "You're no Schleck! It's okay, ride an e-bike!" The subtext is expanding the definition of "cyclist" to include people that ride bikes for errands, don't wear lycra, ride platform pedals, and... women. I think Trek couldn't put a young, fit, man with a cycling body on that e-bike because who would believe that a young, fit, male would ride anything but a road bike?
The video also says that the e-bike is made for "us mere mortals," implying that Schleck is a god. I'm not going to dispute the fact that Frankie Fast-Pants isn't awesome, but I dislike the woman shown as his inferior based soley on the image of the "weaker" sex on the "lesser" bike... I mean, if there was a race and Frank crushed Mandy that would be one thing. Just showing them riding together and implying she's not a good rider is another thing.
What do you think? Does this video rub you the wrong way?