When we think about where women fit in the world, our history—the history of mankind, that is—isn’t good. Scanning back through the last 1000 years, we have denied women the right to own property, the right to vote, the right to work, the right to have a voice, even the right to be considered people. After all, there once was a time when women, like slaves, were the property of their husbands. Simply controlling their reproductive destiny is currently under fire. Generally speaking, we have evolved a lot, but if this were an elementary school report card, the fact that Saudi women can’t drive would merit the comment, “Needs improvement.”

Unfortunately, the cesspool that can be the world of Internet comments has provided a haven for some of the most vile male urges out there. I’m thinking specifically of GamerGate, for starters. For those not familiar with this crisis of civility, a cadre of trolls went after a handful of women in the video game world. You can find a crib sheet over at Wikipedia. What started as uncivil disses of women quickly escalated to threats up to and including rape and murder. And then the doxing started; doxing someone is digging up their personal info, such as address, driver’s license number and even credit card info and posting it online. It enables identity theft, which is bad enough, but worse, it means that anyone threatening to rape or kill someone now has the means to track down their target.

Women were forced from their homes.

On Sunday, Pinkbike contributor Amanda Batty, best known as a pro downhill racer, announced she was parting ways with the ultra-popular site. Sites lose contributors all the time for all sorts of reasons, but what Batty says is that she was forced out for pushing back not just against misogynistic comments, but also for criticizing sexist writing within the site. What she points out is that just as Western culture is beginning to come to grips with our sometimes awful treatment of women, it’s important to keep our hands to the fire and shows anything that condones or promotes a permissive attitude toward violence against women. Like the women of GamerGate, some Pinkbike readers went so far as to harass her at home.

Batty didn’t share with me the exact threats she received, but they did include rape and murder; one troll went far enough to get the police involved and he is being prosecuted.

Here, I must digress and reference Jon Krakauer’s new book Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town. He notes that rape is the only crime where the accuser is routinely presumed to be lying rather than telling the truth. My reason in bringing this up is that our evolution as a species is incomplete until we begin to reform attitudes toward rape and how women are treated when they report a rape. It’s a crime that can alter a life trajectory. 

When my sister confessed to me over the phone that she had been raped, she cried with such a force that I could feel the tear in her soul. One former girlfriend is an incest survivor, while another suffered date rape. I never got past being friends with the girl I was sweet on in junior high because she was raped by her neighbor. We went to the movies, but we never held hands, never kissed. If you bother to listen to women’s stories, you’ll learn that sexual violence is a pervasive crime.

Part of the difficulty for Batty was being silenced for taking issue with this line, written by one of the editors: “it will, much like your girlfriend after a few shots, do pretty much anything you ask of it.” Pinkbike later amended the line to include “(or boyfriend)” but that did little to address the underlying concern.

That’s not a comparison I’d make, but I’ll defend to my last the site’s right to publish that work. That’s basic First Amendment stuff. Of course, Batty wouldn’t have felt the need to speak up if the editor(s) working with her had shown more sensitivity to the problems she raised behind the scenes. In ignoring her criticism, she was left with little choice but to speak out publicly.

Reading through the 300-odd comments you can see that a number of readers celebrated the line, though, to be fair, a few did observe that it was a less-than-stellar comparison.

It’s probably best to let Batty speak for herself here. Here’s one of her responses:

You know, I generally tend to agree with that sentiment (people are just too f*cking sensitive), but on Pinkbike, from a PB staff writer, misogyny has no place. Jokes are fine, but these sorts of ‘jokes’ aren’t funny — for anyone. They not only objectify women in general, but they create an atmosphere of ownership and entitlement inside of the bike culture, which is the very thing all of us are trying to fight right now, simply to be seen as equal. It’s not just ‘taking a joke’ — it’s about allowing the perpetuation of a rape culture inside of the bike industry.

Go back up and read the line. Is it necessary to making his point? Is I funny? Does it add value to any member of the bike community? Does it reflect positively on how we see the women and girlfriends inside of our sport, or is it a generalization about how all the girlfriends of the men on this website act after a few shots?

For me, I really pray that this bike doesn’t act like a couple of MY girl friends after a few shots — that would be creepy. They get all weepy and sad and then they throw things. Or me, where I wander the bar and hug strangers.

She deserves credit for keeping her sense of humor while demonstrating just how troubling the comment was; too often, those protesting permissive attitudes toward rape seem shrill and humorless, which gives the trolls another way to dismiss them. It’s impossible to claim that Batty can’t take a joke. One commenter accused her of being psychotic and defaming the writer’s character. And while other commenters defended and supported her, there were plenty of truly idiotic comments. She went on to explain:

Rape culture is perpetuated by the fact that Mike Levy implied that anyone capitalizing on a girlfriend being drunk to do ‘whatever you want’ is okay. I’m sorry, but that IS perpetuating rape culture.

Calling a woman psychotic when she stands up to a nonchalant treatment of date rape is something that no community should tolerate, ever. And for a publisher to refuse to push back against such comments just enables, emboldens those trolls. I have no doubt that they wouldn’t tolerate a commenter using the N-word, or threatening gay riders with any variety of violence, so why would they allow readers to abuse one of their contributors?

I should clarify that I like Pinkbike (Levy’s review is terrific, otherwise) and count myself fortunate to call Richard Cunningham a friend. But Batty is right about that being an inappropriate joke. As Ellen Degeneres has said, a joke is only a joke if everyone is laughing. Allowing sexist comments and writing creates a chilly atmosphere for women, so while some may be laughing, unless everyone in the room is laughing, the joke failed.

Batty’s post has sent shock waves through the industry. I’ve communicated with several women who were dismayed to learn of her treatment by both the readers and by the staff at Pinkbike. One woman who holds a fairly prominent position with a popular bike company told me on condition of anonymity:

Many women in the industry have been following this since the day it was posted. Of the women I spoke to, not one of them was comfortable sharing it publicly, citing professional ramifications as the reason why—everyone worried about blowback … and still, Amanda was doxed—it is terrifying and it sucks that we have to choose between standing up for her and maintaining our professional relationships.

There’s a legitimate fear among women that in speaking out about this they will be doxed, blackballed by potential employers and perhaps experience retaliation from Pinkbike. God forbid you should criticize them and then find that suddenly they don’t like your bikes anymore, or that sales of your downhill bike drop off because you’ve suggested that riders should behave like men, not boys.

If women can’t speak out for fear of retaliation, then it falls to men to stand up for what’s right.

I’m going to confess something. I’ve often wondered why Greg LeMond couldn’t bite his lip when his company was at stake. The way I did the math, there wasn’t much use in being right if your company and the means to support you family went up like a match on black powder. In my head, I framed the question in terms of crossing the street. You’ve got the light and the crossing signal, but there’s an 18-wheeler barreling toward the intersection. You can either jump out of the way or insist on crossing because it is your legal right and the truck ought to stop. Being right won’t help if you’re dead. But to me, this is such an elemental example of right and wrong that if I don’t stand up on behalf of women I respect and admire, what kind of example will I be setting for my sons? I write this with full awareness that I’m drawing the crosshairs to me, but if I don’t speak out, I’m part of the dilemma because violence against women thrives in silence. Maybe this is how LeMond felt.

If you want to joke about coercing women into sex, that’s your right, but you should expect to be called out for it. Using alcohol to get women too drunk to say no is finally being recognized for the crisis it is and an ever-present threat that universities are only now beginning to address. Left unchecked, rape is a cancer in a community. Our attitudes about women need to mature and there’s no better place to be part of the change than here in cycling. Women often complain that they feel unwelcome in the bike world, and the moment we recognize that they are rad, make the world a more diverse and interesting place and are fun to ride with, we will all be better off.

Frankly, I’m going to ask Batty if she wants to write for us.


Image: YouTube

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    1. Jackie Gammon

      Thank you for sharing this very important article! I’m also glad to hear that Amanda has had the courage to step away from PINKBIKE! I know that I am in the minority, but personally I’ve never liked the site… On the other hand, I hope that Amanda will show her creative talents here and other sites.

      Lastly, thank you to all of you guys that have read and responded to this article. It just goes to show that the 10% crowd does NOT rule! 🙂


  1. B in Minnesota

    Thank you for writing this commentary. For a site that has discussed how to improve the diversity and inclusiveness of the cycling community, it’s important to create an environment where feel welcome and safe. All too often I’ve encountered racist, homophobic, sexist and misogynistic attitudes expressed openly within group rides and races. Public bike tours seem to be less prone to this tendency, probably because there are more women present. I love to recommend RKP to fellow cyclists for its intelligent conversations about cycling. It will be even better to be able to recommend it for taking the moral high ground regarding inclusiveness and civility within the sport we love.
    Well done, and I look forward to reading Batty’s writing in the future.

  2. Mike Terrell

    Padraig, thank you for writing this. As the father of two girls, the thought that they are at risk of being raped and that there is good reason to believe that most people would not believe them if they reported it, fills me with a sense of dread and anger that cannot be adequately described with words. The more often people speak up and speak out, the faster things will change. Those of us with sons (I have one of those as well) have the great responsibility of teaching them to respect women as equals. Actually, while we are at it, we should teach our boys and our girls to give and show respect to all people, regardless of what “the other guy” is saying.

  3. Pat O'Brien

    That’s a good idea, Padraig. I always enjoy reading the different perspectives on cycling in RKP articles.

  4. Marc Lindarets

    Amen, Padraig.

    The whole thing is ugly, but the idea that other women in the industry are afraid to speak up for fear of editorial or professional retribution adds an unexpected layer of ‘not OK.’ It’s time to grow up, guys.

    1. Waldo

      Amen to this ^^^, although Patrick disagreed with me when I brought up this point in response to his FB post on the subject, as he argued that the bike industry is comprised of enlightened men.

  5. Timbo

    Excellent response. As someone who simply considers all people to be people just like me, it’s amazing that we’re still having to deal with this horrific, barbaric behavior in this country in the 21st century. Despite the ability of the internet to amplify trolls’ little voices to deafening levels at times, I do believe that the misogynistic objectifiers are a small minority in the bike world. Thanks to RKP for helping move the debate forward and casting more bright light on ignorance. I look forward to reading Amanda’s words here hopefully in the not too distant future.

  6. John Borstelmann

    Chapeau, Patrick. Men must stand up to misogyny. Too many women have been harmed. We should all be ashamed and act to defend all women.

  7. Cory

    I’d be happy to find her unique perspectives here on RKP as well. It will be interesting to see what she has to say, and in what direction she hopes to see the industry go.

  8. Randall

    Sometimes, there are jokes that we *should* be able to make, but we can’t because of how society is, or how the specific comment will be placed. I’d like to live in a world where everyone was treated so equally and respectfully that we could all read that comment and say “ha ha alcohol does lower inhibitions” without discussions like this coming up. Sadly, gamergate and this example highlight that below our politically correct workplace facade, society still has quite a way to go.

    Oh to dream…

    1. Shawn

      That is _exactly_ how I read the review on PB before any of this blew up: Just another cycling site infomercial, trying to make it more interesting with an insipid shot at a funny.

  9. dusin

    Great piece. Hope she takes up writing somewhere. After reading her piece I thought that both here at Singletracks would be good fits, both have readers who don’t act like a-holes (generally speaking).

    I’ve never been a fan of PinkBike in general. It’s too #EnduroBro #GnarShred #TruckCap cool for me.

    1. AC

      Completely agree re pinkbike.

      It’s admirable of Padraig to offer a writing platform to Batty, but if probably pointless if it’s DH centered, as that crowd will stick with pinkbike where big words are more infrequent and sentences are shorter.

  10. Mike

    Very well said. As a father of a girl and a boy, hearing about rape (or even the threat) makes my blood boil. It is something that should not exist in our society and I applaud you for taking a stand and doing what is right.

  11. Julie

    You know, I observed yesterday that PinkBike’s own “Etiquette” page says this:
    “Zero tolerance on Hate
    Any hate speech or personal attacks will not be tolerated and result in suspension. Any homophobic, misogynistic, sexist, racist or religious hate speech has a ZERO tolerance.”

    And yet – they behaved like THAT. Where is Cunningham’s response to this? Why did they let their writer be persecuted? Will their advertisers “vote their pocketbooks” on this one and take a stand similar to yours?

    Thank you for writing this, thank you for articulating the RIGHTNESS of Amanda’s decision, and thank you for being willing to stand in that intersection. I look forward to reading what Amanda will write for RKP.

  12. Jill, Head Geargal

    None of this should send “shock waves” nor should it even remotely surprise you or anyone else. I’ve been writing about it for years and so have many others. I bet Amanda has too. Did any of you step up to tell any of her harassers to knock it off BEFORE she lost her job? Or did you leave her all alone to deal with it herself? Have you EVER mentioned to an online commenter that his comments are out of line?

    All you guys have seen the smarmy ads, read the comments, seen the booth babes at Interbike for years and years. Did you ignore it then? Think that it was fine to expect female members of the bike industry to grin and bear it when attending the industry’s biggest trade show means putting up with a fraternity-like atmosphere? Surely you’ve noticed the MTB industry is crawling with unpleasant bros (I see this writer, at least, acknowledge it above, of course). You cannot possibly have missed the industry’s sexism.Chances are you have probably even enjoyed it (booth babes! Harmless fun, right?). You’ve probably heard your own friends joking around like that. This isn’t shocking – it’s commonplace. It’s all around us every single day. If you’re shocked, you are a major part of the problem.

    So please, do something about it! Something REAL. You said you like Pinkbike – are you going to stop using it, explain to them why, then stick to it? WIll you write to manufacturers who objectify women to sell bicycles and explain to them that you’re not buying their stuff? Will you refuse to visit Interbike booths that use models to sell bicycles (how simple ARE men, that they’re attracted to a bicycle just by its proximity to a vagina in spandex)? Will you take it even farther and skip Interbike, as I feel I have to, until that behavior is under control and the industry treats all of us with respect? If you hear your friends joking in a sexist or violent way tell them to stop, and consider not being friends with people like that. Your tolerance leads to the environment that Amanda experienced.

    I think Amanda’s best work was this one, in which she explains the very real consequences of utilizing the “sex sells” model. In a nutshell, sex sells, but it sells to awful people and that’s what makes up your industry if you use those tactics.

    Well guys, that’s the bike industry we have now. Are you willing to change it? Please don’t just read this article (or write it) and then forget about it. Think about it every day and start looking for this stuff in your life and taking real action against it.

    1. Jordana Blackman

      Hi Jill, I think you are right here and I applaud you questioning what will be done about this. I posted a comment below prior but wanted to say it would be great to follow Chicks Who Ride Bikes and #dearbikeindustry on Facebook (I searched for your business but couldn’t find it – excuse my technology lackings if it is there). Please feel free to get in touch anytime as I’d love to talk further about this! Jordana Blackman, Chief Chick

    2. PunkassCG

      This. As an industry woman who’s been around for over 10 years, this summarizes the whole situation perfectly. While Amanda’s situation is terrible, and makes me very angry at Pinkbike and Levy (whom I’ve met a few times), it is in no way isolated to this one incident. Sexism in cycling goes all the way too the top. One only has to see the complete lack of response by Brian Cookson and the UCI to the CIRC report, in which numerous accounts of women being sexually and financially abused by team managers, coaches, etc were presented. Even in the face of that news, the male-dominated cycling media had the cheek to suggest that there was nothing shocking in the CIRC report.

      After seeing varying degrees of sexism in the industry for over a decade, with seemingly little desire or effort to change it, I don’t hold much hope that Pinkbike will do any sort of introspection about their handling of the situation. I highly doubt they are motivated to alienate the ugly element of their readership in favor of making it more female friendly, even though any of us with even an ounce of sense know that the key to keeping the sport of cycling alive and well for the future is to get more women involved at every level.

  13. MM

    A frat bro was arguing with his GF in the bar I worked in while in college. She pulled away to leave. He grabbed her, spun her around, and smacked her…hard…in the face.
    I went over the bar and throttled him until I was pulled off.
    I was arrested for assault. Only AFTER about 15 witnesses came forward were my charges dropped, and frat bro was arrested.

    False male pride leads more than a few men to do stupid stuff. The attitude that women are inferior, or can’t do things, whether it be riding a bike (and doing it WELL!), or running a company, is absurd, and needs to die.

  14. Waldo

    This: “That’s not a comparison I’d make, but I’ll defend to my last the site’s right to publish that work. That’s basic First Amendment stuff” is nonsense. First Amendment deals with government abridgement of free speech. The government has nothing to do what’s published and not published on PB.

    1. AC

      Exactly. Pinkbike has every right to publish that work if they so choose. The reason to not publish it has everything to do with good taste, morals, and ethics, not law.

  15. John Rezell

    Change can only come by confronting issues, not avoiding them. Hats off to you and Amanda. With two daughters, I’ve had to explain the ugly reality of male behavior that is still not only present, but in many ways celebrated, so they can be aware. Dismissing such comments as “not that bad” only perpetuates those attitudes.

  16. Author

    Everyone: Thanks for your comments. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. The day is young; I might yet be doxed by the trolls.

    Jill, Head Geargal: I understand your anger and frustration, not to mention your need to vent, but if you feel a need to shame a bunch of people, I’d like you to do that elsewhere. We’ve worked hard to make RKP a place where the conversation is reasonable, civil and hopefully enlightened. In short, our loyal readers don’t deserve your wrath and I’m proud to note that only a handful of people (two, in fact) have ever been banned, so readers here get it. And let me add that I’m aware that there are advertisers who produce some less-than-desirable materials. We’ve been fortunate that no one has ever submitted anything I had to decline. In closing, I’m a guy, which is a way of saying that I’m imperfect and prone to a great many mistakes, but I try to do the right thing.

    1. Christin

      I don’t think Jill was trying to shame RKP readers as much as she was trying to make a point: we should all speak out (more) when we hear or see people acting like jerks / perpetuating inequality / sexism, etc. Telling her to comment elsewhere smacks of the same “don’t be indignant or so damn vocal!” that AB dealt with at PB. Respectfully.

    2. Jim Couch

      Unless the post by Jill, Head Geargal has been edited I don’t really see the shaming. Anger yes, pointed yes indeed. Jill certainly is not pulling any punches here, but I don’t see the post as uncivil. If I feel shamed, well perhaps it is because I should be ashamed. Jill is not calling names or insulting anyone she is pointing out behaviors that we all have witnessed and many of us have been a part of.

      What is being missed in much of the discussion is exactly what Jill has done, a clear call to action! Clear, actionable items that we as an industry – consumers, retailers, producers can do to enact change.

      I for one am on board and say Bravo to Amanda, Jill, Padraig and all those taking a stand!

    3. Liz Kurtz

      Too much is lost in translation when communication is written. I think I heard Jill’s voice in my head as I read her response quite differently than how you heard it. Therein lies the problem. It sounded more like a plea for help to me.

    4. DL Byron

      This is what lawyers do and there are laws on the books for sexual harassment…surprised a multi-national bike company hasn’t been sued yet and wonder what they’re sensitivity training materials look like. The parallels to tech companies are pretty straight, an industry that has to mature like now.

    5. Noah_Deuce

      Ah, yes, how dare a woman be passionate (angry, even) about cycling’s objectification and denigration of women, about jokes about men raping women.
      If only Jill (and all women!) were clinical and spoke softly about rape culture, then it would have disappeared long ago.

    6. Jill, Head Geargal

      FYI, I didn’t edit my post.

      I didn’t intend my comment as “shaming,” but if you have witnessed this behavior in the past (and unless you live in a cave, you have) and didn’t do anything, you should be ashamed. Men who remain silent while seeing this type of behavior are a part of the problem. NO ONE who uses Pinkbike with any regularity can claim to have never seen those types of comments before. Personally I don’t use it a lot (ever, anymore, it’s a cesspool), but of all the times I’ve scrolled through the comments there, I’ve never once seen a guy speak up to say “wow, these comments are out of line, guys.” To claim that Amanda’s experience is a shock is just…well, headdesk worthy. You, and all the guys commenting here, have definitely been exposed to this stuff and have chosen to ignore it until now.

      It’s freaking exhausting to be the lone voice of dissent in the face of such violent language, to be attacked verbally time and time again, only to have the reasonable men quietly exit stage left instead of helping take on the bros. Very few men EVER speak up against those guys. I think your article is a good first step. So, please, whenever you see this stuff going on in the future, and you will, SAY SOMETHING at the very least.

      And, yeah, like Christin said below, trying to give me the same treatment Amanda got is, well, ironic at the very least.

    7. Cathy

      I though this was a sincere article until you responded like that. Show your true colors as a self aggrandizing “nice guy”. You pretend to be all feminist but immediately get finger waggy when it’s a woman who is criticizing. You blew all your credibility with that one comment. Thanks for letting me know that as a female mb I can skip articles with your bylines in the future.

  17. formerbikeindustrygirl

    I was once the one of the only women working in a major mtb component company. i didn’t fit in to the culture and found my way to the exit. i am glad amanda batty took a stand; i didn’t have the “balls” to do that. i like mike levy and he is usually hilarious, but this wasn’t funny. this discussion brings back the pit in my stomach from not being able to fit into one segment of the male-dominated sector of the bike industry. Kudos to Amanda.

  18. Rob

    BraVO! About time someone commented on this. It’s been strangely quiet.

    Unfortunately, I’m not into the MTB scene anymore (left it about 8 years ago) mainly because of the frat-boy, BRO culture. Nothing that I want to be a part of. And this is part of the reason why, especially with a wife who also loves to ride.

    There’s something very wrong with MTB culture, an Pinkbike has illustrated this immeasurably. Something needs to change. Maybe this is the impetus we need to exact that change on the industry?

  19. Maiko

    The First Amendment protects citizens from censorship by the government. It does not set boundaries on online comments. While a well thought-out satire on rape culture (e.g., Amy Schumer, Broad City, etc.) is fine, dumb, harmful rape jokes shouldn’t be protected speech. In other words, rape jokes are borderline hate speech (some are indeed hate speech, cf. imminent danger test) and shouldn’t be a fundamental right. Your point “Dudes, don’t make rape jokes, but you do have a right to do that, and if you do, be ready for criticism” treats male privilege–misogynist attitude here specifically–as a human right. WHY? The message should be “Dudes, understand why rape jokes are not OK and stop making them at all, end of discussion,” shouldn’t it?

    Secondly, I really, sincerely hope you got permission from the women whom you outed as survivors of sexual assaults to discuss their situation publicly. “Former girlfriend” is a vague reference that doesn’t identify the person, but “my sister” is specific enough identifier, and there are well-established guidelines for writing about this topic in a way that respects the survivor’s privacy.

    1. Pat O'Brien

      Padraig, as a long time reader of RKP, I am saddened that you are forced to respond to this comment. Ignorance IS an excuse, but backing up and apologizing for opening old wounds would be the appropriate course here.

  20. Author

    Just got off the phone with Karl Burkat, the CEO of Pinkbike. Class act. I’ll say on his behalf that I think he gets the nature of the problem and he deserves credit for being willing to address it head-on. Pinkbike deserves to be recognized for wanting to be part of the solution.

    1. DL Byron

      The class of his act is in question when he argues with Amanda; instead of what his counsel would tell him, which is to shut up.

  21. Chris

    “Frankly, I’m going to ask Batty if she wants to write for us.”

    I can’t wait to read what a woman of such integrity, humour, and class has to write.

  22. Damon Rinard

    Thanks for writing this Patrick. Jill Head Geargal is right – we men need to stop letting the status quo continue. I ask each or you to join me: I promise to say something to my friends when they joke like that. To tell companies why I’m boycotting them. To stop it, and not let it go on.

  23. Les.B.

    For the guys who think rape can be funny:
    Imagine this:

    Anything is possible, and it’s possible that through some unexpected series of events that you end up in lockup for a few hours.
    The big & mean grab you, rip off your pants throw you to the floor face down and …….

    Happens every day.

    Still laughing?

    1. Raumance

      Rape is a horrible crime, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make fun of it. Something being horrible doesn’t mean you can’t make fun of it, you can make fun of anything. You can also choose to get offended at anything if you so choose.

      And rape is not a female only crime, men get raped too.

      Also the the joke wasn’t about rape. It was about alcohol loosening inhibitions.

    2. AKChick

      Raumance – Seriously???? Can’t joke about rape? Wow. I am floored. It is that line of thinking that is a huge part of the problem. Unless you’ve been a victim, you have no clue. Rape isn’t funny. It shouldn’t be a punchline or a joke. Alcohol loosening inhibitions leads ladies into situations where they don’t want to be, ie, some dude decides hey, let’s get this chick liquored up and have some fun. That comment is part of the rape culture. Do you know anyone who has been a victim? I’m sure guy or gal would not think that the original comment that Amanda commented on was funny. Outing myself here, but as a victim of rape, I don’t find it very funny at all.

  24. Frederick Beseler

    “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good MEN -and women- to do nothing…”

  25. Jordana Blackman

    Hi – thanks for your piece on Amanda’s blog on why she left Pinkbike. Coincidentally, my organisation Chicks Who Rides Bikes (CWRB) had just launched a campaign called #dearbikeindustry with the intent of uncovering a fraction of examples of how common the objectification of women is within the bike industry.

    But, we also come with solutions and are soon to release a range of opportunities to support businesses within the bike industry to adapt and survive. It would be great to follow us on FB and/or Instagram as most of the unveiling is happening early next week and is pretty exciting.

    I have personally been in contact with Amanda and have told her we will not be afraid to publish anything she has her heart set on writing – unedited.


  26. Don Jagoe

    And just when it seems like sane voices, like yours and most of your readers, are making headway, today Peloton Magazine uses a pair of female legs to grab eyes and clicks for Alberto Contador’s brave decision to ride Stage 7 of the Giro. How incredibly symbolic of the larger problem. Unapologetic objectification. Thank you for RKP and a better vision.

  27. Author

    Jill: Maybe what I need to do is go a bit deeper in my response to you. We do push back against inappropriate comments here. Absolutely. I’m pleased to note, as well, that I’ve never had to delete anything stupidly sexist or misogynistic. Also, yes, I’m a guy who has stepped in when I’ve seen a woman being abused in some way. I physically inserted myself between a 20-something guy who probably had 25 pounds on me and his girlfriend when he started yanking her around by her hair and neck. My wife (then a new girlfriend) was terrified he’d kill me. I had her call 911. So yes, I’m the guy that steps in. And at Interbike, those booths (especially the old Manitou booth) where models are used to short-circuit guys and get them to stop? I avoid them like a tax collector. Using sex to short-circuit a guy is lazy and won’t build a lasting relationship with a customer, and worse, asks a woman to demean herself to do that job. I had an offer years ago to sell my magazine to a guy who among the many magazines he published had also published porn. I passed because I didn’t want to do business with someone like that. So while you may be new here and unfamiliar with RKP, this isn’t the first time I’ve stuck my neck out for women, nor will it be the last.

    On a broader note, given that this is an issue in which emotions are running higher than usual, I’d like to remind everyone to leave the snark and sarcasm at the door.

    1. Jill, Head Geargal

      I replied above before seeing this, sorry.

      Do you really avoid those booths? That is awesome news. I encourage you to take it a step further and tell those brands WHY you aren’t visiting their booths. It’s worth saying that when I commented at OR about seeing more and more “booth babes,” a bunch of bros from the industry viciously attacked me online, accusing me of ruining their fun and telling me to just stay away from OR. If you’ll notice, no one will respond to your comment in such a manner, because you are a man and your right to express your opinion about booth babes is respected. I’m a woman, so I get barraged by verbal violence from men. See what I mean?

      I must admit that it’s beyond frustrating to see a bunch of guys respond to you like “whoah, I can’t believe this, good job speaking up!” when over the years guys have mostly ignored everything women have written about this unless it’s been to attack them, like they did Amanda, me, and countless others. So, once again, they’re only paying attention when it’s a guy talking. If you think this is just snark, sorry, I promise you it’s not, but OH MY GOD it is so annoying to see this dynamic play out time and time again in such a predictable manner. I think it’s true that none of this will change until the guys change it, and that, too, is a sad commentary on our culture in general.

      True, there is nothing you can do about stuff from the past, but you can (and I hope you will) continue to fight the good fight in the future even when it’s unpleasant, even when it makes you look uncool, even when you don’t fit in with the industry, etc.

    2. DL Byron

      Federal, state laws exist for sexual harassment and discrimination and I’m surprised no one has sued yet (that we know of). Law firms have whole teams and from what I can tell, seeing the CEO of PB argue with Amanda, he hasn’t lawyered up yet or listened to what any counsel would tell him. You can’t expect a bro revolution against this, but women certainly could and I hope do sue the shit out of a multinational company. They can just add the bill to the one for quick releases.

    3. Cathy

      To a first time reader like me, all your comments seem to be about what a good guy you are. It comes across as narcissistic and makes your women defending seem self-aggrandizing and insincere. I would have thought differently had I not see the comments, but you just sound like you are tooting your own horn, and don’t really sound like a nice guy at all, just one who likes praise and attention for being such a white knight. Bleh….

  28. Raumance

    It was a joke. This controversy over the joke is a joke as well.

    Your allowed to write humour. Fuck off with this social justice warrior shit.

    1. MD

      I’m boggling slightly that there’s a group of people who deploy “social justice warrior” in a derogatory way. Like social justice is in some way a bad thing. Do not get 🙁

      PS “you’re”.

    2. Jim Couch

      You just don’t get it do you Raumance? It was way more than a joke. A woman complains about a tasteless joke and is threatened and harassed. This is about more than a tasteless joke. You don’t get it and so your response is to be vulgar and insulting. I would go so far as to say that your comments (both of them) on this thread do a fantastic job of underlining how deep this problem goes in our culture and how much work there is to be done.

  29. chock-a-block

    If the recreational bicycling industry wants to grow, they can’t wag their finger at PinkBike and keep advertising there. Money talks. Stop advertising at PB. Of course, this is the bike industry, so I don’t expect anything of consequence to happen to PB.

    Give Ms. Batty a column here before another publication beats you to it!

  30. Linda

    “When we think about where women fit in the world, our history—the history of mankind, that is—isn’t good. Scanning back through the last 1000 years, we have denied women the right to own property, the right to vote, the right to work, the right to have a voice, even the right to be considered people. After all, there once was a time when women, like slaves, were the property of their husbands. Simply controlling their reproductive destiny is currently under fire. Generally speaking, we have evolved a lot, but if this were an elementary school report card, the fact that Saudi women can’t drive would merit the comment, “Needs improvement.””

    Spoken like someone with no idea of real history, real law, real societies, nor any real awareness of how it is today.

    What feminists can never seem to explain is why. What happened supposedly 100-150 years ago that made women suddenly decide they had enough of this supposed endless abuse, and convinced men to include women? Were all women before just idiots? Were all men before just sociopaths? It doesn’t make any sense for there to have been such a massive shift, and big surprise, there wasn’t. Karen Straughan for example has demonstrated this plenty, showing that today’s standards about domestic violence are the same ones we had 2 centuries ago: terrible when done to women, pathetic and “he must’ve done something to deserve it” when done to men. The image of the housewife was not one chained to the stove, it was one wielding a rolling pin as a club. Newspaper clippings, legal sentencing, they all confirm: men did not hate women, not in general, not their mothers, sisters or daughters. Women weren’t denied education, *people* were denied education, and stats show the elite educated its women as well as its men.

    So what happened? It’s easy. Technological progress reduced the labour required for housework, and the world became a vastly safer, heathier place. This made the traditional gneder *division* of roles of provider and caregiver mostly obsolete, and gave a bunch of privileged women the idea to ask to be included in the elite world of politics and economy.

    The average time between men getting the vote and women getting the vote in the west was about 20 years. So for most of those 1000 years, the vast majority of men too lacked the right to own property, to vote, to work in a fair system, to have a voice. Want to talk about slavery? How about the current US prison population, overwhelmingly male? How about the slave labourers of Dubai, housed in camps, taken advantage of, having their passports withheld, all male?

    Consider this lovely quote:

    “Women have always been the primary victims of war, they lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat” – Hillary Clinton

    It perfectly captures the double standard that has existed for millenia. We are obsessively concerned with women’s feelings, while ignoring the reality of men’s lives. This is how it has always been, and why our evolutionary genetic record shows twice as many women managed to reproduce than men did.

  31. souleur

    thanks Padraig for bringing this out, I appreciate the exposure

    And as well: JilltheHeadGearGal, your cultural and marketing/economic observations are spot on, I understand clearly the undertones your referring to and just couldn’t agree more

    I love cycling but sometimes the ads and marketing is disgusting

    Keep on!! The industry probably isn’t really ready to hear your voice right now, its sorta similar to the self policing of dope in the peloton, its inherently a conflict in interest…economically. I applaude your stance though, and personally will try to echo your position

  32. Emil

    Padraig, Thanks for what I consider to be an honorable article. Obviously this has generated a great deal of dialog and hopefully caused many to give thought to this issue. I continue to be impressed with your writing and courage.

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  34. toro toro

    I’ve nothing to add to any of this, but massive appreciation of everythign Padraig has written here.

    Oh, and throwing *shade* at “raumance”.

  35. Rob A.

    Hey Padraig,

    This is one of the best (and most important) pieces you’ve ever written. I applaud you for taking a stand on the side of reason, for denouncing attitudes and actions which harm others and for using your platform for things greater than just cycling.

    May we all denounce the deplorable and stand for what is right.


  36. AKChick

    Love this commentary! As a female in a male-dominated industry (but not for much longer, fingers crossed) it’s infuriating to see things like this happen. It’s 2015 for pete’s sake. I really hope that Amanda comes and writes for you. I hadn’t heard of Pinkbike or Amanda before you tweeted a link to her blog post about the situation and after reading her blog, I’d definitely read her articles on RKP! Love her sense of humor and wit. So please, please make that offer to her!

  37. Tim J

    I agree with the overriding sentiment of this article, the attitude of some men towards women – as demonstrated in the comment section on Pinkbike and many other internet sites – is deplorable and certainly should not be accepted in any civilized society.

    What I disagree with is the particular example highlighted in this case. The joke in Mike Levy’s article was funny in my (obviously subjective) opinion. To me it really only refers to the fact that alcohol reduces peoples inhibitions and does not in any way reference or condone rape on any level. The fact that it was originally targeted only at male readers is a simple and non-malicious oversight of a male writer addressing a predominantly male audience.

    For those people who believe that it does in fact reference rape should still consider that jokes are made referencing all kinds of subject matter that isn’t the least bit funny in real life (including rape of men, usually in the context of prison), yet the jokes themselves are considered funny by large portions of the population. The important point is that the joke can be funny even if the subject matter is not and even when you are a member of the demographic being ‘targeted’.

    At the end of the day accusing Mike Levy of ‘perpetuating rape culture’ is a big call and goes way too far, based on this single piece of evidence, in my opinion. I’d be offended and angry about that sort of slur if I was him. On the other hand the treatment of Amanda Batty seems to have been very poor and the behaviour of some members of Pinkbike was and is deplorable.

    As far as I can tell (in my admittedly limited view of these events) the Pinkbike staff owe Amanda and apology, she owes Mike an apology and Pinkbike need to moderate their comments section much, much better. Amanda may well be fighting for a worthy cause but I don’t think anyone is blameless in this whole scenario.

  38. Eaglehawk

    I had no idea your publication even existed until a male cyclist in a Greater Toronto Area (GTA) mountain bike group shared it with the masses. Thanks for bringing attention to the issue and for publishing such a thoughtful assessment of the situation. As a female sports writer, I understand the vitriol that Batty endured. I have developed an extremely thick skin to deal with the sexist perspectives of the trolls who have stalked my own work. We need only look at the situation in Toronto where a female reporter finally stood up to the jerks who have plagued her work (and that of other on-air female professionals) with disgusting FHRITP taunts. This is 2015, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like it. I applaud her for speaking out and you for addressing it.

    You have a brand-new reader. I can’t wait to dig into the content here.

  39. Pingback: Misogyny in cycling: How the Amanda Batty vs. Pinkbike discussion applies to us all | Ella

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  41. PedalRon

    “He notes that rape is the only crime where the accuser is routinely presumed to be lying rather than telling the truth.”

    Eerily similar to when a cyclist is hit, run over, or killed and…it’s presumed we did something wrong and deserved what we got. An avid cyclist was hit and killed last year and the police…are still debating if he was riding on the sidewalk, then entered traffic, and thus, deserved death. A close friend told me that guy was a true roadie and would have never been on the sidewalk on his Ti road bike.

    Men and sports really brings out the worst in men. I played Div. I college sports, graduated in 2001. I can’t believe the awful way many of my teammates talked about women. I also have no doubt some of the things some of the guys did would be/was sexual assault.

    I hope things are changing, but there is a long way to go. And here I am having written off most popular American sports for things like drama and misogyny and…here it is in cycling.

    1. Shawn

      But I suppose the PB line would, nonetheless, be sexist if she did. I’m not seeing the misogyny in the article though.

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  46. joel

    I agree with article and Batty 100%

    The original comment was unecessary, in bad taste, and a bit offensive. In handling the fallout, Pink Bike dropped the ball… on their own foot. Ouch.

  47. Gerb61

    ” Frankly, I’m going to ask Batty if she wants to write for us.” Nothing wrong with that, but I’m wondering why we don’t hear more from Irene Bond on the women’s side of things. Unless I’ve missed something she is your lone female contributor according to your site. Can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a post from her. Seems to be conspicuously absent here.

  48. Drago

    Frankly, we’ve all had terrible employer prob’s like this. They may have started differently, but it’s quite obvious she is not wanted at pink bike. I had an abusive employer…I took some very deep breaths, wrote a quick note, parked the company vehicle and rode a bus home. I don’t (can’t!) care what his response was, 12 years later. I felt very wronged, I was desperately broke. It was very exciting and scary at the same time. But as my mom always said, Nobody said it was gonna be fair.
    Maybe take the F-bombs out and resubmit your articles to RKP, or get your own thing going. Think of It as an athlete. Re-access your strengths, identify some weaknesses, and Move On(!)

  49. Thirty bucks

    On a side note it really is a shame that Amanda Batty promoted women getting into the sport so heavily and then failed to hold up her agreement with so many women. She really isn’t making a great impression on me or my wife regarding women in the sport. This comment is totally aside from the pink bike issue as I do not condone any type of harassment or inequality. My disgust is that Amanda lied to people that looked up to her. In 2014 my wife read an article about Batty willing to cover the tab for women entering their first downhill race. My wife was ecstatic, so she put her name into the ‘hat’ to be selected as one of the women that Batty would cover the entry fee. My wife and I were both elated to find out she was one of the women selected. Come race day at the Sundance Showdown in Utah, my wife met Amanda and had an amazing time at the race in which she placed 1st in her category. Once the race was over and my wife inquired about the reimbursement for the race as promised, it was nothing but excuses from Batty every time we asked. She told us at one point that her account was frozen because someone hacked it, then she stated that she was so sorry and she would personally drive to our house to deliver the money the following day. We have never heard from her since. This in my mind is no way to represent women in the sport. My wife was extremely excited about racing downhill, but after this personal experience with Amanda Batty, she would rather not be involved with downhill racing if it means dealing with people like Batty. Shame on you Amanda, this is no way to promote building the sport for women if you are going to give those women false hope. $30 and still waiting for payment over six months later.

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