April's views on why the world needs more girls on bikes was decried as sexism by some. Yet from personal safety concerns for female cyclists to the controversial topic of "podium girls" in professional cycling, gender issues and cycling seem to go hand-in-hand. We've noted before that in cash-poor countries bikes for women can literally be a life changing concept. It's a topic that Jane Modembo picks up for The Guardian in her piece on why bikes can be a liberation tool for women in Zimbabwe, as she recounts her own experiences of breaking a social taboo:
People stared at me. I heard them telling each other in Shona that I was probably an American. Cars slowed down. Windows were rolled down, male heads would emerge and ask why I was cycling. A woman like me shouldn't be riding a bike, the men said, and wanted to know where I lived so they could pick me up. I would pedal away. An old classmate saw me and laughed hysterically. Sometimes I felt like a foreigner.
I was no longer a hostage to religion, tradition or men. I was free. On my bicycle I felt like I was in a room of my own.