‘Side saddle’ used to be the way women would ride horseback, both legs swung off to one side of the horse, but Vancouver will be getting used to the term in a different fashion as of June, when Sidesaddle, a women-focused bike store opens in East Vancouver.
Retailing women’s bicycles, clothing and accessories, Sidesaddle will provide an “unintimidating atmosphere” for female riders of all levels, as well as classes, group rides and events. But the shop isn’t open only for women; men can find bikes and gear for themselves as well, and partake in the store’s programming.
“We want it to be a place where every cyclist feels welcome, from absolute beginners who have no idea where to start right up to people who have been riding every day for decades,” says Lucas Gallagher, co-owner.
With a focus on urban and road-riding, Sidesaddle will appeal to the city commuter and the many cyclists who make their way through the busy East Vancouver corridor where the store is located on Victoria Drive and East Broadway.
“The shop isn’t only a spot to pick up great gear and advice in an open and unintimidating atmosphere; it will also be a social and educational hub for riders of all stripes,” the shop said in a release.
Bike shops for women are rare in North America and non-existent in Canada, but Angela Smith, co-owner of Sidesaddle is hoping her venture will change that.
“We hope women feel respected, listened to, connected to other cyclists, and that they fall even further in love with bicycling,” says Smith. “We hope people will even be happy when they get a flat tire, because our service is so friendly and our store is so much fun to visit.”
While cycling in Vancouver is one of the most popular sports and modes of transportation, female cyclists make up a big portion of those riders. In 2011, women made 41 per cent of cycling trips, double compare to 2008 statistics, and the City of Vancouver and TransLink have stated goals to have that ridership increase to 50 per cent by 2040.
Sidesaddle will open on June 13.