Bicycles with step-through frames, traditionally known in the U.S. as “women’s bikes”, are slowly gaining in popularity among people of both genders. They’re widely ridden by both men and women of all ages in Europe, and with the increasing number of gender-neutral step-throughs on the market, we’re seeing more on the roads in the U.S. The ease of mounting and dismounting step-throughs can be advantageous for a variety of reasons:
- Step-throughs enable those with physical limitations (particularly those with hip injuries) to mount and dismount without risking injury
- Step-throughs are easier to mount than diamond frames when a bike is heavily loaded and rear panniers or cargo are in the way
- Step-throughs provide clearance in front of the saddle for wearing loose clothes
- Step-throughs provide quick dismounts for riders making deliveries or running errands at multiple locations
One of my main rides is a Civia Loring with a step-through frame. The Loring is what I think of as a semi-step-through; in other words, it’s half way between a sloping top tube frame and a full step-through frame. Even so, a few people have asked me if I feel self-conscious riding it, the assumption being that it’s a “woman’s bike” and that I might somehow feel threatened by riding it. I can unequivocally say no, I don’t at all feel self-conscious about riding a step-through.
I’m curious, do EcoVelo readers (men or women) feel funny about riding a step-through? Do you see them as less serious than diamond frame bicycles? Would you feel self-conscious riding one?