Last year I asked the GB performance analyst to change all of the data feedback sheets from reading ‘man one’, when describing a rider’s position in the team pursuit line, to ‘rider one’. I didn’t ask my team-mates, or take a vote, or canvass opinion in any way.
I just decided it was annoying, and no one would notice either way, so what’s the harm in having it this way? It was the endurance analyst that I spoke to (Robi De, who has since moved on to work at the BBC) and so it’s likely the sprint team still have ‘man one’, ‘man two’, etc on their graphs and other training feedback.
I know the endurance men don’t. It was grammatically accurate for their squad, true, but life is easier if we use the same language.
>>> Cycling Weekly is available on your Smart phone, tablet and desktop
That easiness is why ‘man one’ has stuck around for so long. Everyone knows that ‘man three’ in a women’s pursuit team isn’t a man, she’s in the third position of the starting line-up. But the reason you’re saying ‘man three’ is the vernacular was born when team pursuit was a man’s game. The event debuted at the Olympics, for men, in 1908. It turned up for women more than 100 years later, in 2012 as a shortened three-rider three-kilometre version. Finally in 2016, 108 years after the men, women were racing a four-rider four-kilometre team pursuit.
So we changed the graphs to read ‘rider one’ and, as expected, no one noticed. Ultimately, you can pretend that ‘salesman’, ‘chairman’ and ‘businessman’ have become gender neutral through common use, but they reflect a world that hasn’t included 50 per cent of the population, a world that’s treated women as less-than, for millennia. That world is changing, and the very smallest gesture you can make to help it continue to change, is stop calling me ‘man one’.
I tell you all this now because I just read a message in my family group chat about a time trial both my parents are riding at the weekend. It says my mum is my dad’s ‘minute man’. Bah. Here we go again.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
Annemiek van Vleuten to retire at end of 2023
The Dutchwoman has signed a one-year contract extension with Movistar for the final season of her professional career
By Ryan Dabbs • Published
Primož Roglič: Wout van Aert is '100% dedicated to the whole team'
Jumbo-Visma head into the Tour de France with three leaders, and a split strategy that they hope pays off
By Adam Becket • Published
Tweets of the Week: Mark Cavendish's meme, cycling Supermarket Sweep and Katie Archibald's throwback
After a big week in the cycling world, here's a selection of our favourite social media moments
By Alex Ballinger • Published
Is there a best time to train? A sports scientist investigates
Most of us ride our bikes whenever we get chance, but is there a best time of day when you’ll unlock the most potential and make maximum gains? Sports scientist Dr Mark Homer investigates
By Cycling Weekly • Published
Sweet success: How I won Red Bull Timelaps as a diabetic rider
Type-1 diabetic George Kirkpatrick is on a mission to prove that compromised blood sugar control is no barrier to success — however long the race
By David Bradford • Published
'I was going hard while Geraint was sitting up chatting': Five types of riders to help you succeed
There’s no mightier influence on your fitness than fellow cyclists — friends and foes. Sports psychologist Dr Josephine Perry identifies five archetypal riders who could prove pivotal to your progress
By Josephine Perry • Published
Is this Britain's smoothest road?
A new high-tech road surface in Oxfordshire could herald a cycling revolution, we rode it to find out more
By Vern Pitt • Published
'If you’re good enough, you’re old enough': Cycling's golden generation are turning perceived wisdom on its head
How cycling's golden generation are ripping up the rule book
By Peter Cossins • Published
Why Chris Froome shouldn't be dismissed from the Tour de France reckoning
As he makes his return to racing at the UAE Tour, Froome's ambition of taking a fifth Tour title shouldn't be ruled out just yet
By Peter Cossins • Published
Four, the record: Inside the race to smash the Individual Pursuit four-minute barrier
The individual pursuit may no longer be an Olympic event but the race to break the four-minute barrier has taken on a new urgency
By Simon Smythe • Published