About the author

Laura Moss

Laura Moss spent 16 months cycling 13,000 miles around the world. She is a director of The Adventure Syndicate and organises the annualCycle Touring Festival. Her husband, Tim, runs this website. Read more...


  1. 1

    Rob Thomson

    Awesome post. All very interesting. As an example of ingrained beliefs about gender roles going both ways, I got frustrated when, in a sewing store with my wife in Japan, I asked a question about a particular fabric and the male store clerk answered directly to my otherwise disinterested wife (we both speak fluent Japanese)….obviously I was asking on behalf of my wife, because what would I do with a bit of fabric?


  2. 2

    Tim Moss

    No. 3 was the worst. Even without the sexism it made me livid.

    No. 4 is hilarious but not in a good way.

  3. 3

    Shirin Shabestari

    An honest account of a female traveler. I understand the anger as I have experienced it I know she must have faced some of that in Iran (I grew up in Iran). especially in smaller more remote regions… Let’s hope this will change. I for sure will continue making those eye contacts, strike up conversations, make my point that my male companion is not always the boss!!!

    1. 3.1

      Laura Moss

      Thanks guys, glad you enjoyed the post.

      Rob – we’ve definitely experienced it the other way round too. There have been times when women will barely look at Tim, but this is much less common as women are so rarely in the public sphere in the parts of the world we’ve been travelling through.

      Shirin – there was a lot of ingrained sexism in Iran (I mentioned it in a previous blog post I wrote about cycling through the country), but other places were similar – Turkey, UAE, Oman…and western Europe! I think it’s still a worldwide phenomenon but like you say, all we can do is keep challenging these attitudes.

  4. 4



    I’ve also experienced some of the issues mentioned whilst travelling (alone and with my male partner) but what got me last week was that sometimes it seems women still fall into the trap of not helping themselves. In my French A level class last week we were discussing feminism with another English woman (27), the French female teacher and an 18 year old man originally from Congo but lived in England for most of his life. The other women said that advancements in women’s rights were positive but this meant they could be bad mothers as they still tended to work and do more of the housework. I raised the point that if feminism was concerned with equal rights why weren’t we asking the men to help out more and seeing this as a lack of support as opposed to women not being capable. I really made me annoyed.
    Anyway, rant over

  5. 5


    A great post. Some very interesting observations. I found the facebook one particularly annoying!

    I’m a motorcyclist and have my own bike, but on occasion I will ride pillion with my husband if we are just needing to get somewhere… it’s much the same as me sitting in the passenger seat of our car while my husband drives (or the other way around) but for some reason when I ride pillion I am automatically the “biker wife” and when we stop am always treated that way. This is always obvious at bike shows where people, especially those on stands, assume I am there to accompany my husband rather than as a biker myself. I need a sign that says “I ride too and I know what I’m talking about!”.

    Sexism is an odd thing really as sometimes it’s cultural and sometimes it’s just plain rudeness – and it happens both ways. Being open minded seems to come hard to some people.

  6. 6

    Pawan Shrotria

    Seems really great and adventurous that you have travelled so many countries by just cycling.
    Really amazing!
    Accept our well-wishes and congratulations!

    1. 6.1

      Tim Moss

      Thanks Pawan. Hopefully we’ll make it to Nepalgunj soon!

  7. 7


    As a woman who has travelled and worked in male environment, I have given up trying to change the world. I do mind when hard fought freedoms in west are eroded by newcomers from rural eastern cultures!!! Live and let live!

  8. 8

    Janet Lafleur

    I had an infuriating experience that’s a combo of Zoe’s experience riding on her husband’s motorcycle and Laura’s #3. My husband and I are both experienced road bicyclists, but when I hop on the back of our tandem people treat me like the wife who can’t ride on her own so I ride on the back.

    One day, a man glided up beside us and joked to my husband: “This is when really have a problem when your partner gains weight.” With surprising quickness I patted my husband on the back and said: “Oh, I’d never give him a hard time if he gained weight.” (at the time we were both very lean)

    What a rude idiot. Did he think I couldn’t hear what he said? And this is in the San Francisco Bay Area in an affluent area, not some corner of the planet where women don’t have full status.

  9. 9

    Tim Moss

    Wow, that’s a nice one Janet. I am, however, deeply pleased that the quick-witted response we usually come up with the day after, you managed to deliver instantly.

  10. 10

    Donna Price

    Great post… we are planning a long ride with our two daughters and interesting to read about the different ways you were treated. Thanks

    1. 10.1

      Tim Moss

      Thanks Donna. Please just shout if we can help with any of your plans. I think you guys are onto a wonderful thing.


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