In addition to the SRAM sponsored Gold Rusch events hosted by Rebecca Rusch and held at the new Ladies Lounge (which offers autograph signings, free t-shirts, tech clinics, food and drink and other goodies aimed at the fairer sex), Sea Otter Classic had their own Ladies Day events planned to encourage more women to ride, wrench and love bikes.
Then POW, BOOM, right in the stubbly kisser, they’re threatened with legal action for offering “gender biased” opportunities to women, including free admission, on Sunday. The potential crime? Giving them free admission and goods/services when those with a Y Chromosome would have to pay to enter and be left out of the pink-themed extracurricular activities.
Yes, we’re serious. I emailed Jeannie, SOC’s media manager, to confirm. The person behind this seemingly ridiculousness is Harry H. Crouch, president of National Coalition for Men, an advocacy group that works to prevent special treatment for women (or a lack of it for men). Technically, according to California law, Crouch is right, but still…the spirit of his actions goes against pretty much everything anyone that’s actually attending SOC would give a rat’s patooty about.
The result of all this? A bunch of PR for Crouch’s organization and a simple name change for Sea Otters’ plans: Ladies Activities. Everything else is the same. Well, almost everything. If you’re a dude and you roll into Sea Otter on Sunday, you’ll pay the same entry fee as dudettes: $0. And now you know why you don’t see Ladies’ Nights anymore…
Full press release from SOC after the break plus the flyer for the Gold Rusch events…
The SRAM Ladies Lounge/Gold Rusch events are at SOC but separate from the SOC’s planned Ladies Activites.
“I am puzzled and disappointed you would sponsor a sex-based promotion such as Ladies Day that excludes males solely because of their sex”, wrote Harry H. Crouch, president, National Coalition for Men (NCFM). In a rambling missive to Sea Otter Classic management, he challenged Sea Otter’s Ladies Day celebration. Mr. Crouch demanded that all “preferential treatment” be halted immediately or his organization would be compelled to pursue legal action against Sea Otter.
“For over two decades we’ve encouraged everyone to enjoy our wonderful sport of cycling”, says Sea Otter Classic President and CEO Frank Yohannan. “This is not going to change because of Mr. Crouch’s threats. For years we’ve hosted special cycling events for families and children. This year we decided to expand our efforts to encourage more girls and women to give cycling a try. So we designated Sunday, April 17 as Ladies Day at Sea Otter. Among other things, the NCFM objected to the title. In the spirit of cooperation, we renamed it Ladies Activities.”
Despite meeting all demands from the NCFM, Crouch contacted media outlets within the Monterey area claiming that “Ladies Day” was cancelled and that this could be considered the avoidance of a grave gender-based injustice. Yohannan labeled Crouch’s post-agreement efforts as “petty” and “certainly outside of the genuine spirit of cooperation from Sea Otter.”
Although operating under a different name, this special day for women and girls remains the same. “We love women who cycle and simply want to get more on bikes”, says Yohannan. Programming for Sea Otter’s Ladies Activities includes skills clinics, demo rides, a nutrition seminar, maintenance classes, and much more. And yes, the guys are also welcome to attend.
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