There is a photo of me taken in 2012, just before embarking on my first Great Vic Bike Ride. I’m wearing the team jersey which was kind of firm at the time. I was a tad embarrassed, but secretly happy because I never imagined I’d ever dare wear lycra…hence our tag line of ‘no lycra necessary!’
That’s me above in the very firm team jersey, and the even firmer one I was wearing on the bike in the pic on the right! Lucky you can’t see how tight the knicks were!
With 2015 just around the corner everyone is telling us to find a New Years resolution, work out how to be a better you, get a facelift, buy a Porsche, lose all the Christmas weight and even find time for that ‘new life’ you’ve been wanting! For crying out loud what is this?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you don’t need a New Year to make a decision about how you’ll treat yourself to some great outcomes. You don’t need a magazine guru to tell you that you can make difference and you don’t need me to tell you what I think you should do.
Frankly, the answer is pretty simple and I think we all know it…bikes are the antidote to so much! Bikes create change. From connecting communities, providing friendships, supporting social equity programs and most of all, providing the catalyst for change in so many peoples’ lives.
But at Wheel Women, what creates change and inspiration is the fact Wheel Women is real…yep, you guys are a very REAL face of what riding a bike as a woman is all about.
Just a few of the very real smiling faces at Wheel Women! (A few too many selfies?)
I saw a great post the other day about some celebrities who were happy to be photographed without make-up to show the world the ‘real’ them. The point of the post was that we always want to strive to be like the perfectly made up model or celeb with the wind machine in their perfect hair extensions! Hello unreality…don’t compare yourself to what is not real! (http://buzzborn.com/celebrity/celebs-without-makeup/)
You aren’t those women in the magazines (thank goodness for that, coz Kardashian jeans I can assure you are no good on a bike)! You are instead the beautiful woman in the pictures on our Wheel Women Facebook page – lumps, bumps, sweaty, puffing, struggling and, well…smiling and laughing! There is no glossy, pre-fabricated image of perfection on our pages, just you, the way you are. Be proud of it.
‘Clip stack’ Dierdre, ‘never give-up’ Sharyn, and of course smiling Cazz who has the determination and courage that puts us all to shame.
Making a change isn’t always easy, and I know that for sure. Many of you have heard about the infamous bike throwing incident on Beach Road some years ago…and if you haven’t, let’s just say it involved a 22kg mountain bike, a very teary me and a partner frustrated at why I couldn’t ride any ‘faster’! The truth is, I couldn’t ride any faster because I was unfit and overweight, he wanted me to ride his way, and my bike was like riding a rusted monster truck!
Looking back the Great Bike Throwing Incident of 2011 was kind of funny (at least my partner still thinks so), yet it is still a reality for many women. In all seriousness, I can never forget how it feels to be that woman crying in frustration, watching all the ‘skinny’ cyclists go by, wondering jealously why the hell anyone would want to wear lycra and WTF did my partner think telling ‘moi’ how to change gears!
But it takes some courage, and probably some tears too, to make a change.
It seems most of those false promises we make at years end are just there to placate others, or we make them carelessly after a few too many glasses of sparkling Cockatoo Ridge! God knows I’ve done that a few times…I think I said I’d marry George Clooney back in 2008. Yep, false promises to myself destined for failure.
You have to be really serious about wanting a change. But be REALISTIC and don’t ask for the glossy perfection of a magazine celebrity, even if it is a Kardashian. Just be you, lumps, bumps, sweat, grease marks…and tears! (for tips: http://womenwhocycle.com/2014/12/happy-new-year-how-to-set-a-realistic-2015-goal/)
That’s me feeling a little grubby on this years’ Great Vic…oooh yuk. But havin’ fun!
So that brings me back to that team jersey. I only came across it the other day and was silently astonished. That jersey I found in the drawer can’t have been mine, I must have accidentally grabbed someone else’s and kept it by mistake. But it was mine. After several days I decided to show it to my partner…we were both amazed. This wasn’t the jersey, this was the tent we slept in!
The last jersey I purchased was on this years’ Great Vic Bike Ride. I placed it on top of the team one for a photo – just a small size differential! But you know what…the white jersey in the picture is still a Large. I haven’t gone from a Large to a size 10, no, I went from Really Large to Elegantly Oversized. A healthier, fitter, happier size. I’m no waif and never will be. My goals were realistic – I never expected anything more than to just ‘get fit’! But in doing so I lost much, but gained so much more!
The underneath jersey is the original team jersey. Wow, the new Specialized ones are a little smaller and I had just never realised what a difference all the riding had made!
So, make your goals realistic, don’t expect miracles, be prepared to sweat, cry, laugh, smile get grease on your legs, drop a few chains, crunch the gears a little and make change. No matter what size you are, or what level of fitness you have, or how skilled at riding you are (or aren’t), you are gaining so much every time you jump on the bike.
You will be fitter, you will be happier, you will find friends, you will inspire others, you will find adventure, you will make your kids wonder in awe that you too can ride a bike and you might just shed a few unwanted lumps and bumps.
Come riding in 2015, don’t make promises to yourself that you can’t keep and when you see your picture on our very real Facebook page…be proud because you’re beautiful!
Happy future 2015 to all of you, from a fitter healthier and happier Wheel Woman…change is a wonderful thing.
NOTE: On a serious note, I really did by some Kardashian jeans in perfect Wheel Women purple and was amazed at the fact I could fit into a size 12! I haven’t been a size 12 since I was, well, 12! So I took them to the counter and marveled at this very fact, when the sales girl told me that ‘Well, the Kardashian’s do make their clothes a little larger and to fit a voluptuous figure’…and can we ignore the fact I had to cut about 6 inches off them to be the right length!
Trying hard to make the Kardashians work…oh well, like I said, lumps and bumps!