Don’t you hate that question? How many times have you asked yourself when you put on your new cycling gear? Okay, okay I hear you say…’no lycra necessary’ right?
One of the reasons I use that little line with Wheel Women is because I know that so many women feel really put-off not so much by what lycra is and how it looks or feels, but because of what it represents to them. Think about it – when we think lycra and cycling, we think guys-in-lycra-going-fast-and-yelling-at-us-and-telling-us-we-have-no-place-in-cycling. So it is really the analogy we instantly make about what lycra represents…but there is more to it than that. This week the whole lycra thing was at the front of my mind for several reasons: first, I was handing out the team jerseys for our Around The Bay ride, and second, I was reminded of the ‘lycra-lesson’ this week with two brilliant and honest blogs from Sarah Connolly (http://prowomenscycling.com/2013/10/09/trying-to-find-cycling-clothing-as-a-curvy-girl/) and also from Anna the @Blooming Cyclist (http://masteringtheuphillshift.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/body-image-and-cycling-clothes-an-unhappy-relationship/). Their articles struck a BIG chord with me.
Sorry if you’ve already seen this blog post – we’re just shuffling a few pages around.
Get your arse into gear!
It seems that gear questions are pretty popular when I talk to women about riding bikes. And surprise, surprise it seems saddles are one of the BIG discussion points. But if you think I’m going to recommend the BEST saddle to you, I’m not, nor will I tell you what I think you need. In fact, anything I say about saddles will likely be totally useless, because I’m sorry, I only have my one arse to refer too! It’s a mistake many people make – recommending a saddle to their best friend because it works for them. Well, sorry but my nether regions are not the same as yours, and your best friends aren’t either.
I beg to differ. Women portray themselves in different ways and create their own agenda every time they jump on a bike. If a woman feels the need for the floral and frills, then good on her, that is her choice. If a woman chooses pink and purple and feels great in that, then hail to her.
‘Look out!’ yelled the male bike rider as he zoomed past some pedestrians on the track. He was sitting on my tail for a little while as we approached the walkers; they had no clue as to what was happening as they stepped out their evening exercise with ears blocked by headphones. But they sure did hear his aggro yell, and I guess were a little aggro themselves at the attitude.
To tell you the truth, I was a little aggro too! Why is it that this guy decided to scream “Look out!” in the tone he used (which I can assure you was not a passive request). Why was there a need to use such an accusatory tone with the innocent walkers, as if they had no right to be on the track…surely a tingle of the bell and a call of ‘Passing” would have sufficed.
I was reminded today of an amazing journey, one that took place around 23 years ago. But it still seems like yesterday and it is a journey which was a game changer…I just didn’t know it at the time.
Sometimes those moments in life where we think we have it all are lost quickly. Trashed in a nano-second by a negative comment, or by a desire to acquire something we thought was important but wasn’t, a new job or maybe a bad day. How many times has that happened to you?
So here is what my reminder was. I was asked by Tim Goldby of the Bicycle Channel to supply some photos, if I could, of my time in Denmark which I had mentioned to him. Tim has been making a small film about Wheel Women for his Bicycle Channel short film series (check it out via Twitter, https://twitter.com/tbc_tv), and during the course of filming Tim asked me if I had always been a bike rider.
I still can’t work out whether I’m angry or have been reduced yet again to being a stupid woman in a bike shop who knows nothing.
What is it with these bike shop guys who just make that instant assumption that I’m an idiot and know nothing about bikes, or riding, or in fact anything at all that requires even the tiniest amount of technical know how – like how to take my water bottle from the cage and drink, while heaven forbid, I’m riding at the same time! (It’s called multi-tasking I believe).
So I walk into the bike shop, one I wouldn’t normally go to, and wander around checking out the bike candy…nice gear I think to myself. I didn’t want to be too conspicuous because frankly I was just there to get one thing, on the off chance they’d have it…but oh the distractions of pretty bikes. The Dura-Ace on the carbon frame, glowing yellow bar tape, and the beautiful matt black underbelly of the frame…..STOP!!! This is NOT what I went into the shop for.
So what the hell am I meant to write on a blog? Well, to be honest I guess I’m not entirely sure, but probably all those things we talk about while we’re out riding and we say ‘oh, that should go in a blog’. Countless times we’ve said that and I know that there are so many tangents this could travel to.
But really, all this blog is about is to share some of that fun stuff that happens on rides, and is far too big to put on Facebook or Twitter. Most of it is funny, some of it is very serious and some of it just plain ridiculous…like what the Wheel Women Rules might be.