It’s a lot like riding a bike!
We are all familiar with the old adage “it’s a lot like riding a bike” but the phrase has taken on new meaning this year as I have come back to two wheels after a long respite. So far I have learnt that yes, you might grow out of biking, but only if you let it happen.
I still remember as a 9 year old standing in front of my grandma trying to explain to her why it was important that she left the tea party and her friends, with a shy grin and a scraped knees, I can still feel the grit stinging my skin as Grandma’s friends looked on, but my grandma’s patience seemed infinite as she yet again took me to wash the dirt off and put me back on my bike, knowing I would be back before her whimpering and sheepish soon enough.
Between now and then a lot has happened. You keep growing up, you turn your mind to learning new (less fun) things, and it is easy to forget the joy that went along with those scraped knees and sour looks from over the brim of a tea cup. It’s easy to forget the pleasure of two wheels, the sense of freedom then is different but still the same, then it was seeing how far you could get from home before being in trouble, now it is how long can you go without checking your work emails., there is a sense of escapism at all times.
Once again I wanted to show off, do skids and scrape my knees. This time I wanted to show off to my boyfriend and spend some time with him. Like so many female riders, I wanted to connect with ‘boyfriend’ and make sure he wasn’t hanging out with some gorgeous ‘sports catalogue’ model whilst on the uplift back to the top of another run down a mountain somewhere.
Quickly, what started out for probably all the wrong reasons has turned into something wonderful and liberating (also it is rewarding to see ‘boyfriend’s’ face when I adequately explain what ‘CTD’ or ‘650b’ mean).
Whilst I have enjoyed every step of the way, it is clear to me that this world I have entered isn’t perfectly designed for my gender, despite what some of the marketing material suggests. We are a long way from the late 90’s bike adverts, peppered with semi-naked women looking dead behind the eyes, but from ‘the outside’ women do not appear to be equal stakeholders in this amazing pursuit.
I hope that shouting about my journey back into two wheels might add to the growing dialogue, might encourage others to share their experience, and someone to explain what ‘women’s specific’ means in practice…
December 20, 2015