Sunday, May 16, 2010

chicks and biking

The other day, I heard about a young cyclist in my bike club, Julia. Julia has progressed from a beginner rider on a Craig's List bike and one pair of bike shorts to a seasoned veteran winning her first Crit and Road Race on a new and better bike. Julia did this in one year. I saw Julia out biking the other day when I was out.

Julia has gone from average cyclist to top-notch cyclists. How did she do this?? How did Julia manage to avoid all the toxic naysayers in a female's life?

I was in my local bike store the other day. I see a fit teenage girl with her dad. The bike store clerk is showing her some big awful hybrid bike. Her dad says she will not bike much, probably never do anything other than bike trails or beach boardwalk biking. Store clerk agrees. I could not resist. I say,"buy her the best bike you can afford, a road bike and get her biking."

I was out biking a few days ago and see a wife and husband biking. Again, the wife is on some horrible bike struggling like crazy to climb a small hill.

When I bike with my chick friends, I often hear the ladies denigrating themselves. I am too fat to bike fast. I am out of shape. I cannot go up that hill. It never ends. Toxic negativity. Toxic negativity from their husbands and boyfriends. Toxic folks telling them they cannot be a better rider, toxic folks telling them not to upgrade their bikes. I was riding with a fellow about 42 years old. I asked him where his wife was. He said she cannot ride on these roads, she is too afraid. Apparently he is not afraid yet he is quick to say his wife is. I don't get this.

So much naysaying. Always the negative thoughts that getting as good as Julia did is something of an anomaly. Only some athletic chick can do that.

I want to see more chicks doing what Julia has done. I would like to see chicks taking up the sport of biking and doing more than ride your hybrid at the beach. My county, Chester, in PA seems to have lots of female cyclists. My bike club supports chicks hoping to get better.

My club offers many levels of rides and goes out of its way to encourage women to ride and for women to get better. Despite my county doing little to support biking in terms of on road amenities such as no shoulders, and when and if there are shoulders, they are filled with gravel and tree debris, the numbers of female cyclists I see on the roads of Chester County is definitely growing.

So here's to the women in my county hitting the roads on good road bikes and doing it often on solo rides.


lindsay said...

Hi Libby - I found this post very encouraging! I'm doing my first tri in August and just made my first road bike purchase on Friday. I'm very excited to get into the sport, and your post was a great encouragement. I admit I'm fearful of the roads, clip ins, and if I can keep up with the boys. The message I'm sending to myself is get over it! :)

Libby Maxim said...

the only way to get rid of the fears and the constant comparison of yourself to others on bikes, is to BIKE and bike a lot, the more you bike, the better you get, you do not need formal training, train like a kid plays, often and for fun