As with any sport it can be very daunting and overwhelming when you walk into a completely foreign arena. Questions, fears, hesitance, embarrassment, and so many emotions are rushing through you that by the time you even get on a bike you are stressed out.
Here is a list of things I wish I had known, and I wish more women knew, when they first walk into a bike shop or get into the sport. Over the next few weeks I’ll explain more in depth so they become clickable links.
- You do not have to ride a women’s bike just because you are a woman
- Don’t wear underwear under your bike shorts – it will cause chaffing and can trap in moisture
- Bike shorts will feel like diapers, the more expensive they are, the better they will fit, and the longer they will last.
- Do not put a gel pad on top of your bike seat, you are putting a band aid on a bad fitting bike or saddle
- Wear a helmet you idiot. It won’t save your life if your head gets run over a car, but most of my accidents it has kept me from getting a concussion, broken nose and in some states it can be looked at as negligence if you are hit by a car without a helmet and have head injuries.
- You do not need to feel uncomfortable while buying a bike. Just like a car, find a new shop, or in the beginning tell your fears or worries so the bike shop can address them.
- Bike shops can not read your mind. Tell them to the best of your abilities what you want to do with your bike, what your longer term goals are and what your budget is.
- As fast as humanly possible, find a group to ride with. It will make you a better rider and you will feel safer.
- It is okay to be scared and have fear. Learn to harness it and “push” through things. Always try to conquer your fear, if you can’t manage the hill or rock garden, get off but at least try. (I forget this one at times!)
- You do not need to have a fancy bike to enjoy riding a bicycle.
This list could be 100 points long. What are the things you know now that you tell beginner cyclist?
Finding motivation is something that during any point of a day we all struggle with. Motivation to get out of bed when your alarm sounds, motivation to follow your dreams, motivation to set goals, and motivation to live the life you want to live.
Often I am motivated by people, by photos, by quotes and even sometimes desires. My latest motivation is by helping my girlfriend over come her mountain biking fears and becoming a better cyclist this summer. Finding motivation and creating motivation is a unique thing in life. You need to find what really drives you, what drives you to be better, to make others better.
Last year a friend and I created EM:PWR cycling, to empower other cyclist while empowering yourself. First thing first is what is important, what isn’t important and how do you prioritize those in life?
This weekend it meant forgetting the Garmin, not bashing on the front of the ride but sitting at the back chatting away.
What did you do this weekend? How did you EM:PWR others? I wore unmatching spandex, poking fun of myself, feeling fears, showing emotion and did my best not to intimidate my girlfriend while riding my singlespeed on the mountain bike trail.
Why do we do this anyways?
why do we ride bikes
why do I write blogs
why do I take pictures
why do I make coffee
It makes us happy, it fills a need, we are passionate about it, it is an addiction.
I do like to ride my bike fast, I like to keep up with the spandex crowd and shoot the shit.
Here’s the thing though, at the end of the day the thing that brings me the most joy is helping others overcome their fears and getting more butts on bikes. That’s what we need to make cycling a safer hobby, more butts on bikes. Earlier this week I was called out on practicing what I preach. As I’ve gotten more wrapped up in “training” then family or friends. They do overlap to a point but doing well in cyclocross this fall isn’t as important as getting my girlfriend on a mountain bike more this summer.
After some soul searching over the past few weeks, a busy schedule, some driving and not a lot of riding this is what I’ve come up with. As a tech geek I plan on still reviewing new high end product as the time arises but I also plan on moving focus back to motivation and tips. Things you can’t find else where on the inter-web.
Let’s focus on bikes for the joy of riding. For finding your freedom, for finding yourself, for losing weight or losing yourself.
Dog neutered, complications, recovery, server and malware issues, new fun/rep/bike traveling vehicle to be had, some bike rides, some new friends and now.. it’s the 4th of July. Sitting here watching my dog tied to a couch leg so not to move, the Tour de France on TV and a long list of things in my head that need to be done.
How is your summer going?