#GIRLBOSS


I am the most impatient person when it comes to finishing a book. You know when you get about two thirds of the way through, and it feels like you’re never going to get to the end? It results in me reading quite a lot just so I can reach the end.

That was the case with #GIRLBOSS, not because it was a bad book in any way, purely because I wanted to absorb everything in it.

This book is realistic. I’ve read ‘The Chimp Paradox’ but #GIRLBOSS has had a much bigger impact on me. Sophia Amoruso takes us from when she was a teen to now running a huge global fashion business, which all started from selling vintage clothes on eBay.

I could take you through what’s in the book, but I’d much rather recommend you read it for yourself and come up with your own verdict on the book.

Whether it is to do with life in general or what not to put in your cover letter of a job application. Sophia says it as it is.

Sunday Morning

Normally when my brain decides it wants to wake up at 6 in the morning…I’m not best pleased with it. Rolling over to look at your alarm clock to find it won’t be going off for another 2 hours isn’t ideal, but that was the exact scenario I found myself in this morning.

I nearly went back to sleep but seeing the sun outside, and the thought of the rain that’s suppose to hit later, I dragged myself out of bed to have breakfast. 

The thought of what on earth I’m doing waking up on a Sunday at 6 crossed my mind multiple times. Especially when the route I had planned had some rather steep climbs. 

I’ve not done any long distance rides for a while, and that soon became blatantly obvious on my way up the climbs. I had to stand up on the bike to pedal…a lot. 

Bar one mishap involving lack of traction in the rear wheel and me nearly falling on my face, I managed to get up all the climbs. I don’t think I’ll ever get use to clipping in…ha!

Despite my tired legs and early start, being able to see this view before work was beyond worth it.

Exploring World’s End

You know that feeling you get after a good ride on the bike. Your muscles hurt, yet your not all that bothered about it. You know it was worth it.

When an email off Chris from Hotlines UK, a UK bike product distributor, popped up in my Inbox I was more than happy showing him what North Wales had to offer in terms of natural trails and single-track.

Throughout the day I was feeling dubious as to whether our planned ride over World’s End would be a good idea. The rain was on and off, but was quite heavy at times. I very nearly bailed and said to ride in Llandegla forest instead. After his long drive from Edinburgh, I doubt Chris would have wanted a long ride in the pouring rain!

And there was the slight concern in the back of my mind that…the route I had planned I had never actually done all in one loop. And I hadn’t ridden there for a while either. Probably not the best idea when you’re the only one who’s suppose to know where they’re going….

But the weather cleared up, so I took the risk of showing Chris round World’s End after all. With it being the Summer Solstice too, I knew the views wouldn’t disappoint.

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Despite not being 100% on some sections, I didn’t actually need to bring my map out at all. It was all off memory and knowing which general direction we needed to go. So I’ve obviously progressed from my days of getting lost on back roads and having to ring my Brother to figure out where I am…. yes I did that ha!

Going to World’s End always seems to put the little pieces of the jigsaw in my head back into the right places. It brings back a feeling of content. I was switched on in relation to the trail in-front of me, but I completely switched off from everything else I’ve got going on right now.

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I might be riding my Mondraker hardtail less often, but every ride seems to count. It’s not just because I feel like I have to go out. It’s because I want to.

Thankfully Chris enjoyed the ride, but we both figured it would be better to start on the Llangollen side so all the climbing is at the start and not the end of the ride!

Where is the Cycling Industry at right now?

After reading a recent post by Cycling Weekly about female riders feeling there are actually no barriers to women to start cycling, and hearing Chris Boardman’s opinion on the subject the other day. It got me thinking.

Where is the cycling industry at right now, and where is it heading?

I had a bit of a long-winded start to riding bikes. I’ve always ridden bikes but my first experience of mountain biking was in 2006. (I still cringe at the photos of me wearing Adidas tracksuit bottoms to go riding…) But due to lack of people to ride with I didn’t ride all that much in high school. By college I had come across the GirlMTNBiker group on Facebook, so times had clearly changed with the growing number of women on bikes.

Yet we are still in the minority. Working in the bike industry only further highlights this with most of the sales reps coming into shops I have worked in being male. And I’ll be brutally honest, some having the mentality that most women hate about the cycling industry. That looking ‘easy on the eye’ is important. Not all sales reps, but some.

But then is it just the cycling industry to blame? Media in general doesn’t help.

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It’s nearly a year since Girls At Moelfre, and it’s still something I am incredibly lucky to have been able to organise. (With plenty of help!) One comment from one of the girls I’ll never forget is that they were treated like mountain bikers, not ‘girls on bikes’. There were no men to complicate things by putting the point across of not ‘having the right bike’ for the tracks. They brought the bikes they had and gave the tracks a go. Even if they made up their own little route down and missed some parts, or they went full steam ahead and tried everything. They were riding bikes and enjoying it. And to me that was all that mattered and it was exactly the same for Girls At Llangollen.

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There’s plenty of us out there who ride bikes. It’s just a case of bringing them together to the same place.

I have heard about men complaining about the growing number of female-only events, and yes the amount of Girls At Moelfre type events for the guys are lacking. But there’s nothing stopping them organising their own events. Or maybe we’re at a point now where events may not need to be male or female-only. What point do you think we’re at?

It would be great to hear your opinions on this, and keep checking my blog for post about some exciting plans in the pipeline for Lucy’s Life & Bikes.

An Evening With Chris Boardman

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An Evening with Chris Boardman

It’s not often you get an opinion from someone who is involved with British Cycling that hasn’t been twisted by the press. Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to Mountain Biking and British Cycling, but you can’t ignore what they’ve done for Road and Track Cycling.

Organised by Booka Bookshop, which is an Oswestry based bookshop and cafe, the event actually took place at The Marches School. After videos were shown of his legacy in the sport James Bond, from Radio Shropshire, quizzed the previously professional cyclist on topics covered in his Autobiography ‘Triumphs & Turbulence’.

I could write about these topics covered in Chris Boarman‘s book…

How his 1 hour record was the most horrifically painful experience he had ever had on a bike…

Or how Wiggins wanting to up sticks and move to France to continue his cycling career brought Chris Boardman back into cycling…

But I’m not as some interesting points were brought up in the Q&A’s:

  • His views on female cycling
  • Dealing with nerves
  • Recent dramas that have hit British Cycling

During the Q&A’s I put forward the question on what his view was of women and cycling, and his lengthy answer came as a surprise.

His view was that for women’s cycling to do well you needed a handful of things.

  • You needed not only women’s races, but a pool of female riders to fill those races.
  • The races and rider numbers attract sponsors.
  • Then people to run those events.

He also brought up that equal prize money is around the corner, but prize money isn’t what athletes live on. They live on salaries which come from sponsors.

Although it will have predominantly been related to road and track cycling, I think his answers can be applied to mountain biking too. Women just need the opportunities to have a go at these things to boost the amount of women in the sport. Yet the growing number of women on bikes is already visible.

Dealing with nerves was one of the first topics covered at the event and was brought up numerous times again throughout the evening.

At the start of his career he dealt with all of the nerves and the ‘what if’s’ going through his head before big races. His nerves got to a point prior to the ’92 Barcelona Olympics of (excuse the language) ‘F*ck it. I’ll be the best I can be.’ He said at that point he wasn’t trying to win a medal, he was ‘doing’ something. That something being the best he can be. All of the ‘what if’s’are not in your control, but you are in control of yourself. Waiting is always the hardest bit with racing, because once you’re actually in the race you can get on with it.

With British Cycling having been in the press so much recently, it was inevitable that it was going to come up. His response to this question from the audience was what was put in the press had details left out. It was all very one sided. The way I look at it is the life of an athlete is a tense and highly strung one. And whatever comes out in the newspapers? Will you ever know how close or far it all is from the truth? These events may have happened, but only the people who were actually there will know what happened for sure. And what else happened alongside it.

British Cycling over previous successful years has had many people behind it. Who’s outside of the box thinking brought about the success which materialised into gold medals. As Chris Boardman said, yes the reputation was damaged but is now seen as a clean sport. The sport of cycling has struggled but is now better for it.

I’m still here!

Since I’ve not written much for a while I thought I’d post a little update of what I’ve been up to.

I hate to say it but bikes have taken a little bit of a back seat. It won’t be for long…I promise! Coming into 2016 I realised a lot of things needed sorting out.

My 20th birthday next month is fast approaching and until recently I was working 2 days a week with no real direction. I knew where I wanted to go but these things take time to sort out. And slowly they are. But I will be sure to let you know about recent big developments once they’re all finalised!

Some projects are still ongoing like interviews and other things.

Stay with me. I’ll be back writing more regularly soon enough!