For me cycling is more than just a sport I participate in. Encouraging girls to enjoy being active and being outdoors is just as important.
Growing up I couldn’t quite decide whether being a ‘tomboy’ or ‘girly’ suited me best. When most girls ‘found’ make-up, I still had scars on my shins from many failed attempts to keep up with my brother on my bike. Social media was beginning to grow in popularity and I felt I had to act a certain way to be considered ‘normal’. I’d go from being outgoing and loud, to being crippled by nerves with the many judgemental comments I thought might be fired back at me going through my head. Even the smallest comments stuck with for a long time. Some of them still do.
Finding bikes changed that.
I’ve had those rare runs where I’m at the top of a Downhill track and I’m completely tuned in to what’s around me and what lays ahead. Riding on instinct instead of thinking how I can get to the bottom as soon as possible. Relaxing into corners and saving wash-outs. All of a sudden how I looked or acted wasn’t important. Chasing adrenalin was.
When I got a message of Lizzie, who I use to go to school with, I jumped at the chance to talk at her Girl Guides & Brownies group about helping the girls get out on their bikes this Summer. If I could encourage even just one of these girls to go and ride her bike this Summer, it would be worth it.
I started the talk by asking the girls to attach labels I’d made to the parts of the bike they thought they might be. Seeing them so willing to get involved was quite humbling.
After going through how to check their bikes were safe to what is good to put in their backpacks, Q&A’s followed. With them asking so many good (and sometimes difficult to answer!) questions, I hope they have the most amazing Summer out on their bikes! Talking in front of a lot of people isn’t exactly a strong point of mine, but they were so polite and a credit to their families & Lizzie.