Cycling: Why Getting Started Will Change Your Life
This one goes out to our non-cycling friends (or as we like to think about them - friends who haven't started cycling yet). You might be wondering why we're all obsessed with our bikes, spending money we don't have on colorful bike apparel, new shiny bike parts, and planning trips which centre around our ability to get out and ride bikes.
We don't blame you, you haven't caught the bug yet.
Question: When you picture a "cyclist", what images come to mind?
If you're a non-cyclist, possibly Tour de France or Giro professional riders, clad in tight fitting lycra splattered with advertising? Possibly the MAMIL (middle aged men in lycra) brigade out in full force in the mornings and in huge bunch rides over the weekend, or crammed around a single table at a cafe waiting for their flat whites in silly shoes?
While these mental images certainly have their place - and believe us, stereotypes exist for a reason! - riding bikes is so much more than that.
CWRB is a community devoted solely to helping women, not only find cycling as a hobby, but build self-confidence and self-belief while doing it. You might say it's our jam (our lady-jam if you are a Pitch Perfect fan).
Over the past 10 years, we've put on clinics, events and rides that have helped literally thousands of women find the simple joy that is getting on a bicycle and going for a pedal. We have so many testimonials of how cycling has changed these women's lives.
So if you're new to cycling, here's how you can expect your life to change.
Re-discovering the familiar
One of the biggest things we hear new cyclists say - no matter if they're riding a road bike or a commuter to work - is that they're able to look at where they live in a whole different way. Your street, your neighbourhood, your city... they all look completely different when you're sitting in a car.
You'll notice things you've never noticed before once you start riding bikes. It might be the time of year leaves start changing... it might be how beautiful the local stream looks after a bit of rain. There is SO MUCH beauty in the simplicity of every day.
Jordana Blackman, Chief Chick of Chicks Who Ride Bikes
Feeling capable as hell
Part of riding bikes is learning how to look after them. It's super scary at first - and you get all kinds of thoughts running through your head, like "how on earth am I mean to fix that?!" But just like anything, you learn. You learn from videos. You learn from your friends. You learn from a coach or instructor. And it's that feeling of being able to do something that mere weeks ago felt impossible will make you feel capable as hell.
I guess cycling has made me feel more capable than I gave myself credit for. I went cycling around Italy for god's sake! 5 years ago, if you had told me that I would have laughed in your face. But I've done it. And it was the trip of a lifetime.
Cathy Peel (51), Brisbane
Expand your friendship circle
As an adult, it's not easy to make new friends. A lot of us rely on people from work, or people our spouse knows or just people we somehow met decades ago. And whle there's nothing inherently wrong with this, you'll find that by getting started cycling and joining a group or finding your #ridecrew, your friendship circle will expand not only in numbers, but in diversity.
If the common ground between you and another person was that they ride bikes too, and not that they're also in finance or live in your neighbourhood, imagine how many different types of people from different walks of life you'll meet.
I'm 35, and before I started riding, I'd have considered most of my friends to be also 35, white and from the same kind of background. Since starting cycling, I have friends from all over the world of all different ages. I regularly get together with a friend of mine who is 61 and we get on like a house on fire. I just didn't realise how much more expanded my mind and my views would become by expanding my friendship circle.
Forget the superficial
There's way too much pressure and focus now on the way women's bodies look. My god, all you need to do is look at any form of media in any language in any country on earth and you'll be bombarded with airbrushed women advertising a product that comes with the hint of a promise that if you buy this, your life will finally begin.
Riding bikes will help you to inject the adventure, laughter, friendship, sense of achievement you've always craved, whenever you want.
As women, we are so often reduced to our body parts. Lips like Kylie, a butt like Kim. It's all nonsense. Riding bikes has taught me that my body is an incredible gift because it allows me to see the world. Go on adventures with my friends. Try things I never would have thought possible. When I'm riding, Im only thinking about what's around the next corner, not what my ass looks like in these shorts.
It's only once you start riding bikes that you realise how many parallels there are to life. Of course, we all know Albert Einstein's famous comparison: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."
But you'll find that the further into the rabbit hole you go, the more similarities and analogies you'll see. The ability to overcome obstacles (literal and figurative) requires practice, patience and a self-belief that you can overcome it. Appreciating the journey, not just the destination is another nice parallel to draw.
For me, a big one is building resilience, and this is a lesson you learn quickly if you complete your first event or race. You come up against a flat tyre, sure you can have a tantrum about it (and I have many times), but eventually you need to decide if you're going to get up and try to fix it.
Download CWRB Now
Want to connect with other likeminded women who ride?
Check out the CWRB app - it's FREE, designed by women for women,
and suitable for all types of riding and all levels!