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What Cycling Has Taught Me About Being a Women

I feel like I grew up and was brought up with a belief that I had the choice to do what I wanted in life and I was not bound by gender stereotypes. This went from the activities I pursued to my ambitions in a profession. Come to think of it the male typical activities and jobs appealed to me most, perhaps as they would be put into the forefront of what we engage with growing up. I also felt quite lost through it, with little sense of belonging.

I got into cycling through being an injured runner. It was the best way to vent out my frustration of being unable to run. I never felt a barrier in terms of my gender that stood in the way of getting started. Yes, the technical aspect of it intimidated me, such as the shoes and all the kit. But it also intrigued me and I am a problem solver. What I did start to notice was just not really feeling a part, I felt welcomed and challenged riding with a group, but socially I was with a group on men often having to rush back to their families. Often when there were other women, there was never a bond as we were both in the mix of a men's club.

When I started racing it really hit me, seeing the hugely participated races of men, compared to a few women turning up. In fact after my first experience of racing was with just about 5 girls in the race, I never took it up again until years later. I plucked up the courage to race and was very nervous, only to find out I was racing around a track on my own. Then on the other hand at times having to race with men, who have an unfair advantage over women.

Growing up, I never thought the need to have separate groups, I was happy to go along with the men. Even now it's nice to have options and company of both, without having to feel like we are trying to be men. Now I think we live in a world, that yes as women we have freedom and options, but we do need work harder to fit in and secondly and we haven't completely let go our our responsibilities typically held by women, so we are juggling so much day to day. To have something that really puts the needs of females first is something quite special and something that we hope to provide within Girls Get Strong Cycling.

I know we all have a different story about what cycling has taught them about being a women, I know for many that they don't feel it should be something for them as it's more typical to see a man on a bike. So now it's wonderful to see that changing and that's why it is so important for us all to get out and achieve more through our passion for cycling.

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