I didn't choose the thug life ...
When this whole cyclist thing started, all I wanted to do was ride my bike.
You know, be like a normal person, but on a bike.
So I hopped on, I think I was wearing a t-shirt and capri pants, and sandals.
And I had a ball.
So I bought the bike.
And I rode to the local shops and around the block to look at my neighbourhood.
And then I wanted more.
So I went for a ride with Sprocketman
And for that, to go faster and further and be comfortable, I wore Lycra padded shorts.
It was ok, it was just clothes after all.
And for the first time, a motorist beeped their horn at me, in anger.
I was nonplussed.
And I've noticed, I ride the same bike, but in Lycra I'm a cyclist and cop more abuse than when I wear jeans or a dress and ride many of the same roads.
I don't like being pushed around.
So I push back.
And suddenly …
I'm a militant cyclist.
I started off as a girl who wanted to have fun and ride her bike.
See what you made me do ?
There's no more telling statement than this from my colleague (he has asked to be referred to as "The Mayor of Manly" who is a good guy, law abiding and a sensible rider; who rides in triathlons and rides to and from work in Lycra; “I don’t call myself a cyclist”.
There's no greater confirmation that we live in a car-centric society when someone like that still doesn't want to identify himself as a cyclist.
And a few months ago when I was asking people if they wanted to participate in a corporate cycling challenge (spoiler, we came third) one of the guys, quite rudely I thought, said “But why are you organising this?” Unwittingly highlighting everything that is wrong with the average Australian's perception of bike riding.
Yeah, why are YOU, you middle-aged, slightly overweight woman, organising anything to do with cycling?
Umm, because I'm here to ride my bike, have lots of fun and encourage other people to have fun as well. I ignored him and the rest of us went on a group ride at lunchtime and had a blast together.
Bikes aren't the sole province of MAMILs, or even of men, or even of athletes of either gender.
Anyone can ride their bike.
Wearing whatever they like.
And anyone should.