Bike Soft Porn: Tales from Junior High

When I was in junior high I wasn't cool. People who know me might not believe this. They see me as super outgoing and a friend to many. But I usually feel like I live in, on or around the margins. I mean, no one stuffed me into a locker but I was always somewhere in between. Kind of like I am now. Never been into the "right" kind of music and certainly never had the "right" clothes. I've always vacillated somewhere between not really caring and trying not to care. Cycling is the same for me. When I line up to race I don't feel like all the other girls. My clothing is different. My helmet not quite the "right helmet" and don't even get me started on how my lungs are just not like the other girls.

But one thing I can say is that I LOVE community. Even if I am just knocking on the door of the margins. On the one hand I can think of a million reasons to not join a group. Not fast enough. Don't have the best bike. Don't have the right lungs. Have no idea what type of helmet to wear and then there's the whole part about just not being good enough.

But wait. What's that you say? "But Cheri, nothing bothers you. You are so confident." Wrong. Stuff bothers me. I get intimidated. I get nervous. There is so much I don't know. So much you think I know but I don't. And this by the way can be said for everything--not just bike related topics.

But I do it anyway. And I ride when asked. And I race when it's time. And I show up because I love riding my bike and I love the way I feel when I'm all done. This isn't one of those 'you should race because I do' articles. This is the 'join a group and ride your ass off' article.

Consider being like me. A bit scared. Definitely intimidated. Uncertain. Out of your element. Whether you were pushed into a locker or you did the pushing or you routinely lost your locker code consider letting go of worrying about being different. Of being the worst. Or always last. Or the slowest.

Join me in cyclocross this season. I'll proudly be wearing a team jersey. Probably with the wrong helmet. Or just ride with me. Or join a Gurlz ride with BMA. Do a free clinic with Boulder Cycle Sport. Just join the movement called cycling. We're waiting for you.
-Cheri Felix

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