Author: Cheri Felix
Happy Women’s Wednesday. I’ve been thinking about you and so I thought I’d put off making breakfast and lunches and write you a story. Here goes.
My daughter came home the other day talking about what she learned in school. I know these conversations might not last into high school so I try to listen when this happens. And she said, “Mom the teacher said that something like 4 out of every 8 women and girls in the world don’t like the way their body looks and that some of them stop their sport like gymnastics or soccer because of it.”
Now this is not the point in the conversation to say “Can I get a fact check on that honey?” It’s the time to say lots of other things including “What do you think about that?” It’s a bit of a heartbreaker to talk about body image even though I know it’s a good thing. What does this have to do with you and your bike? Everything. We are role models. They are watching every time you throw that leg over your bike and try on those bike clothes and wear that lycra or your baggies. Girls and other women look to each other for our cues. What is she wearing? What is she saying? What is she doing?
Whether it makes you comfortable or not it matters what you say and how you show up and if you show up. Every time I race a short track on a Wednesday night and get my ass handed to me and my kids are watching everything I say about it matters. Big responsibility I know. For that and many more reasons that’s why we show up to races like (wait, there aren’t any others like it) the Beti Bike Bash. We sign up and we race and we have fun and if we are old enough we have a beer knowing that we just contributed to the sport of women’s cycling. Just because we showed up. And know what else? There are a bunch of Little Bellas there too and they are watching and taking note.
So, start getting that drive train dusted off. If you don’t know what a drive train is ask me. This is not the time for being intimidated. Start pulling out the chamois and the shirts and your favorite socks. The season is almost here. Grab a friend, sign up for a clinic, start a group, and/or sign up for the Beti Bike Bash. Let’s try to smash that 4 out of every 8 idea. Let’s set a goal that all women and girls will accept their bodies and that nothing will get in their way from riding their bikes or stepping onto the jiu jitsu mat or signing up for their first 5K. Do it for all of us.