We live our lives online these days. When you first start getting into cycling, it can be really motivating to follow other cyclists on social media. There are so many inspirational women out there who are traversing the globe, pushing themselves to their limits and achieving incredible things. If you’re anything like me, you love following these amazing stories, but on a deeper level find yourself feeling a little inadequate in comparison.
Social media acts as an echo chamber, bringing you more of the content you appear to enjoy, which means if you’re following several epic cyclists, you’ll start to see more and more. Eventually, it can seem like the whole world is racing the Transcontinental, or climbing the Passo Dello Stelvio, and gradually we shrink into ourselves feeling intimidated and unworthy.
I know this feeling well. I only got into cycling a couple of years ago, and if I’m completely honest, I only got into it to impress a boy. We’re still together, so it totally worked, but thankfully I caught the bug anyway. With his encouragement, I began riding longer distances, and the real turning point for me was when I rode my first 80 miles from Bristol to Oxford, to attend the Women and Bicycles Festival at the Broken Spoke Co-op.
There I met some members of The Adventure Syndicate and watched the premiere of their North Coast 500 film. Feeling super inspired and proud of my long ride, I signed up for a 200k ride with them in the Yorkshire Dales, the following month.
Then the fear set in…