Cycling has always been a way to indulge my passions. It has become my passion itself, but it wasn’t always my first love.
As a child I was crazy about horses, fortunate enough to be living in a rural, equestrian area and unfortunate enough to not have the rich Daddy that pony-ownership requires. I mean, I had – and still have – a Daddy, or Dave as I prefer to call him, but he’s a retired teacher not an investment banker.
But, I did have a bike and some initiative, and so I cycled day in and day out, looking for horses, finding horses, knocking on people’s doors asking ‘can I work for rides?’, working with horses and riding horses. And it was my bike that got me there and back.
Yeah I know, what’s this got to do with outfits, or even cycling? Bear with me. After I set aside ambitions of becoming a professional event rider (horses, not bikes. Sorry. Confusing) I decided to follow another passion – writing.
Years of badly-paid, amazing fun followed as I worked my way up from local papers into deputy editing a national magazine. But journalism wasn’t enough – I wanted to write books. One day, riding to work (bike, not horse this time) it occurred to me that instead of ‘trying’ to write a book about something I knew nothing about, I should just write one about what I knew.
And I knew plenty about cycling – I’d been doing it for 23 years by then. Not professionally, not at a level above commuting and fun rides, but I certainly knew enough about cycling to be able to answer any question thrown at me from girls who began sentences with ‘I’d love to cycle – but how do you…?’ And as a senior journalist with years of experience under my belt, I sure as hell knew how to research a subject.
Five years later, in 2013, The Girl’s Guide to Life on Two Wheels was published. This is my cycling book. I love it. It’s not my first book, but it’s the one I put my heart, soul and everything into.
And this is the outfit I’m wearing in my author photo.
What I wanted to do with The Girl’s Guide was to make cycling accessible to everybody with (or without – I don’t discriminate) a vagina. I wanted to provide a catalyst to help women go from ‘I wish I could, but’ to ‘I cycle’. I wanted to inform not patronise, amuse and entertain, inspire and motivate. I wanted to get the message across that you can cycle and be you.
You don’t have to change yourself, your style, your preferences or your personality in order to cycle. You can wear what you want, you can ride what you want – the only requirement is that you love it.
Since The Girl’s Guide was published in April this year I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to write about cycling for this here publication and several others. I’ve achieved my ambition of becoming a writer for national newspapers, something which until this year eluded me.
I’ve met awesome women and become a total fan girl (ask MuleBarGirl-Sigma Sport who were treated to my naked pregnant belly with a message of support scrawled across it ahead of IG London Nocturne!) I’ve been invited to go on a bike ride with Chris Hoy. And I’ve been sent lovely things that enable me to ride in outfits like this beauty below:
- Café tights, Ana Nichoola
- Ruu Muu dress, Minx
- Merino jersey, Vulpine
- Undies (not seen but still fabulous) Velobici
But I can only do it because I once rode, and posed in, outfits like the grey jumper and jeans. This is still my byline photo when I write for the Telegraph. Next year I’ll probably change it to something a bit more ‘pro’ but for this year, this is who I am.
I’ve learned so much and had so much fun since I wrote the Girl’s Guide that I’m thinking of penning a follow-up. The Girl’s Guide to Going Pro, anybody?