When I moved from Los Angeles to Seattle, I stopped in Portland (among other places) and finally met a woman (Heidi Swift) who I thought was an amazing cyclist then. Now I think she’s WICKED amazing. I’ve tweeted about it, and posted on facebook about it, and have wanted to do a blog post about it. I’ve been lazy though, and finally I am going to write that post.
I think maybe I’ve even been more of a chicken than lazy. I thought, “Who wants to read what I write?” And then I got an email from a friend from Australia who said he really enjoyed what I wrote on Unsuredness. So, I’m writing again.
Back to the subject at hand: Inspiration. I just finished my first Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, and I did it as a Ride Referee. My job was to ride the route and help people if they needed it, encourage people to say “On your left” as they passed and also to not wear earbuds as they rode. I know this last one is an issue, but it’s a safety thing also. You’re riding with 10k other riders, at least in this instance, and there are cars, and who knows what will happen?! Anyway, I have never done two centuries in the space of two days, and when a friend said that she wanted to do a double century, I said “oooh, wow.” And then realized I was doing it.
I don’t think I could have done it without the inspiration of the ReveTour women. Reading their posts and stories, however difficult a time they’re having, is inspiring. Heidi and her teammates are riding the Tour de France one day prior to the official Tour. They’re doing a monumental feat of cycling. And no matter what happens, they keep going. One of the team was hit by a car, suffered a hairline tailbone fracture and has kept riding. Heidi just broke her bike today and is riding a loaner that is too big – AND SHE KEEPS RIDING. They’re riding because this is an amazing opportunity and also to raise money for Bikes Belong. Bikes Belong has a mission that is simple and awesome: to put more people on bicycles more often. (So you should donate.) No team of women has ever done the entire course. I’m kind of frustrated that NBC Sports hasn’t done ANY interviews with the team. At least some of the pros in Le Tour have given them shout-outs.
Heidi and her teammates (I keep name-dropping Heidi, because she is the only one I know personally) are an inspiration to women cyclists (I know this from the tweets I’ve gotten) and make me take myself on my bike more seriously. Women are not the same as men, we don’t do the same things as male cyclists. But we can ride bikes often, encourage little girls to cycle, and encourage our friends and our moms to cycle. This is what we must do.
It does help to have inspiration. And I thank them for it each time I go to bed and think of cycling the next day. I whined a bit on Saturday before I went to bed, at the halfway point between Portland and Seattle… and then I thought of the ReveTour women. And quickly shut up and said “I will ride and LIKE it.”
And I did.