Thursday, October 22, 2009

We Don't Want A Bigger Piece Of The Pie. We Want A Different Pie.

The Sugarspokes crew mentioned on the internet the other day that they were going to head down to the Harrison Street Velodrome on their weekly ride. I knew I'd be in the neighbourhood and so volunteered to show them around. Despite my incorrect genitalia they took me up on my offer and rolled up at around seven last night, looking nervous as hell but equally keen.

I'd made some vague plans about various activities, but really, when you've not been out on the track before the best thing you can do to familiarise yourself is just to roll around until you feel comfortable. So that's pretty much what happened. After a while I suggested they form a paceline, and they did that for a few laps, then a couple of them had a crack at flying 200s (apologies are due to Hillary here, as she took the best line and really hit it hard, but the stupid timekeeper forgot to start the stopwatch). Nothing too exciting, but their enthusiasm was infectious, and I had an awesome time.

Tara is back in town and was rolling around with them. Before she left the country she'd been pretty burned by the bike scene around these parts, but earlier in the day she had texted me about the Sugarspokes ride. "I got back from the states," she wrote, "and everything is more positive. It's turned my views on it all around!"

I wrote a few weeks back about training there, and about how the sitting around sharing battle stories and talking shit was as important as the training. Nik Cee commented something similar when I quoted Liam about Alleycats. But this only works if you've established a community of equals, whose experiences are similar to yours, whose stories mesh with your own. This community was lacking for women cyclists, but instead of continuing to feel marginalised as individuals (or worse, hanging up their bikes altogether), these women got together and created something new and awesome. Something that seems to be growing by the week, in numbers and in heart. Something that is gradually altering the status quo of cycling, and is fucking fun to boot.

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