Straight Talking

January 29, 2019

So, I’ve finally taken my shoulder to the physio and this afternoon – after she’d mildly electrocuted me and taped me up – the conversation came round to my posture. Having been raised by a physio I know all about the importance of sitting up straight and not hanging on the small muscles of my back, at least in theory. But in practice I have terrible posture, especially when I’m on my laptop, which is most of the time (and it’s even worse when I’m peering at my phone over the top of my glasses). So I cycled back home full of good intentions to sit properly at my desk, use a separate screen, and keep my shoulders back and my head up and a nice well-supported back.

Probably what the physio didn’t have in mind was that I should get home and discover that a tweet of mine had gotten a bit more attention than usual and I had several dozen replies to respond to, all of which garnered more replies and retweets and likes, and it was all very gratifying except that it meant I ended up spending the next hour hunched over my phone having a lively good-humoured multi-way conversation – yes really, on Twitter – about women in cycling. Because it turns out lots of women and not a few men have plenty of trenchant, funny and pertinent things to say about why women don’t cycle which has very little to do with lack of confidence and everything to do with the very real desire not to end up squashed under the wheels of a lorry. And while some folk have (civilly) disagreed, and a few have just blatantly missed the point, mostly what it’s done has introduced me to a whole load of opinionated and articulate cycling women on Twitter (and also kept me from scrolling through the Brexit – Trump – Arguing with Clueless Drivers carcrash that is my usual Twitter timeline).

So, while none of this is likely to have done my shoulder any good, it has done my morale a world of good and I’ll just have to remember to sit up straight* tomorrow in penance. And now that I’ve found a Twitter army of like-minded women to join forces with I feel that nothing can stop us now until we’ve built a New Holland for cycling in this country, and then gone on to dismantle the patriarchy by way of dessert.

* In truth, the best posture I’ve ever had was when I tried out a proper Dutch bike, which more or less forces you to sit like a retired ballerina with excellent self-esteem. Perhaps … N+1?

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It’s Like Riding a Bike

April 14, 2010

I’m off tomorrow on an important mission – to encourage and advise my friend who’s decided (and I didn’t put any pressure on her AT ALL. No, really) to take up cycling. She’s borrowed a bike, and all it needs is a little love and attention and she’s planning to be pedalling down for her paper and a pint of milk instead of using the car (she lives a lot closer to her local shop than I do). Her friends all think she’s mad, apart from me of course – but they’d probably think me mad too. ‘How old are you?’ they’re asking her. ‘Is this the sort of thing you should be doing?’

With support like that, and the weather we’ve had, she’s been wavering a bit recently and I thought she was going to back out of it but she rang up recently full of determination to get back on two wheels. ‘If I don’t do it now, I probably never will,’ she said. ‘I was talking to my grandson the other day about it and he said, “Gran – maybe what you need is one of those mobility scooters instead.” So I said right, that’s my mind made up. I’m getting on a bike.’

It’s one way to motivate people to ride, I suppose…