Breaking the Cycle of Female Body Negativity and Empowering Female Cyclists
"A few weeks ago I had the incredible experience of spending the day having afternoon tea with a group of fellow fabulous females in the cycling community.
It started by meeting the team behind the scenes of Fat Lad at the Back (Yes, they really are run by a team of brilliant women!) and travelling down to Belton Wood Hotel in Grantham where we met Ade, Michelle, Megan and Michelle. It really is amazing how being in a group of women who share the same values as you can inject so much positivity into a conversation and despite most of us only having spoken online due to us all living in different parts of the UK, the conversation immediately flowed like we were old friends.
Whilst eating the most amazing cakes that we had on offer, we sat down to chat about our experiences in our cycling journeys. From Ade and Megan cycling London to Paris multiple times, to Michelle telling us about her upcoming training for her LEJOG cycle, it was blatantly obvious how much we all love cycling and how much impact it has had on our lives.
After a few cups of tea (we are in the UK after all!) the conversation naturally flowed into the negative side of being a woman in the cycling community and all the barriers that we face. As one of the ladies who modelled some clothing for Fat Lad at the Back, I was recently exposed to some horrific trolling online because of the way that my body looks. We all shared our anger that it is still acceptable to comment on the way that someone looks and have no responsibility for our comments and actions. Whilst this was an upsetting time for myself, the situation allowed me to be connected with a huge community of amazing women who stood by my side in solidarity and support to say a big ‘Hell NO!’ to the trolls. It was really emotional to hear how every one of us had a similar experience and that this was just expected when you are a curvier lady on a bike.
What we all shared was that most of us had to buy men’s clothing at the start of our cycling journeys, which let’s be honest, does not accommodate for a woman’s body shape and does nothing to make us feel good or flatter our beautiful curves! This is where we all shared our love for our Fat Lad at the Back clothing that not only makes us feel and look good but fits our figures no matter how many curves we have.
Not ones to shy away from a camera, we finished our afternoon with TikToks, photos and hugs.
The moment that stuck in my head on the journey home was that role models don’t have to be perfect or famous, they just have to be real and relatable enough to help you realise that you can do whatever you put your mind to. These women are regular folk, just like you and me, who are their own authentic selves and stand up for what they believe in, that women deserve their place within cycling and should stand up to take their space proudly.
So this International Women’s Day I hope that you all celebrate the females in your lives, whether they are your close friends and family, or are just women who you look up to that give you that push out of the door the embrace your femininity whilst you cycle. If you are a cyclist chasing those epic adventures or enjoy having your own mini adventures to the local café, I hope that you can also celebrate yourself and what amazing things you can do. After all, we can’t leave all the fun to the men, can we?"
Guest Blog Post by Lisa Townsend.
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