Monday, 25 February 2013

A whole new way of Living ...

A couple of days ago, I was asked to do a relatively easy thing by a mate.

“I need 1 – 2 sentences as to why you love the Liv/giant family. EG what it has done for you from the sat morning rides etc”

Simple? Ah no.

Firstly, I can’t use 1 – 2 sentences to describe anything … let alone explain why I love something that I am so passionate about.

So, here is my version … and I know that 1 – 2 very good sentences were taken from this

The first day I showed up to a Liv/giant ride (June 16, 2012 to be exact) is a day that I will never forget. I had made the decision to be brave and turn up to this Saturday morning ride after I had the chance to meet Jess Douglas, Jo Hall and a few other Liv/giant girls at an event celebrating Jess’s recent World Champion title.

So, here I was … 7 months experience on a bike! My riding had included solo rides along Plenty Road, with the occasional group ride with my local bike shop. So this day I would be riding in the company of girls that spanned in experience, but as far as I knew, they were elite cyclists sitting on a spectrum from World Champ right through to …. elite cyclists! ELITE!!! And here was me … Bec, the chick who had strung together a pretty good cycling outfit made up of mismatched cycling gear, MTB shoes, Razza Matazz opaque tights to keep my legs warm and my bike Mince – a Giant Cross City!

It honestly had taken me all of my power to squash the demon on my back who continued to remind me that I did not belong here! That little voice in my head that kept saying “who are you kidding!”
But, I wandered into Café Racer, clearly looking like the new kid at school. I didn’t really know anyone, and those that I did, I had spent no more than about 30 minutes talking to them. I didn’t know the rules, but I figured I could wing it. I sat sipping my latte (yep – I got that bit right) and watched girl after girl walk in … all in their fancy matching kits, fancy road shoes, matching helmets and these girls were all fit! I just had that sinking feeling where I just wanted the world to open up and swallow me. Who was I kidding? I did not belong here!!!

But how wrong could I be!!!!

On that ride, a 44km ride to Mordialloc and back, every girl took time to get to know me. I felt like every single girl was there to help me and offer me advice. They didn’t judge me – infact they applauded me because I was giving it a go. And when I struggled (because I did!) they were all there to encourage me, to teach me little techniques that I could remember forever, and the little thing called protect me. They all banded around me, encouraged me and it felt like every single girl there was hell bent on helping me!  

After the actual ride, it was also a great opportunity to catch up with the group. Some stayed for coffee, some for breakfast, others just waved goodbye and continued on their way. But over coffee, toast, eggs … whatever it may have been, the stories and support continued.

Now, 8 months later, I can safely say the Liv/giant rides have given me a whole new way of living. When I started riding in November 2011, I could not have dreamed to be where I am today. I have a band of sisters, who I feel are there to support me in life – not just riding. We all have made friends on the ride, follow each other’s journeys through social media and catch up with each other wherever possible. We turn up to each other’s events, we cheer hard and we all applaud each other no matter where we place.

My initial reason to ride was simply to raise money. This was different to most of the others who were there for training and to build on skills for their sport. But, the conversations now are always supportive of that. Every single week, someone (if not everyone) will always ask “How is your fundraising going Bec” There are no egos, no pretension and everyone there genuinely cares about each other. The support and encouragement is something I have not found anywhere else!

The Saturday rides have also had obvious benefits on the bike. They have given me confidence and skills that I could not have learnt otherwise. But mostly, it has given me a network of girls from all different walks of life that I can turn to for anything. There is nothing better than riding along, having a laugh and catching up.

And as for Giant and Liv/giant - I love all of the good will and charity work that this company supports. Liv/giant gave me my bike and kit to assist me on my quest to Ride to Conquer Cancer- something I’m truly grateful for and never expected. I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity they gave me. The company is led by people who truly care and support cyclists – no matter what level you ride.

So, for anyone out there following the Liv/giant Facebook page and thinking that you want to be part of that, I would not recommend anything else.  You don’t need the fancy cycling gear, matching helmet or even a fancy race bike. I was proof of that! But be prepared for a Whole New Way of Living … and not just for 2 hours each Saturday. Like any good family, you will find that soon you will be turning up to events, birthday parties and even trying a different way of life like Mountain Biking!

Many people ask me why I get up at 5am, drive to St Kilda just to ride when I can just walk out my front door. And it is simple. Out my front door, I don’t get what this amazing group of women give me – and that is support, friendship and encouragement both on and off the bike! And yes, I tried a local women’s group ride and it pales in comparison.

So do yourself a favour and meet us at Café Racer in St Kilda at 7:30am each Saturday.

My first Liv/giant ride. I'm up the back in the bright red jacket!

No comments:

Post a Comment