riding bitch

I have been thinking about the order of things lately, especially when it comes to man and woman doing the same things; like riding a bike. They never do it side by side, do they?

riding bitchIt started out with one bike, the man in the front, the woman riding bitch.

Now there are a lot of women riding a bike of their own but they still “ride bitch” or have you ever seen a couple on their bikes where the women is at the front? No! We always follow.

Why?

follow the manI guess even I would, if the man in my life had a bike. That not being the case, I am usually out there on my own. I follow my own instincts and need to make my own decisions. But given the chance, I do it, too. Just like those poor Arab women walking a few steps behind their men on the streets. It is not different. It is about feeling inferior, isn’t it?

Is making decisions the problem for most women on a bike? I mean we do it in cars as well, the man is driving (unless he wants to drink) and the woman isn’t.  Why? Guess because a lot of men out there feel the need to tell the women how to drive properly. Do we shirk that? We shouldn’t, should we?

We should stop following, start taking the lead occasionally. It takes guts but then that’s what is needed on a bike, isn’t it?

up front

TdF (25)TdF (14)About ten years ago I experienced my first Tour de France as a journalist. This mad cycling event is a very complex thing when it comes to driving and parking, there are a lot of different car accreditations about, different routes you can and can’t take accordingly, different parking areas, in different places every day. You get a huge book that tells you how everything works and as a newcomer it can be pretty overwhelming. So what did I do on my very first day?? I followed a male colleague who had been doing the Tour de France for years. He had a car with the same accreditation as mine.

TdF (36)I ended up in a police convoy (2 bikes front, two bikes at the back, all four sirens and lights flashing) being (embarrassed as hell) taken over the bridge at the Ile de Noirmoutier. Lost and on an illegal route where the only way back was the fact that the French police had pity with the daft and lost German blonde.

That never happened again in the 7 following years because I started following my own instincts.

This is what I wanna shout at all those women I see on the roads riding behind their men:

Stop riding bitch!

Start riding, bitch!

 

 

 

 

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Freedom is the absence of what if

summerI wonder if it is a German thing or if it is a general attitude?

I do not know. But I know that the concept of freedom seems to scare people more than it seems to make them happy. Most people don’t want it, some even shirk it. Why does freedom scare them so much?

The bike is my idea of freedom in perfection, no matter where I am, no matter which bike I take, no matter where I go.

Most German bikers seem to differ.

Last summer I walked into one of the big motorcycle shops, I had to work round the corner and had half an hour to waste and money to spend so I decided to have a look at half lids, I fancied a new one, the strap on my old one had come a bit lose.

While I perused the helmets on display I couldn’t help but overhear a German biker giving advice to his son who obviously bought his first bike and needed a lid. And took his dad along to the shop, maybe his dad took him…

See son, the guy said, this has EU norm …. and a safety badge from ….. and it has been tested by ….

He went on and on and on discussing the security aspects of just one helmet.

Better be safe than sorry, son!

Better grow up soon, son, I thought.

Then I spotted my favourite one, a US police helmet remake, Electra Glide in Blue style that would go nicely with my blue sunglasses. I put it on and (since I had come in the company car I had a handbag with me) checked what it looked like with my make-up mirror, looked great from the back as well, so I bought it.

I can still feel the German father’s shocked eyes upon me as I walked away, completely flabbergasted because I had never even checked the security features once.

How could I be so free?

 

Just because I can, man! I want wind in my face!

 

But I have another story to prove my point.

 

It has been rather hot here lately, often way over 30° Celcius. If you wear black leather in this heat, you are more likely to faint at the next set of lights than arrive safely at your destination of choice. I set off on a trip (200 km, minor roads) with denims, trainers and a T-shirt. How great to feel the wind caressing my skin and the sun shining on my face, no heavy gear to restrict my movements, nothing to make me sweat more that necessary, it still felt more than riding through the desert but that was ok. It felt right, it felt Californian.

When I arrived at work my colleagues looked at me with reproachful expressions because I didn’t wear any protective clothing. They (no bikers) felt the need to point out the dangers you face when you are riding a bike without a jacket.

Why do these people always assume they know more about the danger of riding a bike that the biker. I have been on one for more than 25 years now. Believe me guys, I have seen dangerous moments aplenty.

And then they said….. But what, if you have an accident???

What if?

Forget you “what ifs”!

This is what freedom is about. It knows no restrictions. Freedom is the absence of worries, it starts in the head and it makes your heart burst with joy. Freedom is happiness and it is the choice you make despite the danger that comes with it.

All things come at a price. Of course they do.

Why do you car drivers think we do not know that?

We do know and we choose to do what we think is right for us because we want freedom. We know what it feels like.

You can have all the “what ifs” and keep them!