Thursday, January 30, 2014

Learning to be Unmisinformed

I hate gender disparity. A lot. When I see it, I'm pretty vocal about it. It doesn't matter if it's something I see online, or something I hear in the office. Misogyny, sexism, chauvinism...no matter what form it takes, it makes my blood boil.

One of the things I've been most vocal about over the last couple of months has been a lack of pay structure for Breeze ride leaders. Their peers who do Sky Rides are paid to lead rides, which take place less frequently.

I've publicly blamed for this on British Cycling, but today I learned that my frustration was misplaced.

While attending a meeting of industry women, I was fortunate enough to meet Natalie Justice, who is essentially the Breeze Network project manager. She runs that show for BC, in short.

I had a chance to ask her about this lack of pay for Breeze riders, in an effort to learn why it happens. Turns out it's her fault, and for very, very good reasons.

Natalie is a smart cookie. She took a look at the commercial side of Sky Rides, and made one decision that will ensure the longevity of Breeze rides long after the likes of Sky vacates the premises. She realized early on that to accept money from a corporate sponsor to run a program is to risk having the whole program shut down when those funds dry up.

Natalie made a hard decision. She chose to make the Breeze Network volunteer-based, rather than a paid system. She had an idea to create a community that would be long lasting, rather than take a quick buck for something that was wildly popular at first, but could just as easily go away.  Now, she says, Sky Rides are coming to her for advice on how to make the Sky Ride structure similar to Breeze. That's quite a statement.

The Breeze Network is wildly popular, and a program that I personally feel has the potential to change the face of cycling. I was wrong to be critical of what I perceived to be unfair treatment of a group of very dedicated and motivated women. My frustration should be directed more towards Sky, who should have made a point of saying that some of their money be dedicated to Natalie's ability to develop the network the way she wants to, without fear that it would disappear if Sky did.

I want to see the Breeze Network continue to thrive, which it will do with Natalie at the helm.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

We Can Be Heroes

This post is about the value of friendship, so there.

I'm having a slight difference of opinion with a friend.

This friend objects to the idea that I think he's a hero. He has some sort of weird ass set of criteria in his head that he thinks defines a hero, or someone who is heroic, poor lad. He doesn't understand that to me, all of my friends are heroes.

It's been a pretty rough couple of weeks for me. There's been something in the air, so I know other people have felt it, too. The best part of the last 14 days has been the various chatting I've been doing with my friends.  So for me, it's heroic when someone picks you up when you aren't feeling your best. It's heroic when someone provides a shoulder to lean on, or makes you laugh, or consoles you when you hear bad news. And there's been a lot of bad news in the last couple of weeks. 

There are also many toxic people in the world. People who feed on negativity. Ones who have nothing good to say about anyone, or anything. Those that would steal your light. Who hide behind keyboards and Twitter handles, and generally have nothing positive to contribute to your daily routine. They seems to be marching in formation lately. My friends share a common trait in that they have a general dislike for soul destroyers, but somehow never seem to lose hope that humanity can be good, and that's heroic.

My Mom and Dad are my ultimate heroes.

My sister showers me with love. Hero.

Derek keeps bees. Bees are in trouble. Hero.

Kim reminds me that it's ok to be from a different place, and pronounce words the way we were taught. Hero.

Alex fosters dogs who are undergoing medical treatment. Hero.

SteveM sees beauty every day that us mere mortals overlook. Hero.

Stuart is overwhelmingly positive and makes you feel like every idea is the best ever. Hero.

Lesli is whacky and nuts, and manages to keep moving forward somehow. Hero.

Sara keeps me sane. Filters things that I can't see clearly. Cries and laughs with me. Hero.

The list of people and characteristics that I'm fortunate enough to know could carry on, but ideally the point I'm trying to make is evident.

I don't know if luck is a real thing, or not.  If it is, then it has thrown me some crumbs in the form of my family and friends.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Prepare for the Resurrection

Tap tap tap...Is this thing on? Testing 1 2 3. Ok. I think it still works. Maybe it's time to wake this blog up from it's period of hibernation. Disclaimer: I don't promise to have anything interesting to say that's worth reading.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Crack that ass!

Had a nice ride around the woods with the work colleagues today. We've dubbed lunch rides on Friday's to be 'Mountain bike Friday's'. It won't be long before we are doing far more dirt riding than road riding.

Now I'm drinking wine and watching the budget scene from the movie Dave.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lesson in Perspective

I wouldn't say that the last week has been one of great enjoyment for me.

The most influential teacher of my high school years died.

Chris Mearns died.

I'm not over the death of my dog earlier this summer.

I haven't seen enough of my friends (That means you, Steve).

I'm facing another significant transition in life.

I clearly am rubbish at updating my blog. Maybe this post will be a warm up. And maybe going forward, I'll have happier things to talk about.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Basking in Ineptitude

I've been doing a decent amount of riding lately. Not anything record breaking, but rather some long hours in the saddle. It's all sort of in preparation for the Etape in July.

Three weekends in a row incorporated rides that were either good distances, or simply lots of saddle time. In a last minute effort to keep up that pattern, I decided to join The Most Beautiful Man in the World on the Dyfi Enduro in Wales. It was set to be 47km, and after having a couple of big, hilly rides in the Peaks last weekend, I felt pretty comfortable with that length. All I needed to do was settle in to a pace that would allow me to last the duration.

I wasn't prepared. The amount of climbing was soul destroying. The descents were steep and technical, and a bad tire choice meant that I was on the razor's edge of disaster down every one. There was no time for my legs to recover. The downs were very hard work, and I was knackered after them. This didn't set me up too well for prolonged periods of churning up hills. The climbs were exponentially longer than the descents, and after every section of rapid altitude loss, there was a long, drawn out climb. I got bored going up. I got off the bike to walk just for something different to do; to use different muscles.

It's not the event itself that was the problem. Under different circumstances, I would have really enjoyed it. The issue is me. Were I in a better state of fitness, or if I could be a person who climbs well, I would have been faster. I could have gotten through the climbs like the 'normal' people on the ride. I wouldn't have gotten frustrated. I could have pushed myself without fear of blowing up, or hitting the wall. There were nearly 700 people entered in the event, and I think 95% of them were better equipped than I was. It's quite humbling.

I don't know if I'll do the Dyfi again. Yesterday pushed me to the edge of my mental ability to cope. I'm my own worst enemy, and I'm not good at just sucking it up once I've headed down that dark path of self-deprication. I would need to be at a much higher level of fitness, and things like life get in the way of being able to prepare for such an event. I know that it contributed to my fitness level, but I'm not keen to face that sort of mental challenge. I'm not a winner in those situations.

It's all a bit too fresh, at the moment. Maybe it's one of those things that will get better in a week, and I'll be excited about it later on. It was nice to hang out with Steve, but as of now that was the best part of the day. Well, that and the love I continue to feel for the Superfly 100. It's a shame that people have such negative opinions of 29ers, but that's a topic for another day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Steve Makin, It Is Your Birthday

So this post is pretty much entirely for SteveM, since it's his birthday, and he's been waiting for an update.

This doesn't mean that I have anything worthwhile to say, but I suppose I'll just keep typing and see what happens. Maybe I'll just talk about SteveM.

SteveM is one of my best friends in the entire world. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that he's one of the best friends I've had in my entire life on this Earth. The thing is, he got to be that way in a stealthy way. I can't even remember exactly when it happened. I just know that over a period of time, he became my hombre, my homie, my brotha frum anotha motha.

It wasn't too long before I realized that everyone loves Steve. He won't take that well, because he's far too humble to accept how valuable he is to everyone who knows him. He's the consummate friend. He listens, he offers advice, he encourages, he teaches, he reads poetry at fireside. He also absorbs the feelings of those around him and masks how stressed he really is so that he can be there for everyone else.

So Happy Birthday, Steve. I hope you see rainbows for many years to come.