Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by florencethnurse, 3 Aug 2019.
This. Absolutely this.
Frame of mind is the most significant "frame".
Regarding lack of support, I think it is to do with long distance cycle touring being so far beyond the experiences of most people they think it is somehow incredibly difficult. Even since returning from our latest tour we have young, fit people (30 years younger than me) say "I could never do that", when in fact I believe that 99% of the population aged under 70 could do it if they wanted to - they just don't want to, and don't understand anyone who does!
I don't know if that's totally true that they don't want to, sometimes it's that they don't dare to, or feel they're "Not the kind of person who does that kind of thing*"
* one of my least favourite phrases, as if there are different categories of people who can, or can't do these things.
The main difference between 'people who do things' and people who don't, do things, is that people who do them, do them..
Of course there are external, circumstances, such as lack of money (although cycle touring with camping can be a very cheap way to travel) pressure of work, or childcare or elder care.. The last two often falling disproportionately to women.
But there's also that thing where it's much easier to be it, if you see it.
Hopefully our friend who has just won the transcontinental will inspire a few more women to go off by themselves, to enoy the freedoms, and the challenges of the open road.
It's very empowering, and satisfying.
Not necessarily at such a cracking pace as she (I need my sleep these days, having now attained my half century)
But stories of people like oneself doing stuff definitely brings more confidence.
And makes it seem like a fairly normal thing to do.
In some cases I think they'd like to, but believe they can't. Fear is a big issue, fear of strangers, dangerous foreign persons, traffic, and most importantly failing: I think a lot of people interested in cycling are afraid of coming back early and admitting they 'failed' to friends and family: in our society to 'fail' is the eights deadly sin: What will people think if it doesn't work?
I think that's the reason behind fear of hills, weather, et c: What if I don't have what it takes? What if I'm really a failure?
Actually, it just means you've found out something that didn't work, so you will know better next time and can get a bit further, but if there's one things school systems the world over teach really well, it's fear of failure.
This is where @HobbesOnTour's observation that cycle touring is as much psychological as physical.
We're conditioned to respond with this if it is our own idea, or of it is someone else's. I think the people making negative responses are following a learned behaviour, maybe to "Protect" you, but also subconsciously because they're afraid that you'll show them up: if you can manage something "Impossible" they may feel less a "failure" because they never tried.
As Theodore Roosevelt said:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
And the women with dust and sweat o their faces too..
There's an extra pressure on the females.
Not only all of the above.
Yes fear of failure maybe. (so don't over plan - no risk of failure then )
And really it's only us over priveleged already sorts going on holibobs with our bikes at the end of the day
But also a slight increased risk (real or imagined) of 'strange man' danger, for women.. Vanishing small risk perhaps, but it does seem to be an oft cited worry.
Then on top of all that the pressure to look a certain way, tidy, with nice neat hair, which is all b*ll*x we know.
But centuries of conditioning thats told women, that what they look like is important, doesn't go away overnight.
I'm routinely coated in filth, and probably stink to high heaven, but that's how it is for hardworking monkey people.
"There is absolutely no risk of failure, if you continually stay within your safety zone" ... Zzzzzzz
I'd agree with the not believing rather than not wanting to.
I've brought a few people out on day tours. They are invariably reluctant saying things like "I could never keep up with you". The fact of the matter is I go quite slowly and stop regularly. They'll say things like "I can't go far". When I ask them at the end how far we've cycled they'll typically understate the distance by more than 50%.
The biggest barriers are in our heads.
And old girlfriend of mine joined me a few times. Not a cyclist. Not a camper. She surprised both of us with how well she coped.
@Andy in Germany talks of success and failure. I agree 100%. Our language is important in that. Terming something as a "challenge" may imply success or failure. Words like "right" or "wrong" rub me up the wrong way.
I can't recall how many times I "failed" to make my destination for the day...... but that was because something better came up along the way!
Now, maybe that "something better" involved stopping because I didn't fancy cycling up that bloody big hill that has loomed out of nowhere right in front of me, but I have the choice to see that as a positive (stop & relax) or a negative (failure to climb the hill).
That was something I learned. It didn't descend on me. I learned by doing. In fact, I'd consider it one of the greatest gifts that cycle touring has given me.
As someone with no sense of direction I spent a large amount of time lost. Cycle touring cured me of that. I may not know where I am - but I am not lost - I am exploring!
Specific to the OP, the great advantage of the Camino is the infrastructure that allows you to stop and have accommodation and food very frequently and the large number of people around you who are learning the same lesson(s). It is an incredibly "safe" environment.
I've been catching up on this and look to have missed most of the later posts.
Time to break a bit of cover here for anyone who don't know the OP and Mrs 73 are one and the same.
I'm not sure why some think i'm not supportive as with every thing else that's been thrown at us over the years I very much are.
I'm more than happy with it and look forward to getting in some good old miles and ride outs along the way to achieving her cycling and fitness goals.
In fact one of the reasons I bought my 2rd bike was so we can go off for the day (as we have) hitting the off road trails. Without her worrying about trashing my best bike. Ive even mentioned the tandem word (quickly collects tin hat and legs it to bunker)
The OP will return she just been full on with other things , she has been blown away with the great support from you guys.
As we know it's what this forum is good at no matter what the problem or advice is.
I'd also add thanks too it's one thing for me to tell her but it's good to have extra backing of others.
Over the years we've done plenty of outdoor stuff and now starting to look at adding a bit of bike packing to mix. We've even begun to see some days out as a reccy for possible ideas. We just need to plan a few , check what kit we have , what we need, find the time and most important get Mrs 73 to feel more confident, happy with her fitness so as not feel she's holding me up so we both end the adventure with smiles all round.
So once again thanks guys @HobbesOnTour , @mudsticks , @Andy in Germany , @RobinS
Sometimes our own self doubt, a to our capabilities gets projected onto others.
Especially if what we are proposing scares us a little bit.
So the tiniest bit of criticism of an idea,, or having it laughed, or even just a lack of enthusiasm is amplified, and is seen as discouraging.
I know quite a few women who have inadvertently (or otherwise) been put off trying things because their so's have been a bit down on the idea.
It's the downside of da ladies being a bit more sensitive (on the whole) and perhaps having fewer role models to follow (as of yet) on the whole solo adventuring front.
Although trust our Op has ploughed her way through all the Dervla Murphy books.
Maybe a little dated now, but if any female needs inspiration to get out there on a bicycle it's a good place to start..
There's plenty more besides.
The great thing about going by yourself is you dont have to worry whether you are fitter, or less fit than anyone else, you just go at your own pace, do your own thing, create your own adventure.
That's the best bit
just to back to this for a sec.....
A kindle is a great investment for touring. Not only books (lots of them!), but magazines, newspapers as well as your own "books" of touring info, passport copies, even maps.
No light required to read in the dark and works perfectly on those sunny days.
Lots of free books (most of the classics) and depending on the model able to use offline using Amazon's own networks (slow, but it does work). You can downoad "samples" to get a taste before you buy.
And you can still browse a good bookshop if you like.
Yes, i'm a sucker for both.
But I only download free stuff onto my kindle off of am@30n..
On account of their being evil tax avoiding, worker exploiting b*st+rds, and not wanting to give them any of my hard earned.
Lbs (little book shops) will only survive if we uses them
The only thing about a kindle it's amazon file format or nothing. Happy to stick to iPad at least it works with other formats.
As for bookshops we called in to one at Alnwick this week. It's so cool well worth a visit has too be the only one that has map free tea/ coffee too.
Darn you, @mudsticks ! You're always trying to make me feel bad!
I think you'll find that.s not quite true, Tom. A Kindle will read pdf files and most photo formats off the bat and there are (free) converters out there that will easily convert one format to another, such as Calibre.
Amazon has an app/browser (SendToKindle) plug in that allows you to send web pages directly to your kindle in an easy to read format. It can be very handy!
That's true maybe i should have been clear I was thinking of ebook formats
I have a friend who did it and she loved it. You can do it with some up-hill and long distance training. The longest day is 70km. Make sure to take a camera, maybe a bike helmet camera too.
It's nothing personal @HobbesOnTour ..
I seem to have this effect on everyone.
No wonder I have no friends
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