Cycle Chic {On Riding}

Most mornings, April to October, I can be found clipped into my bike pedalling towards work. My hair, sometimes still damp, is flying out behind me and my small, packed to the hilt backpack is crammed full of high heels, a dress, dangly earrings, and some sort of lunch.

  • Let’s just say I have come to embrace wrinkle free fabrics and become an expert clothes roller.

After a few years of cycle commuting, I finally ditched the hairdryer and straightener … there is only so much you can haul back and forth before your pack or back gives up the ghost.

All of this results in a rather interesting hairstyle.

I call it Cycle Chic.

Within nine minutes of arriving at the office, I have transformed from the woman in the stiff cycle shoes and chamois padded spandex shorts to high heels, a dress, and a hairdo that embraces a wave reminiscent of bicycle helmet hair vents.

  • You can only do so much in life and apparently having fabulous hair isn’t high on my list of priorities.

Within twelve minutes, a messy bun or a cute side pony to show off my earrings has been pulled into place and then the next eight hours are spent around a boardroom table or doing HR things which sometimes makes my head want to explode.

Donloree and her bike

I trade having great hair for happiness. Sometimes you just can’t have both!

The ride home is always the perfect way to decompress.

Usually by the time 5:00 pm rolls around, I rarely want to ride but as soon as I clip in and my Garmin reaches 25 kph, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face if you tried.

One of my happiest places in the world is being clipped into my bike, exploring a fabulous trail or racing down a bike path as fast as is safe for a clumsy woman such as myself.

This week it has been snowing which means riding to the office was not in my best interest. Sliding off the road and having another trip in the ambulance with my bike is not something I want to do again any time soon.

  • Welcome to May in the subarctic!
YEG River valley bike trail

My happy place. Clouds, open trails, and my bike.

When I came home from work on Monday and found a quiet house filled with expectations of making dinner, cleaning, invoicing my clients, and other miscellaneous adult tasks, it didn’t take much for me to swap my heels for clips and hit the trails.

The morning snow was gone and before I could decide to be responsible, I was layered in spandex and Gortex and was speeding towards the river valley.

I rarely ride with anyone but myself.

In fact, I shy away from riding in groups or with others because when I am in the saddle, listening to the hum of my hub and trying to avoid death while clipped in, my thoughts and feelings meet me.

I sort through the days and years and take time to think through who I was and who I am becoming, remembering that the only thing I have control over is right here, right now.

Edmonton road biking

Sometimes you’re the only one out there … and oftentimes, it is more than ok!

Your now is incredibly important, despite how it often feels.

The moments and days go quickly and seem insignificant, but they are the things that add together to make your life and shape the potential and opportunities of the future.

If you want something tomorrow or to be someone who can do something incredible, you have to work for it now and choose to keep going despite how hard, ridiculous, or demoralizing it can be at times.

Success is when opportunity knocks and your unique blueprint of hard work, skills, and experience is the key that unlocks the door.

I often feel like I don’t fit in and am the odd woman out everywhere I go. Which, after all these years is no longer stressful, it just is. There are moments in life which require a woman who embraces Cycle Chic hair and when those moments come, there I am.

There is more.

Being able to climb hills that used to require me to hop off and finish on foot brings a smile to my face and gratitude for the me who decided to start biking all those years ago. Gratitude for the woman who couldn’t do what I can do now, but opted to fail time and time again in search of elusive success and fitness.

I ride with the woman I was yesterday and the woman I will be tomorrow, striving to make them both proud of my effort and who I am each day – both clipped in and not.

Starting is important, but even more important is continuing and practicing your craft and sport no matter your speed, no matter your current limitations.

Each and every day, I strive to practice who I want to be.

I want to be the woman who takes time to see you, all of you, when you show up at my desk in crisis, the woman who doesn’t care what people think and rides to work in spandex and has high heels in a backpack, and a woman who embraces failure as a means to develop success.

Mactaggart Sanctuary

Get out there and explore, even when it looks like it might storm. The destination is worth the journey

When you choose to fail at something over and over again, there are small gains and improvements, despite the continual failure. To finally make it to the top of a massive hill without walking, having your chest explode, or falling over while still clipped in is an amazing feeling – both in the saddle and in life.

You don’t know if you can do something until it is done. So don’t stop …

… even if it means embracing Cycle Chic hair.

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  1. In a Word: Adore…

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