Riders of... | 16th May 2018

Riders of … Sofia Tsamassiros

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I’ve never been made to feel inferior because I’m a female cyclist

Part 1

I’d isolate myself before I’d talk to someone. But, cycling provides an opportunity to do both of those things. I started cycling when I was studying medicine. Leading up to exams it was a great stress reliever. Once holidays began I slowly started going further and further. We’re lucky to have so many awesome rides close by. I enjoyed riding because it was about getting out of my head. Obviously, exercise is good for mental health, and it’s hard to say what I think about during a long ride, but it really helps me not to over-analyse things.

I like riding on my own because I get more freedom and can go at whatever pace. But recently I’ve started riding with a lot of other people too. Cycling is a lot more social than I thought. I don’t mind who I ride with – whether they’re a complete beginner or someone I know I can’t keep up with. I think the idea of holding others back is one of the hardest things for a cyclist starting out. It can be daunting, but a lot of the time people just  want someone to ride with and they don’t care about waiting, or whether it’s a guy or a girl. I can’t think of a time I’ve been made to feel inferior because I’m a female cyclist either. The cycling world can seem hierarchical and I think some people have a fear that they’ll be looked down on if they have a certain bike or wear a certain brand. It’s easy to get caught up thinking you need certain gear. I have to admit , I’ve been caught up in that. But, when it comes down to it, the cycling community is really friendly and supportive. We’re all out there doing the same thing.

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