Big Fat Biker

Posted by barb on Aug 18, 2005 in Biking |

Kameron at Brutal Women had a post yesterday about a fat guy at the gym. This reminded me of my many insecurities about being a fat woman (sorry, Andrew, you can argue all you want, but I am fat). I won’t join a gym. While there are several reasons that I won’t join (easier to exercise in the basement, cost, dealing with twiggy women), the main reason is that I’m too self-conscious to exercise in front of other people. I don’t even let Andrew stay in the basement when I’m doing my weights, unless he’s on the exercise bike. Of course some of this self-consciousness is from the years of being “the fat girl” in elementary, junior high and high school. However, my aversion to others watching me exercise comes primarily from my brother and father. Years ago, when I still lived at home, and my mother and I were trying Weight Watchers yet again, we decided to try an exercise video to get ourselves moving. We would wait until Dave and Dad were supposed to be out of the house for a while (either working or at bowling or some such thing), and then we’d pop the tape in. No sooner had we started, but Dave or Dad would show up at the top of the stairs and laugh at us. That’s right. They weren’t encouraging us in our efforts to become more healthy; they were mocking us. Nice, huh?

When I first started biking a couple years ago, I was still self conscious, but decided to ignore that in favor of doing something that I really enjoyed. Occasionally, I would go out alone on the streets near our house, and I would get “whoop”ed at by passing cars. This only happened when I was alone, or so far ahead or behind Andrew that it was not clear that we were together. Do you think those drivers were telling me “way to go”? No. Of course not. They were saying “look at the fat girl on the bike” with their “whoop”s. After that, I stuck to biking on bike trails. While other cyclists pass me, at least no one was making fun. I have not ridden on the streets this summer at all, even with Andrew. I’m so proud of the progress I’ve made over the last couple years (from barely able to do 5 miles at the end of 2003 to doing 17 miles last weekend – yay me!), that I just don’t know that I can bear another “whoop”.

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Aug 19, 2005 at 10:20 am

Barb – I give you a lot of credit – I know I couldn’t bike that far even when I was much younger. On a motorcycle yes – but bike it no. I would say there are at least a few poeple out there who are cheering you on with their “whoop’s”. Unfortunately it’s hard to know which those are. I’m definitely one of them. We can work this together – I need encouragement to go to the gym too. At least you have Andrew to work it with you. You go girl.

Aug 22, 2005 at 9:32 am

You should feel so proud! Not anyone can get on a bike and ride that many miles – I know I couldn’t! And also, the best part, this is something that you are doing for yourself. It was a goal that you have been working towards for a long time and have stuck with it. As a friend, I am proud of you! I know how hard it is to do something like this and at the beginning how frustrating and how easy it would have been to say forget it, but you stuck with it. I admire that about you and will keep that in mind when I am doing my workouts, so that when I want to give it up and want to stop, I’ll just think how you’ve stuck with it.
I say keep up the great work. I think you are reaping the rewards this summer – being able to bike as far as you do and also appreciate the scenery and greenery of where you live. So from me to you, Whoop (as in YEAH!)…You are awesome!


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