Cycling Stories

Women Can Do Whatever the Hell They Want

December 24, 2019


Women Can Do Whatever the Hell They Want

“Cycling is like an antidote that helps me escape all the noises of daily, modern life. It’s my time, where I get to find—and improve—myself.”

Sara Shannan

I learned to cycle when I was six. And from the moment I pedaled that tiny bicycle all by myself, it was love at first ride.

However, I grew up in a society that—to put it nicely—doesn’t exactly support women riding bikes. Therefore, I had to stop at a very young age.

Fast-forward 20 years, and I’m living in the United States, which comes with its own set of pros and cons.

One problem in particular? The food is unbelievably food, and it all comes in big sizes! And let’s not forget that soda comes with free refills, which blew my mind when I first learned of it.

With all the extra calories, I gained 40 pounds three months of arriving in the US, which made me feel heavy, uncomfortable, insecure, and just plain miserable.

And it eventually became a vicious cycle where the more upset I’d get about feeling bad, the more I’d eat, which made me feel worse ….

Sara’s Three-Second Scene

A huge advantage of living in the US: women can do whatever the hell they want!

So, I chose to lose weight. I started a new diet and fitness plan, both of which worked well for a short while. I’m easily bored, though, which caused me to skip workouts frequently.

Obviously, I couldn’t lose weight if I didn’t show up to the gym in the first place!

Then, one day, I saw a young woman riding her bike in the park. And for some reason, that three-second scene had a massive impact on me, so I decided to buy my own bike the following day—and I followed through.

There’s Nothing Like the Feeling of Cycling

As soon as I hopped on the saddle of my new bike, I felt like a kid again.

I felt the excitement of moving, the wind kissing my face, the adrenaline in my veins pushing me forward—cycling was my first childhood experience of freedom, and reliving the memory was overwhelming.

My heart beat with joy, and I was so proud that I still had the skill to ride a bike!

That was a life-changing moment for me. I went home motivated, searched online, and found other people who lost weight, improved their fitness, and boosted their health with cycling.

From that day forward, it became an everyday, must-do activity, one that has made me so happy. I learned that exercise is a lot of fun!

Cycling’s Physical & Mental Benefits

In the end, cycling helped me lose 24 pounds in three months, which improved not only my fitness, but also my energy and overall liveliness.

In addition to a long list of other positive changes, cycling also provided a better way to manage my thoughts; it helped me find creative solutions to my problems while improving my outlook. It decreased my anxiety, boosted my determination, and enhanced my assertiveness.

Today, my favorite part of the day is waking up early, getting myself ready, and cycling in the refreshing morning air.

Cycling is like an antidote that helps me escape all the noises of daily, modern life. It’s my time, where I get to find—and improve—myself.

Sara’s Cycling Future

Since I’ve only been cycling for three months, I still consider myself a beginner. However, even in that short time, cycling has unbelievably improved different aspects of my life. It’s helped me become a better version of myself.

What does the future hold?

I’m excited to get out there, meet more cyclists, and engage myself with the cycling community. Just for fun, I’d love to sign myself up for a competition.

But, perhaps more than anything, I want to support the cycling rights of women back home. I want to help create change in that society.

Sara Shannan is an experienced content writer, tech geek, and activist seeking change from Gaza, Palestinian Territories.
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