Have you ever felt embarrassed on a ride?

Plenty of times! Own whatever it is and laugh about it.

The bike can be a vulnerable place to be but you soon realise everyone has felt, or is still feeling, the same.

Too many to count. You just have to laugh at yourself

Of course! And that's why it’s important to find friends to ride with who get you, understand your capabilities and know if you're having a bad day.

That time I got dressed in the dark and wore my chamois on the outside for the first 20k of a ride? Sure…

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I guess we all have at some point. But do you know what, I can't remember one particular time which means it really wasn't actually a big deal! I've definitely turned up to Regent's Park laps with inside out bibs - but luckily it was dark and the chamois was black.

The bike can be a vulnerable place to be but you soon realise everyone has felt, or is still feeling, the same.

How do you deal with not being as fast as other people?

If you're with friends or an inclusive ride it shouldn't and won't matter if you're the slowest.

Accept it, own it and be aware of your ability. You may be slow in the current group but that’s not always the case.

Be supportive when someone else is struggling, you know how it feels.

I'm used to it and sometimes it's frustrating, but give yourself a break - the fact that you're out pedalling is an achievement in itself.

There will always be someone faster and slower than I am. Ride with all abilities because you get a lot from both ends.

Today someone else might be having a better day or might always be faster, but that's ok! Be happy knowing you've ridden well for yourself .

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Recognise that everyone is on their own bike journey (even if you’re on the same ride).

I'm often the slowest on a ride, but have found that over time I've come to care less. I take much longer to warm up than others so often struggle to keep up at the start when others are at their quickest. Have faith that 1. Your ride mates won't mind (and if they do, they're dicks) 2. You might be slowest now, but next time you won't be 3. Everyone has experienced this feeling at some point.

Your ride mates won’t mind (and if they do, they’re dicks).

How do you deal with not being able to ride because of injury?

Meet your mates for coffee afterwards to still feel involved.

Turn up to races as a spectator - it’ll mean the world to those racing.

Trusting the process and not resenting other people who are out - support them instead.

Take a deep breath, look at it as an opportunity to do other things, learn other stuff and give your body a rest.

You will get better, it just takes time and know you'll be stronger and wiser when you come out the other side.

I always take the opportunity to do all other things you wouldn't normally have time to do - yoga, pilates, swimming, running, climbing, whatever it is - there are countless activities that will help you be better if/when you can get back on your bike.

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There are countless activities that will help you be better if/when you can get back on your bike.

Accept it and focus on rehab, or what you CAN do. In times of significant injury, I like feeling that I'm still part of a cycling community - see your cycling pals socially, listen to cycling podcasts, drool over new kit etc.

You will get better, it just takes time and know you’ll be stronger and wiser when you come out the other side.

How do I deal with not feeling comfortable in lycra?

I don't always look great, but my focus is on the cycling and getting fitter and stronger...the older I get the less I give a f*ck about what others think about how I look. Embrace the lyrca!

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No one should care what you look like and if they do, you shouldn't care about them.

I think I feel more comfortable in lycra - is that weird? I'm no super model, but find god lycra to be pretty flattering.

Probably the main reason I doubt myself. Then I remember it's more comfortable and will allow me to enjoy my ride more and ride for longer, so who cares?

The older I get the less I give a f*ck about what others think about how I look!

How do I learn to be more confident on a ride?

Ride more. Every ride will give you a bit more confidence in your abilities.

Keep riding and learning and don't try and exceed your abilities.

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I always think of the This Girl Can mantra - I’m lapping people on the sofa.

Ride with kind people and be curious. Every person you meet has something to teach you.

I’ve learnt a lot from my own mistakes and from other peoples.

The miles will increase your confidence and ability to know what you are capable of. You are always capable of more that you think. Just remember to eat, drink and listen to others. I've learnt a lot from my own mistakes and from other peoples.


How do you silence your 'inner chimp' when on a ride?

Break the ride up into chunks. The inner chimp normally appears when I am feeling overwhelmed or not confident in my abilities to handle the unknown. As soon as you focus on the few moments in front of you, your mind begins to adapt and feel less threatened.

The inner chimp can suck your energy if you let it! I try to remember that whatever I'm feeling at that moment is going to pass and I'll be fine again. My worst chimp hijack is when it tells me I'm not cut out for cycling and that I should find another sport. In which case, I tell it to f**k off.

Try to remember that you're lucky to be outside, lucky to be able to ride a bike and lucky to be with likeminded people. Even if it's chucking it down and it's freezing, or the hill is brutal, it's still probably better than being in an office!

As soon as you focus on the few moments in front of you, your mind begins to adapt again and feel less threatened.


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Kitty Pemberton-Platt