Asexual Endurance Cyclists exist too #philippayork #Pride2017 #hereiam #Ace #letour

I was pleased that Tour de France champion Robert Millar has come out as transgender and now is to be called Philippa York.

It is sad to see that she can only ‘come out’ after ten years but I am not surprised as the cycling community isn’t that welcoming for minorities. I think she is very brave.

I have heard of a transgender cyclist who cycles round Paddock Wood in Kent reportedly, ‘in her high heels’. So unless this is Philippa, it could be another trans cyclist. And in the cycling world, they ‘do talk about it’.

It was even very hard for me as a ‘minority cycling woman’ ten years ago before the London Olympics but I am glad there are more female cycling clubs now, although I personally prefer the smaller informal ones which have more diversity, rather than the ‘white and conservative’ female cycling clubs. However, I love cycling on my own or with just a good friend. Not all women like to be in groups all the time, I am a bit of an introvert. I am confident cycling on my own and all my endurance events have been on my own too.

I prefer long distance charity cycling myself as you do something that benefits others.

As an British ex-endurance cyclist, and a female. I am happy to raise awareness that there are also Asexual cyclists around too! Yay!

I am also Straight Edge. I find being a non-drinker in the British cycling world, is much harder than being Asexual and a woman in it. Being in a minority, I now tend to do my own thing and I don’t go on the macho cycling forums or clubs. It is a challenge to ‘find a place for me’.

Going back to Asexuality, I do find it difficult wearing tight cycling clothes, such as the cycling shorts. I feel uncomfortable with the leering looks from hetrosexual men and sometimes shouts and honking from motorists and passengers cars. I tend to cover up more now, and if I remember, wear cycling skorts which I think is a lot more comfortable and flattering (for myself!) than nasty tight lycra shorts which attracts the pervy attention.

I am looking forward to going to Pride2017. The Parade is also on my birthday! It should be a lot of fun.

Just a small note to Philippa, you did pick a name that is hard to spell. You won’t believe how many times I have been trying to get it right!

Link to the story: http://www.msn.com/en-gb/sport/news/philippa-york-%E2%80%98i%E2%80%99ve-known-i-was-different-since-i-was-a-five-year-old%E2%80%99/ar-BBDVzZx?li=AAmiR2Z&ocid=spartanntp

More on Asexuality: http://asexuality.org/

Advertisements

Contribute to ‘Soul Relics’, an Online Mental Health Art Project

Soul Relics – Museum of the Psyche, Objects, and Personal Stories

This is an online platform on storytelling, objects and mental health as often we neglect our relationships with ourselves, and to tackle the huge stigma that is attached to mental health.

This is an “online museum” showing photos of any objects (with people’s short personal stories/ messages attached to the objects) that remind you of…

(1) a difficult time your lives (ie. A period of mental ill health)
(2) and/ or something that helped you work towards recovery.

That object can be anything that is related to your personal life, or/and institutional barriers to mental health care, etc.

To contribute please go to http://soulrelicsmuseum.me/Contribute.html

Cycling and Mental Health Stigma

Many cyclists ride a bicycle because it is great for their well being.

I speak as someone that has experienced mental health issues. When you go through all this difficult stuff, sometimes you can be at rock bottom, cycling and sport in general, is a great way to get out to relieve all those annoying symptoms.

 I am not a medical person but cycling gives us with mental health issues some thing positive.  For some people with phobias, anxiety or depression, they can find it hard to get out in the first place. Anyway to get people out and socialise is  a good thing. They can also unleash their creative talents by doing photography or similar. Cycling opens up new opportunities.

 Despite my health, I cycled  from London to Paris for charity with 500,mostly serious  or ‘corporate’ cyclists. I did back out from the ‘gala meal’ at the end as it was too much for me, but I still came home with a medal and raised £1000 towards a £250,000 hospital unit. 

I had a nice meal  with a cyclist who was about 59 the other day.  He isn’t one of these cyclists who races  but he lives in a very rural location  Kent and pops into town nine miles away to do a bit of his shopping.   He was telling me about the loneliness he experiences in his village and how he has depression. As a rural cyclist as well, many of us are extremely isolated. There may be very limited social cycling groups in the area.  So I had spent a bit of time talking to them. It was great for him to open up, and I did my bit to help.

Yet there still stigma towards mental health in the cycling world.  Derogatory, old fashioned words are still being used towards cyclists with mental health conditions. Words such as ‘weak’ or ‘paranoid’ are being weaved around as if that is acceptable, with cyclists being afraid to stand for anyone who is vulnerable. Macho culture is still rife amongst cyclists. Men have the highest suicide rate in Britain and hence campaigners like Campaign against Living Miserably (CALM) tackles men’s mental health issues, so  many men cannot open up without fear of being seen as ‘weak’, although they think they are ‘survivors’.

Most of us with mental health conditions are actually strong after what we have been through. As an endurance cyclist, it is mind over matter. How can such a person be ‘weak?’?  We may get upset for a short time over something but overall we can be very strong and resilient and often highly successful people.  More cyclists really need to talk about cyclists attitudes towards mental health and stand up for those who need support and help prevent their health getting worse.

Cycling should be inclusive.

++++++

Where to get help: MIND charity, Rethink Mental Illness, Campaign against Living Miserably, Samaritans, AnxietyUK.