Whilst I possibly wouldn’t call myself a feminist, I’m certainly in favour of equality for all and have been known to react to gender related criticisms in a ‘We’ll see about that’ kind of way. If you tell me I should do press ups with bent knees to stop my uterus falling out, I will quite likely kick you in the balls and then assume the plank position to show you that it’s entirely possible for one’s female sexual organs to remain wholly intact and complete exactly the same tasks as men.
However, when it comes to riding a bike, there is a fundamental issue facing women that doesn’t appear to face men in quite the same way. I suppose it comes down to who has more bone and who has more squidgy bits in the area, but I think I can safely say on behalf of most women, that riding a bike is unfair on the lady bits.
As I write this, four days after a bike ride (not even a long one) my nether regions are still bruised. My bike seat and I don’t get on, and it’s not for want of trying. My seat is a padded, voluptuous saddle of substantial girth, and even has a hole in the middle to take the pressure off the pubic bone. ‘How kind of it!’ I hear you cry, ‘What on earth could you have against it?’
But it is mean to me. Mean in the quiet bullying fashion that makes people pull faces at your over-reaction. Yes, it does look innocent and well meaning, but it has been administering unwanted pressure, rather impudently invading my personal space (now I think of it), and leaving a lasting affect that I notice every time I go to sit down. Now when we pass each other in the kitchen (yes, I keep my bike in the kitchen), we eye each other suspiciously and I try to keep it in my field of vision whilst I do the washing up in case it should try anything whilst we’re alone together.
I have been told that you have to just continue past the pain threshold and then there will come a time when you aren’t so sensitive to it. Well excuse me for what I am about to say, but I do not want my lady bits to be desensitised actually. I can’t help but feel that this advice sounds a lot like the kind of advice that I have always opted not to follow. Advice like: ‘nobody actually likes beer, you just have to drink enough of it so that eventually you do’ (I don’t think I need to point out the flaw here), and: ‘If you keep epilating, the hair will grow back finer and it won’t hurt’. Yep. Still hurts by the way. Several years down the line (and just as hairy as ever, if you wondered).
Since I have agreed to take on the London to Brighton bike ride in June (yes- I am indeed mental), I suppose I will have to work through the pain barrier and let you know if I do actually find a point where it ceases to hurt. In the meantime, I’ll be wincing on my bike seat and possibly experimenting with electrical insulation tape and cushions.