26 August 2008

the not-so-secret girls-that-kick-ass club

My friend Tek recently commented that fellow lady biker Shannon and I must be part of a secret girls-that-kick-ass club, unafraid of putting our buffness into action. I was surprised, as I never thought of myself as in-your-face about my physical strength -- there's not very much of it, for one, and that which I have is fallout from biking rather a lot. In contrast, if I became strong because of a conscious effort to become strong (with weights, say), then maybe I would be more proud of it.

But I was also surprised at the implication that anyone would be afraid of putting their buffness into action. Physical prowess may not be the defining feature of femininity, but if you've got it, hiding it seems odd. Especially since, in general, it's considered to be very positive. It would never occur to me to hide my physical strength.

But lady bikers might be an odd breed -- none of my biking pals would blink at outpacing a guy if she could, would bike slowly to stave off sweating, would shy away from a hill. The results are not only such unladylike things as sweat, strength, and speed, but also safety -- the more conspicuous you are, at any speed or strength, the less likely you are to get hit. Not putting buffness into action (being tentative, biking slowly in car traffic, being unable to control your bike) is downright bad biking. And it's more important to us to be good bikers than it is to be dainty. (That's not to say we don't clean up good.)

So maybe Tek's right -- perhaps I do belong to a girls-that-kick-ass club. However, it's not very secret. We're right there in the open, every day, in the streets and in the bike lanes. And we'd love it if you joined us. But try to keep up.

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