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Who inspires the women of Singletrackworld and why? Our staffers Amanda, Hannah and Zoë bring you their picks.
Of our small staff we’re fortunate to have three full time women on the team. Hannah and Amanda make up 50% of our editorial team, while Zoë is the juggler that keeps your Membership details up to date, helps you when you buy a gift for a friend but accidentally send it to yourself, and makes sure everyone gets paid.
For this International Women’s Day, we’ve asked them where they look to for inspiration and motivation. Rather than which women are inspiring, we’ve asked them who is inspiring them, as women. Hopefully you’ll enjoy their nominations and find something to motivate you today too.
Kell may be a surprising one on my list, as the thing I find most inspiring and motivating from her isn’t something that I’m working towards personally. Kell is a mountain biker, a Cotic ambassador, but most importantly she is a new mother. Now, children are not on the cards for me, yet for some reason I’ve been completely drawn in to her life and been in awe of how she’s taken on this huge change to her lifestyle. This is due to the fact she isn’t sugar coating the situation. But it’s not in the tongue-in-cheek way we so often see, where mothers share the poo that’s squished it’s way out of a nappy or the Sudocreme redecorating the bathroom. She shares the exhausted, frustrated moments where she’s sat on the sofa, baby asleep on her, and she just wants to get up.
Her account is very real, she makes me appreciate the freedom I have, she makes me respect all the riding mums I know more than ever, and she is enough motivation for me to ditch the excuses I have for not doing the menial tasks I’d love to avoid.
I’m sure anyone who’s watched a YouTube video with Lachlan in has thought ‘what a top bloke’. He comes across as a really chilled character that just loves bikes, and though he’s insanely talented, you’d never know it from hearing him speak about events he’s done.
He makes me want to do big stuff without feeling intimidated by it (his GBDURO coverage has resulted in me entering Frontier 300 and Yorkshire Dales 300). The Leadville coverage shows him laugh at the fact there’s more to mountain biking than he anticipated, and he just cracks on with it. For someone who is at the top of their game, to be OK with not being the best and just enjoying the ride regardless is refreshing to see. He reminds me that pro athletes are just regular people, too.
Dr Stacey Sims is a Leading Global Expert on Female Physiology & Endurance Training. Which sounds impressive, but the way she so accurately nails the issues she’s discussing is even more impressive. Scientist or not, it can be very hard to provide instant clarity on a subject, and for me, she does. Tune in to her podcast or have a look through her Instagram feed and I can guarantee you’ll find something relevant to you, and you’ll be made to feel better about it. Hormonal imbalance? Periods making you feel weak? Menopause? She’s got your back. There’s so much information online, so much opinion, but knowing you’re reading words from an expert in their field is extremely reassuring.
I always feel like I am too busy just getting through each day to make a real and tangible difference to anyone or anything in the world, so I am always inspired by those who seem to be tireless in their advocacy. I aim to live what I believe in, and I like my inspiration to remind me to stay connected to those beliefs.
I love how Renee speaks of connection to the land, of stewarding the land rather than managing it, and how the experience of mountain biking is a holistic experience of soil, terrain, air, history, plants, animals, water, people. She writes powerfully about the land, our destruction of it, and the issue of stolen lands. This inspires me to think about our own UK land ownership structures and access rights, and also makes me hope to learn how to be a better and more respectful visitor to the USA.
Breastfeeding is both wonderful and exhausting. It continues the experience of pregnancy, where your body is not your own and performs in ways that can be incredible or undesirable. Having a small human physically dependent on you for food, at whatever time of day or night, can feel like a constraining and draining experience. This Instagram feed reminds me of the better side of it – the instant portability, the closeness with your child, and the freedom from sterilisers and bottles that it can offer. My children are way past this stage now, but it’s nice to be reminded that I helped make them the people they are today and that I’m still needed – even if they can cook their own tea these days.
Chelsea combines making riding a BMX look effortless and stylish with insightful and humorous political commentary. I love how creatively she uses TikTok, memes, and social media. She’s funny, she’s brutal, she’s informative, and her feed is a whole mix of BMX, equality, politics, fashion and humour. I’d love to hang out in the hope that a fraction of any of her skills – on or off the bike – might rub off on me.
Jamie has a few Twitter accounts for different purposes, but it’s his blog that I enjoy the most. I admire anyone that lives openly and honestly, and Jamie does just that, writing even on topics that are very personal. I find the insight he gives into navigating the world both useful and inspiring. He works with who he is, the different aspects of his neurodiversity, and engineers solutions to problems. I like how he keeps his focus on the goals of autonomy and productivity, and continuously keeps a positive perspective of ‘how can I do this’, or ‘how can I do this better’. He shares what he finds in the hope of helping others, but without telling them ‘this is how you should do it’. Staying focussed on goals, striving to improve, and to help others – these are all things I admire and Jamie’s writing reminds me to try and do the same.
It’s hard to know where to point to for you to follow Aneela – she wears so many hats. She’s incredibly busy actively doing many of the things I wish I could find the time to contribute to – getting girls out bikepacking, doing trail work and access advocacy, mountain biking guiding, shaping the Scottish Parliament’s equality policy and so much more. She’s also the partner of Andy McKenna, and I find the way they support each other in their relationship to pursue each other’s goals very inspiring – they lean on each other and uplift each other. And Aneela uplifts me.
I always feel too busy and like I have too much to do to allow myself time to aimlessly scroll through social media. I am not a bored teenager, I am a bust working homeschooling mum. However I found these groups to be the most motivational and inspirational to be, they help me realise my potential, that I am not being selfish in my hobby but my hobby is helping me to be a better all round person. Also that athletes come in all shapes and sizes and to celebrate this not judge.
Since lockdown, Park Run has been doing #notparkrun as we are not allowed to meet up in groups, and people have been sharing pictures of themselves running their 5k on their own. It just feels good to find a way around this rubbish time and they have not admitted defeat and stopped posting. They have adapted and encouraged us to run still and post a picture – but not at a Park Run. I love Park Run as it’s free and you can join anywhere in the UK and join like minded people to clear your mind. They are alway so welcoming.
This Girl Can is about being encouraging whatever exercise you like and whatever shape you are. From body building to swimming, with people who have disabilities and those who don’t, all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. It is a positive and encouraging place to be and it reminds you “This girl can!”.
Runners’ World and This Mum Runs are similar and make me realise I don’t run for anyone but me. It’s for my mind, my headspace, my time, my pace, and my goals. Some days are good, some days are bad. But I beat the couch so I am happy and remind myself to be proud of me, and perhaps be kind to myself. They have amazing merch from tops and t-shirts with the slogans like ‘running late’ or ‘run the show’. They encourage all women, but especially mums, to get out for some time to yourself and allow you to be something other than just a mum.
The beauty stuff I follow is tips and ideas and advice from my favourite people that remind me to love myself. After a lifelong battle with skin problems and living in a world full of the perfect Instagram face/skin it can leave you feeling really low. But during lockdown I have found a passion for taking good care of my skin. I suddenly don’t feel paranoid anymore and feel I can love and accept myself for who I am.
I also follow some people on Strava this has helped my to improve my fitness and my confidence in myself. I have always run on and off but could always find an excuse not to lace up my shoes. I joined ‘Race at Your Pace’ last year and encouraged my best mate back into running. She had gained a lot of weight and her mental health was at an all time low. We now run four times a week, I use Strava to track my runs, and over December and January we ran 35 miles each month. We are now pushing ourselves to aim for 50 miles. My friend has lost nearly three stone and we run every other day without fail. We both admit our mental health would have suffered if we had not prioritised this – and if we can run in the snow in January we can run in the sun in June!
Who Inspires You?
Who do you look forward to hearing from, knowing you’ll find something that makes your day just a little better? And what makes you tick – is it big feats of amazing achievement, or relatable examples that make you think ‘I could do that’? Let us know in the comments and share your sources of motivation.
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