The 100K Bike Race

In Beastly & Beautiful, Cultural & Political, Swedish Living by Louisa Leontiades

“Do you actually know what 100 kilometres is?” said my boyfriend.

“It’s 10 times 10.” I said facetiously. Seriously it doesn’t mean much to me.

“It’s ten Swedish miles, not english miles.”

“Huh?” I said.

Then my father in law came over and he said ~

“We laughed about it. We thought you must think that the race is well, 10 english miles, but it’s 10 Swedish miles.”

Yes, the Swedish mile is longer…a lot longer, 10 times longer in fact… why? because their country is so huge that they needed a bigger mile to measure it all?

“I know that.” I replied. “It’s 100 kilometres.”

“Oh” said my father in law looking confused. “But we’ve always had the impression that you’re lazy.”

There was no better way of putting it. I was and I am lazy. I like being lazy. I’m known for being lazy. We even have automatic salt and pepper grinders in the house so that we don’t have to twist them ourselves. Of course I do put it another way; I have a tons of excuses for not doing sports. The comfiness of my sofa for one. The un-read books on my bookshelves, woebegone because I don’t have enough time to read them. But yes, I am lazy. I even started a club on Facebook a while ago for some of us on the island called The Anti-Exercise Club. But I was too lazy to maintain it.

So how is it that to celebrate my 38th birthday I voluntarily signed up to do an 100km cycle race?

Every day I see on Facebook one of my contacts doing something for their own charity. When did getting paid to do something that benefits only you become a thing? It annoys me. Their demands for money annoy me. Stop asking me for money so that you can run a marathon. Just run the damn thing. I might well give if you’re running for a greater cause, but sponsoring you because it’s the ‘biggest challenge you’ve ever faced’? No thanks.

My own charity would be the Louisa-needs-a-tummy-tuck-to-get-rid-of-her-stretch-marks charity cycle ride (she REALLY needs it). But you know what, I’m not going to ask. I’m going to go out, earn the money myself and pay for it. Here are some other reasons to do a 100km bike race.

1. I finally get to buy a new shiny bike. It’s long overdue. I have a bike, that is ironically, not conducive to cycling. It has cruiser handlebars like in the olden days, when people sat upright on their bicycles never thinking they would cycle more than to the shop and back.  Their overriding convenience for us ladies, is that you sit on your bottom. Which means that the saddles don’t mash any part of the vulva or the clitoris, because – quite frankly – neither were ever meant to be sat on. Honest to God, part of my ‘laziness’ about cycling was due to nasty vulva pain.

Now they realise that real ladies are built differently to porn stars and we need saddles more like this…

Give it some breathing space.

2. I am the world. The world is me. What good does it do to constantly look outside myself if I don’t also look inside? Or if I am not happy within myself? What example does it set for my children to be the martyr? To sacrifice myself for the greater good if I am not all that I can be? In fact, my philosophy is that being all that you can be, you inspire others to be all they can be too (you can also help them do it). And what could be better than that?

3. I am anything I want to be. Okay until now I haven’t been an athlete. But last Monday I decided I was one (well, until the race in any case). That means that three times this week I’ve hopped on my bike before breakfast and done 10 km around the island. Next week that will be 15 km. It’s not that hard. And after two children, I need the huge challenge to get off that last flab. It might, after all, save me $3000 (the cost of a tummy tuck).

4. I was drunk at the pub when I agreed to do it. Some things never change…

But we went. We rode. We conquered (and have the medal to prove it). As an added bonus they interviewed me on telly. It was my birthday after all. And next year we’ll do it again (but faster).