Find Love for Yourself and Your Body by Finding a Love for Fitness

Jane Rides is the inspiration for See Jane Ride Bicycle Tours (www.seejaneridebicycletours.com or www.facebook.com/seejaneride). You can never be sure where she’ll pop up – New York – or Paris – Fashion Week; a royal wedding; or a Penn State football game. She’s always on her bike, always smiling, and always looking fabulous…at least on the outside. Wherever she’s seen, you’ll know that she’s bringing her philosophy of empowerment by encouraging adventure.

I consider myself a citizen of the world, but I call Central Pennsylvania my true home.

It was on the rolling hills and wooded mountains of Pennsylvania where I first learned about the zen-ness of cycling. There was also that incident at the Tour de France but I’m not sure I’m legally allowed to talk about that yet…

Moving on…

As much as I love riding – a commute here, a single-track trail there – I have to admit I’m still a bit of a girl. A girl who has all the same issues that the girls – ahem, excuse me, women – I meet all over the world have. One of them, my dears, is body image.

You look at me and you think, “Dear Jane, what on earth do you have to worry about. You are perfection on two wheels. The hair! The skin! The figure! The lips!”

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you. I am quite fabulous looking, aren’t I? But more importantly, I feel great. Not every day, that’s for sure. I am still human – and no human who isn’t overly medicated and delusional feels great every day. That’s just not natural.

But feeling great isn’t something that comes naturally for most people. I’ve found my greatness, if you will, from cycling. For me, there is nothing more freeing – physically and emotionally – than jumping in the saddle and going for a ride. Long or short. Challenging or cake. Some days it doesn’t matter how far or how fast…it just matters how you feel.

I meet women all over the globe who are paralyzed by fitness – feeling that if they start something new they absolutely must adore it from the get-go, then excel at it, then punish themselves if they don’t go longer and faster and harder every time they lace up their trainers and start exercising.

Pshaw, I say. We’ll, I’d say something a bit stronger but you can never be too sure who is reading a blog post so I’ll keep this as G-rated as I am able.

Pshaw, I say again. Before you start thinking that you have to ride a century or complete a triathlon – first celebrate that you’re moving. Each little celebration – complete with champagne if you dare – will encourage you to get back out there and do it again, and again, and again. And even if you ride 10 miles one day and only 8 the next – don’t be discouraged. Setting realistic expectations for yourself and your outdoor fitness routine is the first pedal on the trail of success.

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