To Bib, or not to Bib that is the question?

I am no professional, I actually consider myself an amateur, a newbie, a novice. But one lesson I learnt pretty swiftly is that whatever your level, if you are planning on spending a decent time in the saddle never underestimate the importance of bib shorts… lovely padded bib shorts.

When I first started riding, or should I say when I first thought about riding I bought a pair of bib shorts, I didn’t research them but they were in the sale and I thought I might need them, so I bought them. I wore them once and that was that. They didn’t feel much different to wearing my running tights if I am completely honest. Then when I was lucky enough to win entry into the London Revolution I realised that;

a) I was going to have to start taking my training seriously 

b) I was actually going to have to get on my road bike, on the road (no more hiding on the turbo in the comfort of my home) 

c) It was winter, it was cold and I was going to need appropriate bib tights. 

The ones I decided on (after limited research) were OK, but being a newbie I wasn’t 100% sure how I was meant to feel after a long ride, my bum still hurt after getting off the saddle and the longer the rides became the more I felt as though I was becoming part of the saddle, or the saddle was becoming part of me, either way it was a painful experience! Not to mention the ‘slight’ pain of consecutive days riding. To me this was normal. Then something that I can only describe as a complete game-changer happened. I discovered Stolen Goat. Yes I’m a Brand Ambassador however I write this blog completely impartial because the simple fact that I am an ambassador does not take away that on discovering Stolen Goat I discovered the key to a comfortable ride. 

With summer months approaching but still a little chilly I opted to buy some new bib shorts, I decided on the Women’s Orkaan waterproof shorts.

I love them.

Now as an amateur I’m not going to go in to too much technical detail because I’m still learning myself. 

But here is what makes Stolen Goat Orkaan Waterproof Bib Shorts so great: 

Waterproof fabric – the waterproofing is manufactured into the material and so no amount of washing will affect its performance.

Wind resistant – considered more wind resistant than other bib shorts.

Proprietary Pad – using dimple technology to increase airflow these bib shorts have been developed in Belgium alongside top level pro riders and so quality is guaranteed.

Premium fit – what I like about these compared to the first shorts I owned is that the legs are held in place by elasticated bands so that they hold in place throughout the ride instead of using silicon grippers which can be uncomfortable as well as irritating!

With London Revolution approaching I have been focusing on consecutive days in the saddle and these Stolen Goat shorts have made that possible. Not only are they comfortable and fit well but I love the SG logo and by choosing black I can pair with any cycling jersey (and yes I have just ordered another jersey from SG!)

These shorts are also waterproof. I have been lucky enough to avoid the rain but with our lovely British weather I’m sure it will only be a matter of weeks before they really are put to the test! 

If you are looking for some great performance bib shorts I would highly recommend Stolen Goat. 

Whether you are a beginner just setting out on your cycling journey and starting your cycling wardrobe, or you have more cycling kit than normal clothes. Whether you are going out on a leisurely Sunday ride or competing in a sportive, maybe you are clocking up the miles on a turbo or hitting the roads on a spring morning. Whatever your ride these are just the perfect kit.

An absolute essential for your cycling wardrobe.

Don’t just take my word for it, I am an amateur after all.

M x 

I am cycling the London Revolution 185 miles to raise pennies and awareness for the Shakespeare Hospice, a charity who do amazing things.

To Bib, or not to Bib that is the question?

Taking A Chance

A couple of years ago I was offered inpatient treatment. It was strongly advised that I admit myself into an eating disorder unit and when I refused I was almost sectioned. I don’t quite know how I avoided it. The papers were as good as signed but I talked the talk and escaped that route. That’s not important, what was was my reason for not wanting the treatment. I think a lot of people will be thinking and feeling the same. 

I had a good job that I enjoyed. It wasn’t where I wanted to be long-term but it was a full time, stable job. Knowing I would need hospitalisation scared me anyway but I wasn’t willing to leave work. Ironic as it was I was still signed off for 2 months. But the job was still waiting for me. I got a little better, or my weight increased anyway but I never dealt with anything, I was eating as a means to an end. 

I should have known a relapse was inevitable. 

As career progression I decided to leave my job and pursue my first HR role. This was where I wanted my career to go and it felt like a fresh start. It wasn’t a fresh start at all, I was running away. 6 months in and anorexia showed her face with a vengeance. I had never recovered, I wasn’t better and it wasn’t going to just go away. In my mind a change in surroundings was the answer and would allow me to have that fresh start. In my head and heart I knew I needed treatment but I was terrified of leaving work. I was worried what my family would think, how my boyfriend would react, how the bills would get paid and throughout my treatment I was scared to death about having a career gap on my Cv, especially a 12 month gap. 
I was faced with so many questions

– How would I explain it to anyone

– Who would employ someone with a break in their cv that lasted a whole year and because of medical reasons?

– How could I answer questions in an interview around illness affecting my work performance, because it did.

– What would happen when a reference was requested and my old employee said I had time off due to illness

– How would I ever get back to a normal life working full time?

I know I did the strong thing. I took the situation into my own hands, I wanted to recover so that I could pursue a successful career. I couldn’t carry on starting to recover and then relapsing worse than before. I couldn’t put my already fragile body and mind through that.

There will be challenges and your CV will be challenged, you have nothing to hide. I recently had an interview with a company I instantly felt passionate towards, a job that will be rewarding and challenging but a really great job that I can continue to build my career in. The application process involved a medical disclosure. I could have lied and ticked all the ‘no’ boxes. But did I want that? The eating disorder made me into a different person, a secretive person who would lie and manipulate. Did I really want to potentially start a new job with this huge lie hanging over me? Obviously the answer is no. I’ve spent a lot of years trying to hide the illness but not anymore. I’m no longer ashamed and embarrassed that I was ill. I know it wasn’t my fault and can happen to anyone. Needless to say by being honest and writing what I had been through on my application, I was so surprised when I received a call offering me an interview.

During my interview I brought up the subject of my health because I wanted to be open and honest from the start. I felt so much better for being truthful and I know that it was appreciated. Recovering from an eating disorder requires huge strength, will power, dedication and hard work.

 It is a full time job.

Whether I was successful in the interview is irrelevant. What is important is that you are brave enough to put yourself out there, admit you were unwell but owning that part of your life. 

Whether you are successful or not, just tell yourself what I did. If I am being turned down because I suffered from an eating disorder then I wouldn’t want to work for a company like that anyway.

My tips to interviews and career gaps: 

1. Be honest

2. Be proud of how far your have come

3. Don’t hold back from a job because you don’t think you are good enough

4. Don’t try and justify your illness – you don’t have to explain yourself, you haven’t done anything wrong

5. Don’t try and second guess what the employer is thinking

6. Be yourself – let your personality show

7. Practice answering a difficult question such as ‘why were you out of work’ so you don’t get flustered

8. Remember the interviewer is human to

9. Believe in yourself 

10. Be positive!

For the record I was successful and I was offered the job. I can’t wait to start with my new company. This is a chance for me, a chance to move on. This truly is a fresh start. I’m not running away from anything this time or trying to change my surroundings to make me better. I faced my demons head on and I’m so excited to see where this journey leads me.

Be brave, you will surprise yourself.


M x

Taking A Chance