I am fortunate enough to take an interview of a German cyclist, Bianca Metz or a woman of mettle who didn’t let any hardship define her.
Me: Tell us something about yourself.
Bianca: I’m Bianca and 20 years old. I’m studying Public Management in Western Germany and like cycling since I was a child. When I was 14, I started up with the road bike and like this sport very much. Also, I am hard hearing from birth for an unknown reason. I was asked for an interview and hope that you can get some inspiration from that.
Me: What is the biggest motivation for you to overcome your hard hearing?
Bianca: There was a time in my life where it was hard to realize to be disabled and to be faced again and again with obstacles because of that fact. But I always used to see the positive aspects of life – what you can do regardless the handicap and which aims you can reach if you run for it.
It’s not a question of course that you will always be more challenged than other people without the disability, but I think that it is possible to get very far in life as well.
The most important thing is not to loose the trust and confidence in yourself and your possibilities, to be open-minded and to get people’s attention on what is “special” with me, for example in a conversation with hard hearing people.
I like the challenge and I like to fight, to get my body on the limit whilst doing sports as balance to my everyday life; and I will never give up.
Me: What are the challenges you faced when you started cycling?
Bianca: Do you know these special pedals which are used by cyclist athletes? You can “click” your foot in, so you are kind of connected as a unity with your bike.
When I sat on a road bike for the first time, I was so concentrated to get my feet into the mechanism that I fell off my bike after a few hundred meters. But I tried it again and in the end, it was not difficult anymore.
I think, situations like these will appear from time to time when you start cycling. The worst thing is if you don’t learn from these. You won’t always succeed from the beginning, but if you keep it on, it becomes easier from day to day and finally you get it.
Once, I went cycling in the morning without any breakfast, so after about 2 hours, I was completely shaky and had really problems to get home again. Another day, I forgot my repair kit at home, had a flat tire – luckily, I found a guy who helped me after walking for a while and wondering of how I will continue my ride.
Today, I can laugh at this and I will never make these mistakes again – but you maybe have to collect some experience so you can avoid this in the serious case.
One thing will always be hard to accept: Some car drivers don’t pay any respect to cyclists and pass very narrow, so you regularly get scared and you will never really habituate this.
Me: What has surprised you the most about this transformation in your life?
Bianca: I lost weight even if I was thinking I didn’t do much sport. I also gained more faith in myself and my skills, I never thought that my body was capable to do this performance and to be this though.
When I went to school, someday an hour of cycling was more effective for my grades than a lesson of learning – it depends on how clear your head is.
The cycling sport has so much more positive effects on my life which I never expected. And it definitely makes you happy!
Me: What’s the hardest route you’ve taken and why?
Bianca: There was an amateur/hobby race in Western Germany, called “RiderMan“. It was allowed for everyone and so you could find over thousand cyclists there.
On the first day, we had to do an individual time trial – this is my favorite challenge, and so I really drove with the throttle full open. It was great, and after the race, my legs already cracked. I had a good meal and went to bed early. In the next day, we had to go for a road race over 120 km. The first part was good, but then I seriously got problems to get over the hills (and there were a lot of these!).
So I went slower and slower from time to time, until in the end, I had so much effort to cycle on. My motivation was absolute minimum. I had nothing to drink because I rated the water station – so I stopped at a house and a nice woman helped me, filled up my bottles with fresh water. I don’t know how, it felt like an eternity, I finished that damn race and it costed me so much power – and this feeling is divine.
I think if you make the experience how far you can go and how capable your body is, you get a new perspective on your daily problems – stress in our job, arguments with friends, pressure, etc. etc..
And you see that this is not so important as you think and you don’t have to be depressed too much of that, because you see: Your body and you, they can do so much more than you think!
In combination with my handicap, which makes me feel extra small and like less of a person, the cycling sport and such experiences are great to prove the opposite. It’s not worth to give up or to think you can’t do that – you must believe in it, and if you don’t see any positive aspect, you can look at such experiences which made you a lot stronger.
Me: If you could cycle any route in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
Bianca: I think I would go to Paris because this is a dream of mine since a longer time and I never realized it until today.
Me: Message to the people who are unmotivated but willing to become a cyclist.
Bianca: There is a good diction: “No matter how slow you go (by bike), you will always lap those who stayed at home on the couch.”
I think, there must be the will and the decision to get on that cycle and to go on. If you are not motivated, you can try to imagine kind of a “picture” in your head – about the landscape you will cycle over, or how it would feel if you stand on the hill you just climbed up and enjoy the great view.
These imagination often helps me if I don’t like to go outside for a ride because the weather isn’t that nice or if I don’t know where I should go with my bike. Every trip, every ride, no matter how far you go, starts with the first pedal stroke. If you just manage to sit on your bike, hold the bar and start pedaling, you already have won!
It doesn’t matter if you go far or if you ride fast, the thing is to do some sport and to have fun. If you don’t have fun, you never will become as good as you really could be.
You don’t have to do it professional, you just have to start and the rest comes time by time. Don’t think that much, just follow your feelings and maybe look for a cycling club or group which gives additional motivation too.