Kind words as I return to Nitty Gritty ride leading

Last night I led a Nitty Gritty bike ride. My recent role as a cross-country tour bike leader did not end happily and so this first time out with Nitty Gritty had special significance for me. Once again my bike community helped me on road to recovery.

We were a group of 23. “They are coming out because it’s you,” Diane, Georgia and Evan said. I don’t think that’s totally true but a happy ride with no grumbling about the route or directions was very reassuring.

Later in the ride, Steve chuckled to me as he told me I was “bossy” after I had made some comment to the group. He was referring to an incident from the first days on my cross country trip when my co-leader had a “difficult” conversations with me because he felt he needed to tell me that some of the riders had been saying I was “bossy” when I had told people to look at the sunset, the first magnificent one that we could see from camp. The tour participants were all in the midst of conversation pre-dinner while I was on dinner duty with another rider, Evan, and so I said the same thing I would have said if hanging out with a bunch of friends camping. This “difficult conversation” with my co-leader was irritating and hurtful, if only because I knew we had weeks and weeks to go working together. I have worked with and supervised hundreds of people and students. This was not a difficult conversation that needed to have occurred.

And so when Steve laughed and called me “bossy” for some inconsequential comment I made on last night’s ride, I smiled and then asked him why this was making him chuckle so much. He told me that I was one of the most relaxed and laid back persons he knew and that “bossy” was basically an absurd adjective to be used for me.

Steve and I have ridden together for a only a couple of years, but we often ride at about the same fitness level and place in the pack.  We don’t know each other like family and co-workers but we know each other well enough.

It is words like those from Steve that are making all the difference to me these days as I recover from my first cross-country tour leading experience.

Note: Isn’t “bossy” one of those words that are used derogatorily about women and not used for men?

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4 Responses to Kind words as I return to Nitty Gritty ride leading

  1. Daisy Mathis says:

    We’re all so glad you’re home. Some people and some groups of people are just poisonous downers. Welcome back to the goodwill of Nitty Gritty!

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  2. Yes, I’m convinced there are character traits: initiative, drive, leadership, effective assertiveness, courage, integrity, prioritization that are universal, regardless of gender, but we as a population treat them very different based on the individual’s gender. (see, perhaps, the 2016 election).

    What fascinates me about this is the experience of transgender people, people who possessed these traits at say 30 years old, transitioned, and let’s say at 45 years old are now presenting as the “other” gender, and their opportunity to contrast the two frameworks/filters. I think transgender sociologists/ anthropologists might have a tremendous insight into these arbitrary and paternalistic “norms”.

    Which makes me think, “Norm” might be the funniest name ever.

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    • cmyers2190 says:

      Thanks for your thoughts. I’m rather innocent and optimistic when it comes to my interactions with people despite what I know intellectually. And yes it would be fascinating to see that sociological study.

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  3. cmyers2190 says:

    Thanks for your thoughts. I knew this all existed but don’t think I experienced until this trip. And I think I believed the outdoor sport world was different. A close young woman friend is a cyclist and bike mechanic and told me sexism in be cycling world was rampant.

    I am so innocent and optimistic about people despite what I know intellectually.

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