Active by choice, not by size.

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An active lifestyle has nothing to do with size nor weight. It's time to throw all stigmas out of the window and live life your way!

High Coast, Sweden. 2021-06-08

Stigmas and the High Coast

Social stigmas have their roots in the discrimination, disapproval, or rejection of people with distinctive characteristics by other members of society. They will find their way into our psyche, both individually and collectively and bring more harm than good. If left undealt with they might even paralyze us and impair our enjoyement of life as a whole.

I've driven through the High Coast of Sweden quite a few times, and once stopped and attempted cycling there in the middle of the winter - not a very wise choice. Nevertheless the thought of facing what for me are mega hills and ascents remained enticing and thrilling. My wife is getting into hiking and we thought it would be nice to try our wings at some of the trails they have up there, in particular the Skuleberget. Searching the web and planning, the social stigmas came back: "it would be ridiculous if I didn't make it up the trail... I should probably not wear my cycling lycra when trying to cycle there, it's just too hilly and people will laugh... The High Coast is not for fat people...". Fortunately I knew the drill and kept on planning. Stigmas are a disease and contagion of ignorance, a social virus that kills very slowly. Symptons identified, now time for the medicine: a big "get the heck outta here" to all such thoughts and let's get the show on the road! B-roll: of course I had to take the "medicine" a few more times as I had an anxiety prone two-day debate with myself about taking the bike with me or not.

Go big or go home

I'm not a big fan of clichés, but this time I had to tell myself to stop fussing and "go big or go home" and let at least your wife have a good time. Anxiety settled down thanks to a trip to memory lane and the time I lived in Switzerland - it's not like I haven't hiked big mountains before, I just hadn't cycled there - Oh, here we go again! One of the most awesome bike rides I ever had in Sweden was waiting for me and I longed for it. No way I'm going home! The beautiful High Coast Bridge seemed to welcome us saying: expect great things!

Legs, arms, everything

The rush was real! All senses got enough stimuli for a year, and were just about to get even more. I actually regretted not riding more than i did, I mean I made it and wanted more of it! My suspicion proved to be true, not only did the Redshift Kitchen Bar system provided me with great stability, the shockstop stem made the entire experience much more comfortable. Top that off with an all-steel bike and we have magic! I could barely fall asleep, excited by the discovery that I could climb on a bike! Then came the hiking day, and after only a few minutes the trail got steep, really steep. Having taking the previous day to explore the surroundings and take pictures, my wife was a bit more rested than me. As she paced ahead, i thought to myself: "I'm doing this, even if I have to use legs, arms, everything". In fact I used my arms and hands quite frequently until my legs began to cooperate better.

Rose going for it!
Me goofing off as usual!

So rewarding

We made it to the top of Skuleberget and the view was breathtaking! While in awe of the spectacle nature invited us to see, I thought about how many choices we made to get there, and felt rewarded to know that none of them was made because of my size and weight! Well in tune with and surrounded by nature, the last thing I thought about were social stigmas and the opinion of others. My mind was into choosing a good line, something I learned while moutainbiking; locking my hips here and there, something I learned from experienced runners before runs of my own; and engaging different muscle groups, tucking in the tummy muscles when needed for better stability, as learned riding my road/gravel bike. I also noticed how the air was so much better up there and heard a few bird songs I hadn't heard before. There were beautiful tiny wildflowers, quirky bugs and animal holes all over. But, to see the Baltic Sea from above was amazing! To be active by choice not by size pays off!

We decided to have an active mini-vacation and were surprised at how well it went. It was hard to stop talking about the bike ride, the trails (we also went to Rotsidan and Norfällsviken). The experience was exhilarating, and we won't be the same after it!

You have the right to an active lifestyle. Remember, active means climbing, but it also means lifting your legs up and down while sitting on the sofa. It means walking around your backyard, and also means cycling around the block. Not every activity needs to be "epic" and your activities, at your level, are just that: yours! Comparison kills uniqueness and individuality. We wish to motivate and inspire you to be more active and even more outdoorsy. Make a point to get rid of all stigmas and live life your way! Nature is waiting! Hope you liked our adventure! Ebbe & Rose XL Biking. ______________________

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