SUDDENLY THE SMILE RETURNS
She won World Cup mountain bike races, but then simply gave up competitive sport. What the South Tyrolean Greta Weithaler,who today organises training camps for women, has to thank the eBike for is revealed in her personal report.
I'd like to tell you a story. Not a grand or special story. But one that I believe is worth writing down.
It began many years ago when my father taught me to ride a bike on the road in front of our house. I really wasn't very good at it and kept stubbornly using my feet as a brake. A bumpy start to my cycling career. But things changed: my hobby became a passion, and the passion soon became my main purpose in life. Training, competitions, training. Region-wide, Italy-wide, worldwide. Cycling was my guiding star, my everyday life revolved around it – with great success. I was fascinated by both aspects of the competitive sport because while the training and events placed restrictions on me and challenged me, cycling also gave me a certain freedom.
And, to be honest, I can't exactly remember when this changed – or why.
When I look back at that time today, I see more than victories, successes or great pictures on Instagram. I see a dark evening after school in winter, 15 degrees below zero, wind, and a mountain in front of me, which I climb time and again on my skis. I see that I couldn't eat anything on the morning before a race because I was so excited and nervous, and I also see the critical look of a girl in the mirror and the anxiety about not being good enough.
I stopped. I put my bike as far back as possible in the garage and didn't touch it again. I didn't want anything to do with cycling. But I was missing something. A year passed before I knew what. And another year, during which I got used to the idea and started having fun again. The decisive factor was an encounter, an experiment, a moment. I'd never sat on an eMountain bike before. On a beautiful, sunny autumn afternoon, I tried one out on a trail outside my front door. And then something happened in me, something that I'd been fighting for two years: The joy returned, the fun and the fascination. I was smiling again while riding my bike.
New opportunities opened up for me, downhill and now, suddenly, uphill as well – so different from cross-country, and yet so similar. I was able to go mountain biking again.
Today, I'm still really enthusiastic about this form of biking and share my experience as a guide and riding skills trainer at “Women's Camps”. Here, I notice one thing above all: no matter whether they are full-time mothers, career women or female students – as different as they may be, all the women have one thing in common: when they sit on an eBike for the first time, the reaction is always the same – they smile.
They smile because an eBike is simply fun. Because they can also ride up trails, because they get up the mountain faster and usually on a level playing field at my training camps. These new possibilities surprise many women. Everything's so simple and relaxed. Genuine Uphill Flow, in other words. And that's where the real fun lies.
I don't want to put forward any stereotypes, but in sports in particular, women are often weaker than men. And in my experience, the eBike as a leveller is really interesting and appealing to women in particular. All of a sudden, they are able to cycle together with their partners again without it being a struggle. Returning to the world of cycling after the birth of a child is also a big topic. Hitch the child trailer to the back of the eBike and a beautiful Sunday is simply guaranteed! Moreover, the eBike gives you greater self-confidence once you have overcome your own prejudices. Women can ride stretches the they would never have thought possible before. What do we women do differently to men on the eBike? We're simply much more sensitive, encourage each other and are maybe a little more considerate towards one another.
We also like to stop and have a “Ratscherle” – which means “a brief chat” in South Tyrolean – and we enjoy ourselves more. This enjoyment factor is particularly evident on an eBike tour.
I also get the impression that we women are more sensitive to our own needs, are good at assessing our limits and can simply get off or just say no.
With all these new possibilities, the eBike gives us a amazing amount of self-assurance, both uphill and downhill. Suddenly you can say: “Hey, I can get up there, even though it's a technical uphill section, and I would never ever have considered riding up something like that.”
This care-free aspect of eBiking, not having to worry whether you can physically manage a particular tour, is always a big topic among us women. It means that fun is guaranteed, so we get on our bike and spend time outdoors in nature much more often.