Abigail cycled as a teenager but stopped following a body image comment from a boy. With the help of her partner, she built her confidence to cycle again in her 20s. In 2016 Abigail cycle toured across Europe, making her stronger and resilient in the process. Following the trip, together with her partner, they wrote their first book, Gears for Queers.
Abigail Melton said…
"I cycled a lot as a kid, doing laps of my neighbourhood in Kings Lynn but, like lots of girls, I stopped cycling as a teenager. After a mean comment from a group of older boys about my body, my bike got relegated to the shed.
"I didn’t get back on two wheels until I was in my 20s - I’d moved to Cambridge and I needed a way to get to work. My partner Lilith was a keen cyclist, and they helped me get my confidence up. When I first started riding on roads I was terrified and wouldn’t turn right and so they had to plan our routes with only left hand turns. But I’m a bit of an all or nothing person, so a year later when they suggested we go on a cycle tour across Europe I agreed!
I came back with a huge appreciation of the way cycling not only gave me a way to explore the world, but made me stronger, braver and more resilient
"That trip in 2016 changed everything. I was totally inexperienced and made so many mistakes on the tour, but I came back with a huge appreciation of the way cycling not only gave me a way to explore the world, but made me stronger, braver and more resilient. When we returned we wrote our first book, Gears For Queers, about the experience.
"Since then, we’ve been on a second long tour, lots of shorter trips around our home in Fife and gotten the chance to talk about cycling with loads of different people. One of the best things cycling has given me is a positive relationship with my body. On the cycle tour I learnt to shake off some of the shame about my size I’ve carried since childhood and be grateful for my amazing body which carried me across Europe, and now I self-identify as a fat cyclist.
"I believe that if people see a diversity of bodies on bikes and trikes, more people will feel like cycling is for them. I feel so happy when we get messages on social media from people who have got on their bikes again after reading our book or blogs. In the future I’d love to organise a big fat cycle tour!"
Abigail was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by Chloe Bramwell who said:
"Abigail shows that cycling is open to everyone. Not just only women, but LGBT women, too. Her work embracing body positivity has made me change my relationship with my own body. I make healthier choices for myself because I love my body rather than to punish it. I admire her vulnerability and strength in showing how she sees herself. I admire that she holds the cycling commumity to account by expecting accessibility for everyone. I admire her for showing that cycling is for us all."
Her work embracing body positivity has made me change my relationship with my own body... I admire her for showing that cycling is for us all