clothing · fashion · rest · sleep

Aren’t all dresses nap dresses?

The ads in my digital media news feeds know what I’m up to. Which is to say staying at home, working from home, exercising at home, spending time with family, and napping. I’m also dressing differently now my life is one big blur of working, exercising, doomscrolling, eating, sleeping etc.

Enter the nap dress. I swear ads for different versions of this dress make up half of the advertising I see these days.

And that makes sense given that I’ve declared myself the Pandemic Nap Queen.

Haven’t heard of this pandemic fashion trend yet? See Meet the Nap Dress — Summer’s Biggest Must Have, Meet The ‘Nap Dress,’ The Latest Pandemic Clothing Trend, and Why a nap dress is about to become your new summer staple.

This New Yorker piece explains the allure of the nap dress.

Rachel Syme writes, “Since sleeping through the night was not happening, I figured an outfit specifically designated for daytime dozing might be just the thing. One could theoretically wear a Nap Dress to bed, but it is decidedly not a nightgown. (For one, it is opaque enough to wear to the grocery store.) It is not the same thing as a caftan, which, though often luxurious, is more shapeless and more grown-up. It is not a housedress, which we tend to associate with older women shuffling onto the stoop to grab the morning paper, the curlers still in their hair. A housedress is about forgetting the self, or at least hiding it under layers of quilted fabric. The Nap Dress, on the other hand, suggests a cheeky indulgence for one’s body, and a childlike return to waking up bleary-eyed hours before dinner.”

Here’s what some of them look like:

The nap dress is part of the daytime nightwear trend.

In “The Uneasy Privilege Of The Daytime Nightgown,” Veronique Hyland talks about the politics of who gets to wear a daytime nap dress during the pandemic. It’s not frontline workers, grocery store clerks, transit workers, and people driving UberEats to pay rent.

“I can appreciate the aesthetic appeal of a nightgown. I get that they’re comfortable, and who doesn’t crave comfort right now? It’s possible that I’m projecting way too much onto a few yards of fabric. But the nightgown, especially as daywear, strikes me as reactionary. Its evocations of passive Victorian and pre-Raphaelite femininity feel like an uncritical throwback to those eras’ mold of white female fragility. The styling of these images evokes sleeping beauties or Ophelias, or worse, invalids. Fashioning yourself as a tubercular Victorian might once have felt ironic; with millions in the grip of a real pandemic—one that is disproportionately affecting Black and brown communities—it feels Marie Antoinette-at-the-Hameau-level out of touch. And in 2020, the idea of “checking out” and into the seductive world of blameless slumber that the nightgown invites us to, does too. It serves as a reminder that while some people are taking to the streets, others are taking to their beds.”

You don’t need a fancy new specially designed nap dress to get into the spirit of the being well-rested. And maybe we can be well-rested, including naps, so that we can work and protest. Tracy’s posts on naps as a form of resistance talks about that connection.

This is speedy, short post, quickly written before I zoom away for holidays where there will definitely be lots and lots of napping but also definitely not any special nap dresses!

See you when I’m back after a week of canoe camping in Algonquin Park.

The Nap Ministry

boxing · fitness

Goodbye to Newsgirls (the place)… the community lives on

Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club posted this on their Facebook page this morning:

“Today is our last day in the gym and we are inviting you to come down and have a turn at painting over the Newsgirls logo on the wall behind the ring. It’s a slightly dramatic ending but to us it’s more of a ritual of closing down one fort and moving towards another equally special playground for hitting things.

1pm

CBC will be in the house.
Please wear masks and practice social distancing.
Prepare to be shocked when you walk in the gym, it’s not as pretty as it used to be.
Hope to see you out,
Coach Kapow!”

You can read about the closing here: ‘Everybody was crying’: After 24 years Canada’s first all-female boxing club has closed. COVID-19 was the sucker punch.

It’s sad. It’s the end of an era. But it’s not the end of Newsgirls even though the physical space is no more.

Coach Savoy says, “It’s not the end of Newsgirls,” she said. “Newsgirls has a strong foundation and a lot of community support … we will get back on our feet.”

She’s got plenty of ideas, and a few jokes — maybe she’ll start a motorcycle gang! For now she’s teaching pay-what-you-can classes in a park and looking out for whatever might come next.

“I can always find people to help out,” she said. “When you have access to a strong community there’s so much you can do.””

Guest blogger and Newsgirls member Sarah.

I loved boxing when I gave it a try at Newsgirls during my Toronto based sabbatical four years ago. I’ve always planned to go back.

Sounds like I won’t be going back to the same location but I’ll be tracking down Coach Savoy. See you then Kapow!

fitness

Sam’s monthly check in: Well, July was a blur…

Like most academics I’m shocked and surprised that is August. How did that happen? Yikes!

August is like the Sunday of summer

August is when I realize I haven’t started all the writing projects I thought I’d make slow but steady progress on over the summer and that I’m teaching a grad seminar in a few weeks in addition to deaning. It’ll all be fine. I’ll get it all done. But the sense of endless summer weeks stretching out ahead of me are gone.

This summer had a slow pandemic-related start in terms of getting to do all the warm weather outdoorsy things I like to do. Like, I’m finally going canoe camping but next week but August is a bit late for my first time out paddling.

Also, I’ve got to say, this year, 2020, the year that started for us worrying about the youngest child and Australian bush fires and has been a blur of Covid-19 ever since, has turned me from a low grade worry wart to a full on ‘anxious about all the people in my life’ sort of parent. I want to give August a stern talking to.

A stern talking to the month of August. Be quiet and behave.

July did see me getting outside more on my bike. In fact, July’s fitness highlights were all bike related. I loved weekends of ice cream rides at Sarah’s farm which included outdoor, physically distant visits with friends. I also loved riding and racing on Zwift where I’ve joined Team TFC.

Here’s the team guidelines which I like and seem to be held to:

  1. TFC is a close knit community so all riders should be ready to help and give advice to all members.
  2. Be passionate about the team and support team mates wherever possible.
  3. All riders should work towards a common goal of trying to improve the team
  4. Respect other riders on the platform.
  5. Respect the ride and ride leader especially if it is another group ride.
  6. In a group ride be ready to help riders who may be struggling.
  7. Remember that the idea of racing is to improve so give 100% every race.
  8. Enjoy the time on the platform whether that is a ride, race, workout or a social spin.

I’ve also started getting outside for work visits with coworkers. Wherever possible I’m trying to do things outside. I’m nervous about the winter ahead.

I’ve also been feeling kind of weepy about missing the bike rally and riding with big groups of people. You can make me feel better by sponsoring me in the virtual rally.

I’m trying not to live to much in memories of things I did close up with lots of other people in years past and in anticipation of doing those things again in the future, but sometimes I let myself indulge.

In that spirit, here’s some photos from rides in years past.

Finally, I don’t know where things stand with my knee replacement. I don’t know if things have gotten better or if I’ve just gotten used to it but the good news is that it isn’t getting worse. I also don’t know if in light of COVID-19 it’s been delayed at all.

Stay tuned!

blogging

Our top ten posts in July, #icymi

1 Cate is still menstruating.

2. Guests Sarah and Cara explain why working out indoors might not be the best idea in the time of covid-19.

3. Tracy explains why she doesn’t want to be a Precision Nutrition repeat customer.

4. Sam wonders where the words are to describe large muscular women.

5. Nicole asks good questions about a study about women and working out in revealing clothing.

6. Catherine gives advice and shares her experience about kayak shopping while fat

7 Tracy asks what we’d change about the fitness industry if we could.

8. And what about the NYT 6 minute workout? Catherine has things to say

9. Catherine blogs about things that make her feel good in her body, the pandemic edition.

10. Dad bods are in the news again and Sam blogged about them again.

Image: A large spaceship landing hovering over New York City

accessibility · charity · cycling

The power of bicycles in changing the world for girls and women

See Wheels of Change: The Impact of Bicycle Access on Girls’ Education and Empowerment Outcomes in Rural Zambia.

“Previous evidence suggests that providing bicycles to school girls reduced the gender gap in school enrollment in India, but little has been known about the impact of bicycle distribution programs in sub-Saharan Africa and whether such programs can increase girls’ empowerment. In rural Zambia, researchers partnered with World Bicycle Relief (WBR) to evaluate the impact of bicycle access on girls’ educational and empowerment outcomes. The study found that the bicycles reduced commute time, increased punctuality to school, and reduced the number of days girls were absent from school by 28 percent in the previous week. The program also improved measures of empowerment, including girls’ sense of control over the decisions affecting their lives (i.e., their “locus of control” increased). Researchers did not find evidence that the program impacted school dropout or grade transition. “

Everyone loves this Susan B. Anthony quote: “I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can’t get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

Here on the blog we tend to think of the connection between bicycles and feminism as a historical thing. I’ve written lots about that and I’ve given quite a few academic talks on the connection between the history of feminist activism in the west and the history of bicycles. See my post about the anti-bike backlash of the late 1800s here:  Bicycles: Making good women go bad since the 1800s.

However, bicycles are still playing a role in improving the lives of girls and women all over the world. In many parts of the world, the choice is between biking and getting a drive from parents. But in many other parts of the world it’s the possession of a bicycle that makes getting to school possible at all. Often girls don’t have access to bicycles (and as a result, schooling).

Related posts:

Wadja: A girl, her bike, and her dreams

Will bike riding in Saudi Arabia change the way women dress?

Give the girl a bike!

As an orphan living with her grandmother in Zambia, 12-year-old Tamara has a simple life, but not an easy one. See how her story changes with the power of a bicycle. http://worldbicyclerelief.org/power
commute · cycling · weight loss · weight stigma

“On yer bike” for oh so many reasons, but weight loss isn’t one of them

In April, which feels like years ago in terms of the pandemic, Catherine asked, Does COVID-19 care what you weigh?

The answer, not surprisingly, then and now, is that it’s complicated.

Catherine concluded, “I don’t work in medicine, but I do know that there is a humongous evidence gap between what’s happening clinically in a particular hospital and its patients (each with their own complex medical and other histories), and what is true about everyone with higher BMIs in the US (not to mention other countries) with respect to risks related to COVID-19. Right now we can’t say much of anything. So maybe we shouldn’t. Which means the answer to my blog title question is, “we don’t have evidence right now to answer this question”. It doesn’t make for exciting news copy, but it’s the closest thing to the truth right now.”

But nevermind the fact that it’s complicated get in the way of a feel-good media campaign. Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans an anti-obesity/anti-COVID-19 campaign, with bicycles front and center.

I have lots of complicated thoughts about all of this. And it’s not helped by all of the cycling advocacy groups which make up a good chunk of my social media newsfeed sharing news of the plan enthusiastically. Treehugger proclaims, Miracle Pill Found for Fighting COVID-19: The Bicycle.

Sigh.

First, it’s not at all clear that if you had to pick one thing to work on to improve COVID-19 control in the United Kingdom it’s weight loss. How about mask wearing? Contract tracing? Or speedy testing? There are many areas in which the UK’s COVID-19 response is lacking. I wouldn’t start by blaming individual citizens for their excess pounds.

Second, it’s not clear that there is a shred of evidence that ‘eat less, move more’ public health campaigns do anything other than shame fat people.

Here’s an obesity doctor’s assessment, “I find it impossible to fathom that anyone with even an ounce of knowledge of the complex, multifactorial, chronic, and often progressive nature of obesity should in this day and age still fail to understand that the proposed plan, which includes the usual talk of changing the food environment (largely by appealing to personal responsibility) and a 12-week weight loss plan app [sic], focussed on healthy living (read, “eat-less-move-more”), is about as likely to noticeably reduce obesity in the UK population, as taking out a full page ad in The Sunday Times stating that “Obesity is bad!”.”

And here’s Susie Orbach’s response in the Guardian: Britain’s obesity strategy ignores the science: dieting doesn’t work.

Third, there are so many, many reasons to encourage people to ride bikes–less pollution, better mental health, happiness, etc–we don’t need to add one that isn’t true to the list.

Note that Boris, like me, is a regular cyclist, who is thought to be by many people someone who could do to lose a few pounds, or even stones, as they say over there. Normally I’m out there defending fat cyclists like me and Boris. See Fat cyclists in the news and Big women on bikes and Pretty fast for a big girl and Not all cyclists are thin and Fat lass at the front?. It’s a thing I write about a lot.

But here he is, a committed, regular, everyday cyclist out there pushing bike riding for weight loss.

Note we’re different kinds of cyclists but neither of us is thin.

I love bikes but I hate to hear them promoted as weight loss tools.

Because, they’re not.

I love to ride my bike. I’m on track to ride 5000 km this year, or about a 100 km a week. You can follow me on Strava, here. On ZwiftPower I’m here. I’ve been doing this for years and I can assure you it’s not making me any smaller.

And I worry that if people start riding to lose weight, and they don’t lose weight, they’ll quit and miss out on all the other benefits of moving through life on two wheels. For example, cyclists are the happiest of commuters.

What bicycling feels like every single time!

In my post on reasons to ride I give some of my reasons for riding a bike, “There are lots and lots of reasons to ride bikes. Some are health related. It’s also a terrific stress relief, and it’s good for the environment. It’s an easy way to incorporate exercise into your day. It’s good to spend more time outside. As well, it’s a sensible financial move. Driving, once you add up the costs of car payments, parking, insurance, and gas is an expensive way to get around. And I agree with all of these reasons but on their own they might not be enough to get me out the door and on my bike. What does it then? The sheer joy of cycling. On my bike I feel like I’m 12 again. Whee, zoom!”

Here are some more reasons people ride:


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cycling · fitness

Sam is a local legend (but not really)

A golden laurel wreath
Strava just emailed me to tell me that I’m the new Local Legend in town!
“You just claimed the title of Local Legend on Fry Rd Northbound.

Ironically it was right after they emailed me to say “Dethroned!” and that someone had stolen my QOM.

Local Legend is a new Strava term. QOM is about speed. Local Legend is about persistence. You get awarded the title when you have the most tries on a given segment.

“The Local Legend (LCL) achievement is awarded to the athlete who completes a given segment the most over a rolling 90-day period regardless of pace or speed. 

“With racing cancelled this year, I’ve been enjoying Strava challenges, segment hunting and going for those QOMs. So, when Strava invited me to try and bag one of their all new Local Legend crowns it was game on!”

I’m the local legend on a stretch of road in Prince Edward County. Not exactly local. That’s a good reason to visit Sarah’s family farm a lot this summer and autumn.

competition · cycling · fitness

Losing the last of my London QOMs!

A year ago I blogged about shifting my QOM focus to Guelph. See Making Strava Segment Goals for Guelph 

Sesame Street News Flash | Muppet Wiki | Fandom
Newsflash!

It hasn’t happened. The pandemic happened. I’m riding outside again but I’m been keeping speed for indoors and Zwift. I still think I don’t want to risk anything bad happening during a pandemic. I would feel like an idiot hurting myself on my bike in these circumstances. Okay, I always feel like an idiot hurting myself on my bike but the extra COVID-19 oomph puts it over the edge.

The latest “uh oh” email–Dethroned!–tells me I lost the a London segment I’ve held as the fastest woman since 2014. I love how Strava suggests you message the rider and congratulate them. Um, no?

QoM v KoM: Strava's Genders (Guest Post) – FIT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE
I don’t know who you are but I will find you and take back my QOM.

(Update: The person took it down. Her average speed on the segment according to Strava was 67 km/hr. LIkely she left her Garmin on in the car. It happens.)

There are now just 4 London QOMs in my Strava trophy case. Mostly they’re flat and of a certain distance. This one is 800 metres. I like that distance. It’s also flat. I like that too. Though I did have one uphill, see I got an uphill QOM! But it didn’t stick for too long. I think the blog’s Kim Solga has it now!

What’s Strava?

What’s Strava? Strava is a ride/run tracking app. You can either use it on its own or share your Garmin bike computer data with it.

What’s a Strava segment? Segments are one of Strava’s coolest features. Segments are user-created, user-edited, and designate a portion of route where users can compete for time.

skitch_iphoto.export.skitch.png

What’s a QOM?

“KOM or QOM Crown: If you achieve the fastest time on a segment, you’ll receive a special crown, meaning that you are the KOM or QOM of that segment (acronyms stand for King of the Mountain and Queen of the Mountain). This crown is awarded at the time of upload if you are at that time the leader on the segment. Since Achievement Awards do not refresh in real time, even if someone later beats your time, you will still be able to see the gold crown on that activity page.

Your KOM/QOM crowns are stored in a special list on Strava for your reference. “My KOMs” or “My QOMs” is a page stored under “KOMs/CRs” or “QOMs/CRs” accessed from your Profile page. It will keep a current list of all the KOMs or QOMs you currently hold.

Note: if you tie for a KOM/QOM, you will not be awarded the KOM/QOM crown, and the crown will not be recorded in the “My KOMs/QOMs” list”

Why do I care?

I’m not offering this discussion up as reasons for you to care. You can totally not care about speed or relative-to-others speed when you’re riding your bike. You can enjoy riding without a bike computer or with a bike computer and not uploading rides to Strava. Or you can have a bike computer, upload rides to Strava and still not care about QOMs. You might not have a competitive bone in your body or you might have one but think you’re happier not indulging it. There are lots of different ways to be in the world and I’m good with most of them.

But, true confession here, I do care. It’s fun and motivational for me to try to go faster than others have gone. I’m happy to restrict the others to “other women.” Kim has an interesting post about QOMs and KOMs here.

I like getting it out of my system on Zwift or chasings QOMs. Aside from sprinting with Coach Chris and friends and playfully racing friends up hills, I mostly don’t try to go faster than the people with whom I’m riding. I view riding with others as a cooperative thing.

It’s good for me to be reminded of my strengths–sprinting, for example–as I’m not the typical age or weight of a speedy road cyclist. I feel motivated by segments in a way that I don’t feel motivated by doing sprint intervals on my own. They make me work harder. I also like comparing my speeds on segments over time. See I’m getting faster: Using Strava segments to tack progress over time.

Here’s tips on how to take a Strava QOM.

You can follow me on Strava, here.

cycling · gadgets · technology · trackers

If Garmin is down, did that ride even happen?

Today Sarah and I did our usual Prince Edward County weekend ice cream ride. It’s a perfect weekend ride. 50 km round trip. Ice cream at Slickers in Bloomfield is our destination. It’s vaguely uphill getting there and vaguely downhill coming home. There are osprey nests to look out for and we’ve been meaning to make a new Strava segment, from osprey nest to osprey nest.

Slickers Ice Cream

The ride was great. The ice cream–I had campfire flavour was delicious–and the pool after felt amazing. But the final satisfaction of uploading the ride to Garmin and Strava after, in the shade, with a non alcoholic beer, didn’t happen. Garmin is down. The Garmin connect app on my phone tells me this.

Here’s the work around for manually uploading and transferring files to Strava if it’s really bothering you. Me, I’m waiting it out. But I’m bummed we can’t make our osprey nest Strava segment.

What’s going on, you might wonder?

It’s a major ransom ware attack. Wasted Locker wants millions of dollars from Garmin.

My ride is saved on my Garmin bike computer and it will upload when they’re back in business. It’ll all be fine. I missed seeing how my speeds and times compared to past trips but mostly I’m okay with it.

You? How are you coping fellow Garmin users?

fitness

Fave bike songs (or some music for a Wednesday!)

It’s a rainy Wednesday and I’m thinking about bicycle songs and a Spotify playlist. What are your favourite songs about the joy of riding a bike? Here’s an older post with some of my fave bicycle tunes.

FIT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

image

Here’s some of my favourite bicycle songs:

1. She Rides, by Evalyn Parry, from her one woman show, SPIN

2. Me and My Bike, by Gracious Collective

3. I Got a Bicycle! by Coco Love Alcorn

https://fitisafeministissue.com/2013/08/21/i-got-a-bicycle-love-this-song/

Here’s the snowy version

4. Broken Bicycles, by Tom Waits

5. Bicycle Race, Queen (of course) (featuring naked women racing bicycles, of course)

6. Bicycle Song, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Here’s some more lists of favourite bicycle songs:

1. Mixtape: http://flavorwire.com/73760/mixtape-10-best-songs-about-bicycles

2. Most downloaded bike theme songs: http://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/tour-de-france-10-most-downloaded-bike-themed-songs-revealed-__4297/

3. Total women’s cycling 9 songs about bikes: http://totalwomenscycling.com/lifestyle/9-songs-about-bikes-and-cycling-19747/#y8rmhU5xJ81Husvd.97

 What are your favourite songs about bicycles?

Girls on bikes, in Brooklyn, with stripes and swimming caps.  Like synchro swimmers who're totally over the water!  Yeah!

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