Last year I probably biked more miles not wearing a dress than most people in this country biked, period. And that was a bare fraction, surely less than 5%, of the miles I put under my wheels. The tight integration of those two wheels with my identity was only underscored while looking through old pictures, and finding a train picture I'd taken in Harrisburg several years ago where my bike was barely visible in the edge of the frame: I had slung my camera on my back and biked from my hotel, actually heading from the hillside above the west shore all the way past the city to the east that day.
With the cold weather, I felt pudgy, and unable to find a good way to work it off without risking frostbite, spills on ice, or worse. My cheeks felt fat, my waist bloated. And that was on top of the more ongoing dysphoria. Body image issues are part and parcel of life, especially for women. But the odd look from the valet drove home one thing: my body may not be behaving in the way I'd prefer, but it was 15 degrees, and I was biking anyway. My body may not be the one I want, but it's the only one I have, and it was mine to keep working at shaping it to what I need it to be for myself.