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Mona Fahrbach

The Curvy Cyclist

Mona resides in southern Germany, and her favorite bicycle is the mountain bike, consequently, you can often find her out on the trails. However, Mona is not only an avid mountain biker; she also dedicates her time to supporting other women and girls. She serves as a riding technique coach, offers guided rides, actively participates in the local mountain bike club, provides advice to women seeking bikes at her local dealership, and teaches yoga. Mona describes herself as a "curvy" woman, and as such, it is a heartfelt mission for her to inspire other plus-sized women to take up cycling.

Liv: How did you get into cycling?

As a child, I used to cycle to school from April to November, and back then, I found it quite annoying. My friends and I would intentionally take our time until one of our mothers came to pick us up. However, about eight years ago, my interest in cycling truly ignited. During that time, I rode a hardtail bike with clipless pedals, primarily on dirt roads rather than trails. About four years ago, when the opportunity to lease a bike through JobRad arose, I made the switch to a full-suspension bike and immediately enrolled in my first downhill course. Since then, I've been completely hooked and have accomplished a lot in a relatively short period.

Liv: How has cycling influenced you as a person?

I think spending time in the forest and on the mountain provides a sense of downtime, trail riding offers both an adrenaline rush and a way to quiet one's mind – a challenge I've always struggled with. Through various courses, I've not only expanded my skills in the realm of mountain biking but also gained valuable life lessons. I've been fortunate to meet different people who have been instrumental in my growth, both as a person and mentally. I admit I used to be easily dazzled by others and often impressed by fancy bikes and expensive gear. However, today I'm much more self-assured in this regard.

Liv: Why is creating more opportunities for women in cycling important to you?

I believe it's great when women ride together; it brings a completely different energy compared to riding with men - although I enjoy cycling with them too at times. Women have a unique ability to push, motivate, understand, and support each other in a special way.

I take an active role in fostering this camaraderie among women. I organize group rides, provide support at women's camps, offer specialized skill clinics, and assist women in choosing the perfect bike at the local bike store. I also empower other women through my social media posts and am always there to lend an ear when someone needs support.

Additionally, my body shape serves as a positive role model, demonstrating that "Curvies" can be athletic and that sports can be enjoyable. I've found that many women with a bit more weight feel comfortable and relatable when they connect with me. It's essential for women to come together more often; it has a significant impact on our self-confidence and our overall outlook on life.

Liv: What are your experiences as a "Curvy" cyclist? What challenges do you face?

I used to perceive that people regarded me in a judgmental way, but I've since shed that belief. I've come to realize that I am just like everyone else. One area where significant improvement is needed is in cycling equipment. There are limited choices for larger clothing options and protective gear that accommodates curvier individuals, such as protectors that don't constrict and backpack straps that fit comfortably around the body. What's truly needed is a curvy collection. This issue is especially crucial, as many already grapple with body image concerns. I aim to support and empower curvier individuals, creating a space where they feel at ease and can surpass their own expectations.

Liv:  What are your plans for the upcoming winter season?

I hold the position of head of the MTB department at my local sports club, where I'm actively advocating for the legalization of trails. Naturally, I'll ride my bike as much as possible. Looking ahead to the new year, I plan to pursue further my qualifications. However, for now, my immediate plans involve a biking trip to Tuscany to work on me and my riding skills.