Marley Blonsky Interview: Building Size Inclusive Communities

Self-identifying as a “fat woman,” Marley Blonsky is one of the most charming, inspirational people in the cycling world today.  Many of us first discovered Marley thru the documentary “All Bodies On Bikes.”  Since then, Marley has used the attention the film brought to expand her work bringing attention to size inclusivity and building inclusive cycling communities.  

Marley reminds us that we don’t have to look a certain way, have a particular body type, or fit in any mold to be considered a cyclist.  This is an important message for us ALL to remember.

In this podcast interview, Marley shares what gear and bikes she recommends to larger bodied cyclists, what an inclusive group ride or event looks like, and how we can all become allies to bigger bodies cyclists.

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About The Host

kristen bonkoski

Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist.

An avid cyclist for a few decades now, she took to cycling during her late teen years — a time when she needed something to help boost her self-esteem and confidence.

Mission accomplished, the sport has become an important part of her life.  Kristen’s favorite disciplines are mountain biking and bike commuting, although you can also find her cranking out a century on her road bike and touring with her husband and son.  If it has to do with two wheels, she enjoys doing it.

Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and she runs Rascal Rides, a website about biking with kids.

IG: @kristenlbonkoski

Interview Transcript

Kristen  

For anybody who’s listening, who’s not already familiar with you, who is Marley Blonsky? Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Marley Blonsky  

Sure. So I’m Marley Blonsky. I am 35, almost 36. I don’t usually include that. But why not.

And I am a professional fat cyclist. I ride for a couple of different companies, including Pearl Izumi, Ride with GPS, Shimano, but I don’t get paid based on performance. My whole work is all about inclusion in the cycling world and making bicycling more accessible to everyone.

Kristen  

I first found you, and I think probably a lot of your followers first found you through the film “All Bodies On Bikes.” How did that come about?

Marley Blonsky  

It’s kind of a funny story. And actually, now that I think about it even more, it’s really funny, because it really came about through Instagram and the power of direct messages. So Kailey, and I, my co star in the film, and co founder of All Bodies on Bikes.

We’ve been doing this work for a couple years at summits and meetings, and just really raising the issue of size inclusion in the bike world. You know, we couldn’t find rain jackets, we couldn’t find chamois that fit. We’re breaking parts on our bicycle. And so we’re having these conversations, kind of within our own little circles. And the League of American Bicyclists invited us to come to their annual they have an annual summit every year. And this was in March 2020.

So we plan to go there. And a filmmaker heard our story and said, Hey, I think this is gonna make really compelling. Like you have a really compelling story. Let’s make a film. And so he pitched it to Shimano via DMs on Instagram. And that’s really where it started from.

But I think, you know, a lot of folks think that All Bodies on Bikes was the start of this movement. And that was really just a point in it. It definitely helped us take off from there, but we’ve been doing this work for a long time before that film came out.

Kristen  

So you had that “All Bodies on Bikes” community before the film came out?

Marley Blonsky  

Kind of. It wasn’t as formal and we didn’t have that name then. But we would lead rides. We were having these conversations. I’ve had a blog about the stuff since like 2013.

Kristen  

Can you talk a little bit about that community and what it is?

Marley Blonsky  

Sure. So since the film has come out, you know, lots of people have seen it.

They’ve seen themselves represented in me and Kaylee and our struggles, but also our joy on a bike and have come to us and said, “We want to ride with you.”

And one of my favorite things to do is a group ride. But it really sucks. When you get left behind. We realize like, “Oh, we have this power now to get together other people just like us who want to ride bikes in groups, but maybe haven’t necessarily been welcomed.” So the way that it’s working right now, and it’s on its way to changing, and I’ll talk about that, okay.

But basically, whenever we travel somewhere, we try and host a group ride. So we were just in Arkansas for the world cyclocross championship. And we led a group ride there, we’re going to mid-south gravel, in three weeks, which I have not trained enough for, I will do a group ride there. And really just trying to make it I guess, show not tell of how to do group rides, and like, how to make them inclusive and no drop.

But I mentioned that things are changing. And we just got a really big new financial sponsor, not quite ready to announce it yet. But they are helping us kind of seed some chapters across the country. Because it’s really, really important to us that if somebody comes on All Bodies on Bikes ride, they actually get that experience, you know, they’re not left behind, they feel welcome. They feel safe and included.

So for us, we want to build out a chapter structure, we want to make sure that those folks leading the chapters really understand the philosophy of All Bodies on Bikes, and can implement it in their local areas. It’s really exciting. And it’ll just expand our reach so much more and hopefully grow more inclusive communities.

Kristen  

Yeah, absolutely. That’s exciting. We have on our website, a list of all the different like women’s clubs and group rides around the country. This sounds like it won’t be women’s specific, but we’ll make sure to include it.

Marley Blonsky  

Yeah, it won’t be women specific, you know, there might be events that we do that are women specific. But I think one thing I’ve learned through this advocacy work is larger men, especially in athletics, who really need a community as well. Yeah. I think it’s almost easier sometimes to be a fat woman than it is to be a fat man. In athletics, at least.

Kristen  

Yeah, that I actually agree with that. My husband, he’s larger. And he always just people look at him. And they don’t think like you’re a mountain biker. And he’s actually this amazing mountain biker, right. But he often just gets completely discounted because of what his body looks like.

And so I think that is probably true, because I do have lots of girlfriends with all different types of bodies, but I feel like my husband doesn’t have that same. That same group or community around him.

Marley Blonsky  

Definitely. And, you know, I think it also about like, the structural barriers in cycling, like, I’m short, but I’m large, I guess I should say heavy. So finding a bike is a challenge, but it’s not a super big challenge. You know, I think a lot of folks in larger bodies, especially if they’re tall, if they’re, they weigh 300 pounds or more, finding a bike is next to impossible.

Kristen  

Speaking of which, do you have bikes that you recommend? Because that’s something my husband had trouble with too. He like breaks every bike, you know.

Marley Blonsky  

So first recommendation is getting a strong frame. So there’s a lot of really good steel frames out there. Depending on your budget, you know, modern steel frame from Surly or All City or Kona, one of those brands can be a really great option.

If your budget is lower, some of those old 80s and 90s mountain bikes are phenomenal and super strong, and then just upgrading your components. So making sure your wheels have a lot of spokes on it. Actually, for larger riders recommend custom wheels. And that can sound really intimidating and really expensive. But it doesn’t have to be, you know, talk to your bike shop and work with them to build up a wheel set. And that’s going to, you know, relieve so much frustration later on down the road.

And then from there, you can modify all sorts of things, you know, your handlebar position, your seat, your saddle, all sorts of things. But I think, you know, the most important thing is making sure the frame can accommodate your weight. Yeah. And then the components can be upgraded from there.

Kristen  

Yeah. And the good news is that, you know, steel frames generally are some of like, the more cost effective frames, right? You can get like a really good quality bike without spending a ton of money.

Marley Blonsky  

Yeah. And it’s funny, because I think the industry has this obsession right now with lighter, faster performance, performance oriented. And this frame weighs two pounds, right?

And it’s like, that’s great. If that’s the kind of cycling you want to do. But for me, like, I don’t necessarily care about the weight of my bicycle. I just want it to work well, and to get me where I want to go.

Kristen  

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that durability too, like, I know, so many people who buy a new bike every single year or and there’s nothing wrong with that, if you can afford that, and that’s your thing.

But for me, I like to have a bike, that’s gonna last a long time, because I usually don’t ever get rid of my bikes, I just add them to the collection in the garage. And yeah, so that’s something to think about too – the durability.

Marley Blonsky  

Yeah. Or, you know, I change out the groups that I’ve got my my surly that I’ve ridden for six years that has gone from my daily commuter to my adventure bike, and now it’s my cyclocross bike. And who knows what iteration will take next, but I think a lot of us are so used to throwaway culture. Yeah, we forget that bikes can be changed.

Kristen  

Yeah, absolutely. And while we’re on the topic of gear, what other gear do you recommend for women with larger bodies?

Marley Blonsky  

Bike shorts, with padding in them. I wrote them off for a very long time, simply because I’d never tried them in my size. And, you know, for me, any ride over about 10 miles, I’ll put on a pair of padded bike shorts.

But otherwise, you know, gloves are really helpful. They absorb the vibration, and they’re one of like, the cheaper pieces of gear that you can get. And then I’d say, you know, a good pair of shoes. They don’t be cycling specific, but something with a really sturdy sole that will help your whole body mechanics.

Kristen  

Yeah. In terms of clothing, What brands do you recommend?

Marley Blonsky  

Yeah, so I full disclosure, I am an athlete for Pearl Izumi. Okay, and we are working on expanding their size line. A lot of their stuff comes up to double XL, a few things in triple XL. So I highly recommend them. And then there’s a couple other brands out there.

Machines for Freedom makes plus size clothing, Velocio, fat lad at the black, excuse me, Fat Lad at the Back is a UK based company, and they’ve got really fun designs. So you know, figuring out what works for you.

Kristen  

Yeah, absolutely. I love too they talked about Pearl Izumi me because to me, that’s one of the biggest evolutions – this is gonna really age me. But like when I first started cycling 20 I think it’s probably about 20 years ago, my now husband, then boyfriend at the time bought me a Pearl Izumi New Jersey. And it was like a size medium, which is what I would wear in normal life. And it didn’t like I couldn’t even zip it up, right? Yes. So, so tiny.

And that was kind of my first introduction to this idea of cycling clothes being this European fit, and just being so little, and Pearl Izumi was not doing a good job of having size inclusivity. So I think that’s really cool that now that they’ve made this evolution over 20 years, or however long.

Marley Blonsky  

There’s still work to do. And they readily admit that. But they are open to it. They’re excited about it. And sometimes I get in trouble for giving companies like too much leeway.

But having come from the corporate world, I know that these things take time. Yeah. And like I can demand change, and I can be a jerk about it. But that’s not going to get me anywhere. Yeah. Or I can learn to work within their systems and make the business case and hopefully, you know, in a year or two, anybody who wants to cycling kit can find one.

Kristen  

Yeah. I love that. I think it was I think it was Jen Kriske from machines for freedom who I had on the podcast. And she had talked about how when they first got started, you know they had a smaller range of sizes because that’s all they could afford to do at that point in time.

And then over time they’ve been able to like really become off offer such a A wide range of sizes. That’s a good example of like how you do have to work, you know, understand when a small business is going through and as they grow into a bigger corporate brand that they might be able to put more pressure on them to do these things.

Marley Blonsky  

Exactly. One thing I just thought of when you were talking about the sizing – in my closet right now, I’ve got jerseys ranging from extra large to 6x. Yeah. And they all fit me it’s not like, yeah, my body has changed that much. And for me, I don’t get hung up on the number of x’s, or the size. Like it can be a little defeating. But I’m like, hey, if it fits, I’m going to wear it. Yeah.

But I know for a lot of people who would normally wear you know, a smaller medium, to have to buy an extra large is something that they’re not ready to do. Right. And so, you know, that’s another thing trying to get the industry to realize, like, Hey, you’re sizing is turning people away.

Kristen  

Right. I really like it too, at least me personally, when brands offer like street clothes numbers, for their clothing, because of what you just said, like medium means absolutely nothing. And it’s very confusing. So it’s much better, I think, I know, it’s more expensive to create, like 12 sizes, as opposed to small, medium, large.

Marley Blonsky  

But it fits so much better. There’s a brand called Universal Standard that makes like business clothes and everyday clothes. And they have changed their whole sizing model that their medium is actually like a 16/18 based on like the average size in the US.

So I went shopping there one day, and the woman handed me a medium and I was like, “Oh, no, I don’t wear a medium. I need like a double XL.” And she was like, “Just trust me, try it on.” And it was like, “Holy cow. What is this? Like? I’ve got options on both sizes?” If I need to go up, go up or down? You know?

Kristen  

I’m circling back around you at first talked about Instagram. And that’s how really All Bodies on Bikes got started and where you built your following. And I just like to talk a little bit about it. Because to me, Instagram often feels very toxic. It’s like a great way to connect with the cycling community. But also, I usually get off and I feel kind of awful after I get off Instagram.

How have you managed that? And I just want to say too like, your account seems very positive. I’ve never gotten on there and had like, any negative impression from you. So how have you Yeah, how have you managed to stay so positive on Instagram?

Marley Blonsky  

I’ve been really intentional about curating my feed. So I have blocked specific hashtags. Like, I don’t look at the hashtag weight loss, I don’t look at hashtag BMI, hashtag obesity, like that stuff just does not show up in my feed. Yeah.

And then I’ve been really intentional about engaging with accounts that, you know, educate me or bring me joy, or show people having fun. And, you know, it’s a, it’s a double edged sword, because sometimes I’m not aware of some of the larger conversations that are happening. And sometimes I do it on Instagram, and it’s like, you know, just I don’t want to say all political stuff, but there’s a lot of really heavy things being discussed there. And I try and you know, take a step, step back and realize like, okay, bicycling isn’t everything, even though it does encompass my entire life. And just try and like, be aware of other things that are going on, if that makes sense.

But I also, I kind of limit my time on there, like, I go on twice a week, and I schedule all my posts for the week. And then I’ll go on, and I’ll engage with people on my own feed. But I don’t spend that much time looking at other people’s Yeah. Which I used to spend a lot more time doing it. But when it becomes your job, it just isn’t fun. Yeah. Especially now with like, such a focus on reels and content creation. It always feels like there’s, I could be doing more, or, you know, I could get more followers or more views or more, whatever. And it’s like, no, I’m doing this to share my life experience. And to have a good time. Like, it’s not all encompassing.

Kristen  

Yeah. Have you ever felt? I mean, it doesn’t seem like you do. So maybe the answer’s no. But have you ever felt like who am I to have this platform? Or who am I to have all of these followers?

Marley Blonsky  

Oh, my God, okay. Every day, I have imposter syndrome every single day.

Because, you know, this has really just been my life for the last 10 years of riding my bike and being outspoken and like being inclusive, like, I’m not doing this for the gram. I’m doing it because it’s my life. Okay, and so, I often have to like pinch myself was like, I just got off a call with with REI or Cannondale, or whoever it might be, and it’s just like, it feels very surreal. So most days, yes. And then it’s like, people don’t care about me cooking breakfast, and then I get 30 responses. And it’s like, I don’t know, we live in such a strange time.

Kristen  

I think it’s really cool though. How how much you put yourself out there and come across as very real and very honest. And I think it’s just a good example to all of us to just like, put ourselves out there lead who you are, be out there and not overly sanitize it and not try to fit into some mold. So, I am inspired by you.

Marley Blonsky  

I spent many years trying to fit into a mold and be somebody I wasn’t. And it’s exhausting. Yeah, was like once you start embracing, kind of your weirdness and your messiness. And, for me, my chaos. Life is so much more enjoyable.

Kristen  

1,000% Yeah. Um, let’s talk about this upcoming year 2022. You mentioned expansion of All Bodies on Bikes, and these group rides and chapters. What else do you have going on?

Marley Blonsky  

In my personal life? I’m moving from Seattle to Arkansas. Which people hear that and they’re like, why Arkansas? If you haven’t looked into what’s going on in Northwest Arkansas, yeah, there is so much bike goodness happening there right now. You know, companies moving there, and nonprofits and trail building, there’s just so much goodness. So really great time for me to, you know, plant my flag somewhere new.

I’m going to try and ride my first century. It feels a little silly, because I’ve definitely ridden like 97 miles or 98 miles. But I’ve never done 100 miles. So sign up for that. Yeah.

And I’ve just got a bunch of gravel things happening. I think one of the biggest projects, besides starting All Bodies on Bikes chapters, is we’re doing an All Bodies on Bikes. Team for steamboat gravel. So are you familiar with steamboat gravel?

Kristen  

Yeah, I am.

Marley Blonsky  

Cool. So for those who aren’t, it’s a big gravel race that happens in Colorado, in the middle of August, and there’s varying distances from like, 37 miles to 144. And so we worked with steamboat gravel. And we’re taking 15 like non traditional athletes, to this weekend, we’re all going to stay together in a big house. We’re going to lead a group ride, we’re gonna have a panel and a happy hour and just really celebrate everybody on bicycles.

Kristen  

I love that. I’m so excited. Yeah, I think it is that these like, big, at least in my experience at races and big events where you really don’t see much diversity, right?

Marley Blonsky  

I mean, honestly, I was blown away last year at steamboat gravel, because it was like the most diverse group of people I’d ever seen. You know, they’ve been very intentional, like partnering with ride for racial justice, and the radical adventure riders gravel team. And so when I was at the start line, I was like, looking around like, these people look like me. This is cool.

Kristen  

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Have you done much racing?

Marley Blonsky  

No. And it’s funny, like, a lot of the events I’m going to this year are a race. But for me, I don’t care about my time. It’s more about like, Does my body do what I ask it to do? Do I feel okay? And do I have fun? Yeah, absolutely. Zero podium intentions. I have I started racing cyclocross this past year. Okay. And that is so much fun. But so hard, though. Hard. And same idea there like zero intentions of getting on the podium. I just want to have fun. Not hurt myself is a big thing. Yeah. And to like, represent basically.

Kristen  

Absolutely. That’s always been my thing, too. I’m I’m very much a middle of the pack rider. I always say I’m middle of pack racer. I’m very proud of it. But I’m just out there at the starting line. Yeah, I think anybody who shows up to the starting line is awesome.

Marley Blonsky  

Totally, totally. And anybody who’s willing to like put in the work beforehand, to make it happen. I think it’d be celebrated up whether that is 12 miles or 144. Like, whatever works best for you is phenomenal.

Kristen  

Right? And you can also have a life, right? Like, I have a son, I have a business. I have all these things. I don’t spend all my time training, but it’s still it’s still good to get out there. You don’t have to be a traditional racer to go right, exactly.

Marley Blonsky  

Although, after my experience last year, so I did unbound gravel mile and realized that I had not trained enough for it. I used to bike commute every day, I used to ride my bike all the time. And then during the pandemic, my riding really slowed down just because there was nowhere to go and I had these dogs and like it really became evident on unbound that I had not been riding my bike enough. So I’m going into this year’s race season, race season in quotes, with a lot more miles under my belt, and it’s like, you know, last night I jumped on the trainer for an hour. I’ve never done things like that before this year.

Kristen  

Ughh, trainer?

Marley Blonsky  

Yeah, it’s a it’s a beast, but it definitely, it’s nice not to have to get dressed and to go outside.

Kristen  

Absolutely, yeah, um, you had mentioned earlier on about the All Bodies on Bikes group rides, and how you’re trying to create this model of what an inclusive ride should look like a welcoming ride. And as a woman who is in groups that aren’t necessarily by very diverse or very inclusive, what are some of the best practices that we should be using to try to make our groups more inclusive?

Marley Blonsky  

Oh, I love this question so much, I actually have a blog post about it. So I’m going to try to remember all the things I said in that blog post. But I think I have like five tips. Let’s see if I can remember all five.

The first one is to like, be really honest about what pace you’re going to go at. and stick to it. So if the ride is advertised at 12, to 14 miles an hour, making sure that it actually stays at that pace. Because you never know who’s showing up anticipating that. And then I’ve been guilty of this, where you get there, and it’s like, Oh, everybody looks like they’re in good shape, we’re just going to go faster. So you know, sticking to the advertised pace, I would say publicizing the route in advance if you’re able to. That way, I mean, I’m an anxious person, I want to know what Hills I have to climb, I want to know where my bathroom opportunities are at. Like, that’s not necessarily like something you would think of when you think of an inclusive space. But putting that information out there really is helpful.

You know, the next one, I think, is to have a sweeper at the back. So that way, if it is a no drop, ride, and nobody’s getting left behind, they’re truly not getting left behind. So you know, that person stays the back of the pack. They’re introduced at the beginning of the ride, and say, Hey, Marley’s going to be the very back, you know, if you need to leave the ride, please let her know. But otherwise, she knows where we’re going. So you can always stick with her. So that way, if it does get spread out, or somebody gets a flat tire, everybody still gets there. Or even drops their chain. I’ve been on rides before we’re newer riders have dropped their chain, which is a quick two second fix. But if you don’t know that, yeah, feels like the end of the world, right?

And then a couple other things is just like doing introductions at the beginning of depending on the size of the group. You know, who you are, what pronouns you use, and I always like to do like something fun about you. One second. Like, you know, if it’s around the holidays, what your favorite Thanksgiving food is, because then it just gives people something to talk about besides bicycling. They can be like, Hey, I don’t remember your name. But you talked about pumpkin pie. Let’s talk about that. So yeah, I think those are the biggest things is just really making it more humanizing.

And not so much of a all out, like, show off fest all the time. Yeah, that’s Yep. And I’m not – people sometimes, like misinterpret what I say is like, oh, we can’t do fast group rides. Like, No, you 100% can have a fast group ride and have it be inclusive. Just be honest about it. Yeah, “Hey, we’re going 20 miles an hour. If you can’t keep up, this might not be the right ride for you.” Right, which is fine.

Kristen  

Right? I also just love the idea. It’s so simple, and yet, hardly ever go on a group ride where they do the introductions at the beginning. Right? So if you’re the new person, you always just feel really awkward.

Marley Blonsky  

Exactly. Yeah. And yeah, it takes an extra five minutes. But it really, I think helps create community. Yeah, I love that. I think one other thing that is sometimes a little bit controversial, but is to change the way that we describe group rides. So often, the words you know, beginner or advanced are used in place of like, exact pace or exact skills that you need. And so I’m often on, quote, unquote, beginner rides, even though I’ve been riding for 10 plus years, because that’s the pace that’s most appropriate for me.

And, like, absolutely nothing wrong with beginner rides. Yeah. But, you know, if you’re a newer cyclist, and you can ride 20 miles an hour, but you sign up for a group ride where you need to, you know, be able to hold a paceline. You might need to know that before you show up to the ride, right. So, yeah,

Kristen  

so in a similar vein to that, what can myself and women listening right now what can we do to be an ally for bigger women?

Marley Blonsky  

Oh my goodness, you are asking all of my favorite questions. I love you, Kristen.

You know, I think the the first thing and I learned this in working with Kailey is just to talk to your friends who live in bigger bodies, or who are different than you about their preferences. So I’m thinking specifically about like biking or hiking or other physical things. Because some people like to be waited for. Some people like to ride with their friends. Me personally, I like to go at my own pace and regroup at the top of hills. So like not making assumptions just being like, hey, Marley, like we’re going for a ride today. Do you want to stick together? Or do you want to regroup? Like, what’s the plan? Yeah.

I think another really big one is just to take on kind of the more emotional tasks. So like, you know, let’s say we’re going kayaking as a group of friends, I can guarantee you, I’m worried is my butt gonna fit? Do I weigh too much like, all these things, live in a smaller body? You might never even think about that as being a barrier. But if you’re able to call the kayaking place, or the horseback riding place, or the bike rental place, and just say, Hey, do you guys have a weight limit? So that way, you know, when you’re planning it, you can talk to your larger friend and say, Hey, I already checked, the weight limit is x pounds. Let me know if we need to find a different activity. You know, other things like when you go to a restaurant, and if you’re in like super tiny, little chairs, if you’re able to ask like, Hey, do you guys have any chairs without arms in it? Because I think we’ve gotten so used to being uncomfortable that we don’t even worry about it anymore. So I think those are the big things.

The other thing is to advocate with your money. So, you know, shop from brands that have plus size? Yeah. If you go to a store, and they don’t have the size bigger than yours, like don’t buy it and let the brand know. Because, you know, yeah, I think that’s pretty self explanatory. But our money talks really loud. Yeah. And so supporting the brands who are doing the work, and then being vocal to other brands, whether it’s on their Instagram or their Twitter or sending them an email. Yeah, those are some things you can do.

Kristen  

Yeah, I love that. That was one thing that I’ve been trying to do a lot more of I had interviewed was I can’t even think of a name right now. Little bellas, Sabra Davidson. Yeah. And she had mentioned the importance of just like spending our dollars with these brands that are supporting women, right.

So like, even though you might not normally buy a women’s specific bike, like maybe you buy from Liv because they are supporting women in cycling. So I think this is a similar concept. Like even though you may not need those larger sizes, supporting Machines for Freedom or like Pearl Izumi, great idea just because they are supporting women, a wide variety of women. Yeah, yep.

Marley Blonsky  

Yeah. 100%. And I think the other thing is just to educate yourself on the challenges facing people in larger bodies. So yes, finding clothing is annoying. But there’s also employment discrimination that happens. There is health discrimination, you go to your doctor’s office for a sore throat, and all they focus on is your weight. Yes. So just I think, you know, getting educated about the biases that are out there, and then working to break those down in whatever communities you have.

Kristen  

Yeah, I love that. I like what you said, you just like, if you this is your girlfriend, ask them what they eat, or how you can better support them, ask them if they want you to wait for them at the top of the hill or

Marley Blonsky  

Exactly. And sometimes it can be an awkward conversation. Like obviously, I’m very candid about this. I call myself a fat woman, which people bristle at. And so everybody’s going to be in a different place with us. We all have different relationship with our bodies. And so you know, being gracious of that. And if your friend is like, I don’t want to talk about this, like respecting that.

Kristen  

Yeah, sure. I do like that. My sister like she doesn’t like the word fat. She always would like prefer me to use the word Pleasantly plump. So I think that too, just like,

Marley Blonsky  

Yeah, exactly honoring the language people choose for themselves, if that’s how she wants to be referred. That’s awesome.

Kristen  

Yeah. Um, let’s see. We are almost out of time. But before that, how can people connect with you? How can they find you on social media or the interwebs?

Marley Blonsky  

Yeah, so I’ve luckily made it pretty easy. My Instagram is Marley Blonsky and my website is marleyblonsky.com. And then for the All Bodies on Bikes stuff, it’s just All Bodies on Bikes or allbodiesonbikes.com. And we’ve got links there to resources, and to the film, and all sorts of other good stuff. We’ve got a Facebook community, all bodies on bikes, and we try and highlight other people doing rad things.

Kristen  

Awesome. And I just want to say again, thank you so much for being on. And thank you so much for being you. And it was amazing to me when All Bodies on Bikes came out and I shared it on social media and I had so so many girlfriends respond to that and say I was in tears while I watched that, or, and these were not. And I was surprised that they related so strongly to it. Because you know, like one of my girlfriend, she’s like a size six. And she said she cried through the whole thing. And I think it was just such a strong reminder that as women, we’re often — think that our bodies are here to please other people, when really, our bodies are here to like, make us live our best life and to give us the experiences that we get on with the short time we have on this planet, right and whatever that is for you. Like for us, it’s obviously cycling and riding our bike awesome places. And that that so much more fulfilling to have a body that does that than a body that looks good to somebody else’s determination of what a body should look like. Right? 100% Yeah, so Exactly. Thank you. Thank you for being on and just for being such a good role model for all of us.

Marley Blonsky  

Oh, my gosh, thank you. You know, I feel like if one chubby 10 year old sees this, or sees the film and says like, oh, I don’t need to change my body to live a good life. Mission accomplished.

Kristen  

Awesome. Awesome. Okay, so final final three questions I’ve got for you here. And the first one is what bike or bikes do you ride?

Marley Blonsky  

Oh, goodness. It’s kind of an awkward question, because I just picked up a bike sponsor,

Kristen  

but well, before this one, before

Marley Blonsky  

I sign that contract. I’m currently riding a Stinner road bike. It’s my first custom bike. And it has changed the game for me. You know, I’m five one. It’s been really hard for me to find bikes. I’m really loving that one. My bike packing bike is a Velo orange piolet Oh, cool, which is really fun. And then I ride a surly straggler as kind of my do it all everything else kind of bike.

Kristen  

all very cool bikes.

Marley Blonsky  

Yeah, all steel.Yeah, I love all of them.

Kristen  

Great. Good. Um, second question is what’s your favorite place you’ve ever biked?

Marley Blonsky  

Oh, goodness. I think Hong Kong Hmm. I did not. If you ever been to Hong Kong, it is overwhelming in every sense of the word, sights, smells, traffic. It’s wild. But there is some really fun bike infrastructure there. And then there’s a tiny little island that’s like a 30 minute ferry away. That’s still part of Hong Kong, where there’s no cars, and the whole island rides bikes. And that was just amazing to me.

Kristen  

Awesome. Have to put that on the bucket list. Yeah. That’s why I asked this question, because everybody gives me great places I’ve never been. Yeah. And then the final question is, what do you love most about biking?

Marley Blonsky  

The thing I love most about biking is the freedom. You know, you can be out and about on your bike and run into a friend. And your whole plans can change for the day. You can also you’re just you can park your bike anywhere you want to. You can go anywhere you want to at your own pace, like you’re just not hemmed in by any rules besides where your body can take you.

Connect With Marley

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