If you’ve been following my life in squares, you’d have caught some rather big news: Instagram selected VCG to be part of their #MyStoryUK photo exhibition!
The #MyStory initiative originally launched last year, and focuses on women who use the platform to tell their stories, push boundaries and challenge stereotypes. This month it came to these shores, and I’m honoured to be one of the 24 amazing women from around the UK to be on Instagram’s radar for this.
Ian (my cycling partner in crime) captured this image of me riding Eroica Britannia and the story with it caught their eye, without me even knowing. I posted that picture from 2015 to my feed in the days after I had a Mini-Stroke in March of this year. Looking back and remembering the happiness and freedom I felt on that ride, and hoping to have that again after such a freaky health scare / wake-up call prompted me to share that image and my determination to be riding like that once again. It means even more to me that it was selected, as I genuinely had the fear that adventures like that on two wheels would become a thing of the past. And that wasn’t allowed to happen.
This of course also means the world to me in regards to inspiring other ordinary women from all walks of life out there to get on a bike and ride. Sharing our stories (good and bad) is so important. The “Selfie” might seem like an over indulgent exercise to some, but for others (like myself) its been a creative way for me to connect with other women out there, and not feel alone… and vice versa. I’ve had that since I started posting on Instagram in 2011, and I’m pretty frank with some of the stuff I share on it: from my own illnesses like that Stroke, bouts of Depression and looking after Mamma V, it has been a saviour for me and connected me to other women – both in regards to offering support to me, and me being able to do the same back. Talking is so vital… and I’m forever thankful for Instagram for that.
For two days, Instagram took over Unit London Gallery with the 24 selected pictures on display. Blown-up and framed in all their inspirational glory, it was bloody awesome to see them all hanging a gallery in Soho, for the launch party last Wednesday. Hosted by Amanda Kelso, Global Head of Community at Instagram, and broadcaster & presenter Lauren Laverne, it was a powerful and empowering evening… also filled with copious amounts of laughter. It was also the first time after years of being Insta/Twitter mates that me and Lauren finally got to meet IRL! It was pretty special to get to meet a woman who has been one of my biggest inspirations to use my voice, especially in media when it comes to being a woman in cycling.
Although short and sweet as a pop-up for two days only, I’ve been told there is more in store for #MyStoryUK (perhaps the images will go on tour?!), but if you didn’t get a chance to catch it at Unit, you can check out the women and their images selected thanks to Refinery 29 and Stylist Magazine who kindly listed us all.
There is certainly more to come with My Story – I’ll keep on sharing and am now even more determined to use Instagram and my bike as a platform to reach out to other young girls and women. Keep an eye on the #MyStoryUK hashtag… and why not join in with your own? You’ve got an amazing story and voice to share and inspire others too…