|Armed Forces Cycling Classic’s Challenge Ride – DONE|
Saturday, June 4
9 laps in 3 hours (my goal) | Crystal City, VA
Beneficiary: various charities
|Empire State Ride 2022|
Sunday, July 24 – Saturday, July 30
500+ miles fully supported | New York
Beneficiary: Roswell Cancer Research
|RBC Century Ride |
Sunday, August 21
100 miles | Reston, VA
Beneficiary: Reston Bike Club
|Lime Connect Century Ride |
Saturday, October 8
100 miles | Reston, VA
Beneficiary: college-bound high school seniors with disabilities
|72 Hours to Key West |
Thursday, November 3 – Saturday, November 5
280+ miles | Ft. Myers to Key West [Florida]
Beneficiary: Tiny Hands Foundation
|Bike to the Beach |
Saturday, April 22
100+ miles | Miami to Key West [Florida]
|Loudoun 1725 Gravel Grinder |
Sunday, June 11
40 -or- 60 -or- 80 miles | Middleburg, VA [Salamander Resort]
|Lake Anne SUP Triathlon|
August – DATE TBD
SUP + Ride + Run | Reston, VA
Beneficiary: Reston CORE Foundation
Past RIDES I HAVE DONE Multiple Times That I Recommend:
|TD Five Boro Bike Tour + Bike Expo New York *super fun, not a race|
First Sunday in May
40 miles on car-free roads and bridges | New York City
Beneficiary: Free bike education to kids in the five boroughs (largest charitable bike ride in the US)
RIDES I HAVE NOT DONE, But Are on My List:
Date Varies Based on City
15 to 150 miles | 68 City Options Throughout the US
Beneficiary: The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
|Tour de Perry *after the ride you can enjoy the Perry Chalk Art Festival|
17 -or- 31 -or- 53 miles | Perry, NY
Q: What age did you first ride a bike?
A: My parents got me on a bike when I was about 5. I had one of those pink/purple “girl” bikes that I’d ride up and down my street. We lived on a hill, so I had some fun scrape-ups, but I stopped riding bikes after elementary school and didn’t get into biking again until my senior year of college. At first, I was using my bike to commute. I didn’t start riding for fun or as a sport until I was 23. My husband and I got into doing triathlons, and so I learned how to do road rides. I didn’t even know mountain biking was a sport that you could do until I was 25!
Q: What is your favorite style of riding?
A: It is so hard to choose between road or mountain biking! I love them both. They each have their fun and challenges, but right now, I have been really enjoying mountain biking. I like being on trails and learning new skills. It’s the most satisfying feeling to come back to a trail and conquer obstacles that I couldn’t do before. I feel like with mountain biking, I can see my progress. Also, I don’t have to worry about getting hit by cars.
Q: What was one of the most challenging rides you have ever done?
A: A 121-mile bike ride (road ride) with a little over 8,000 feet of elevation gain total. Five thousand feet of the elevation gain was in the first 20 miles. It was the longest ride I’d ever done, and it took a lot of mental willpower and food to finish it.
Q: What is your dream ride trail or destination?
A: I don’t know if I have a dream ride trail, but I’d love to try mountain biking out in Moab, Utah. I’ve seen photos and videos. The trails out there look beautiful. I’m just not sure if my skill level is there yet.
Q: What or who influenced you to write your book?
A: I was inspired to write my book after a bike ride with friends. My two friends and I had been the only women on a trail. I drove home that night with the line in my head, “If you give a girl a bike, she will ride and ride and ride.” Then, my book was born. I thought about the other male-dominated sports that exist that I enjoy doing and figured that my character could do them all!
Q: Why did you choose The Be Good Foundation as one of the recipients of your book proceeds?
A: The Be Good Foundation is one of six foundations that will receive proceeds (only if the book is bought directly through my website, though). I chose it because I love its mission and all of the good that it is trying to accomplish. It is removing unexploded ordnances in Laos that were left behind from the Vietnam War. My family is from Vietnam and escaped after the war, and so I know how the war has directly impacted people who live in those countries. My family was lucky enough to leave. It is unfortunate that not everyone has that opportunity and that their homes aren’t safe due to these unexploded bombs. I love that the Be Good Foundation is trying to make these places safer for the people. I also love that it supports other cycling-related nonprofits to help get more people on bikes.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away?
A: I hope that all readers, young and old, will be inspired to get outside and try any of these sports. I also hope that all girls, but specifically minority girls, will see themselves in this book and know that they are capable of doing these sports.
Q: Why did you select Braden as your book illustrator?
A: I chose to go with Braden because I liked the dynamic movements in his art and his characters’ silly facial expressions. When I saw his art portfolio, I knew right away that I wanted him to bring my book to life. He is such a talented and creative illustrator. Also, I love Star Wars, and when I saw his drawings of Star Wars characters, it was a done deal!
Q: What are your plans as an author?
A: I am currently working on a picture book biography and a middle-grade novel. I’m going to try to be traditionally published next. We’ll see how it goes!
Q: Who is your female athlete idol?
A: I have several female sports idols. Ayesha McGowan (IG: @ayesuppose) and Brooklyn Bell (IG: @badgal_brooky) are both cyclists who are breaking down huge barriers for women and women of color, which is so inspiring to me. Rebecca Rusch is another idol of mine. She is an incredible cyclist who is doing so much good for the world through her foundation and way of life. Last but not least, Sky Brown. She’s a 12-year-old skateboarder who is fearless and flies up halfpipes! She’s a superhuman kid!
Q: Where can people buy your book, If You Give a Girl a Bike?
A: My book is available in local bookstores and Amazon, but it is preferred if people order it through my website www.hayleydiep.com so that 10% of proceeds can be donated to charities such as the Be Good Foundation and National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).
Last year was rough for everyone, but we seemed to find ways to pivot and do the best we could. To me, that is the spirit of a strong-minded and resilient woman!
I focused on cycling. I have loved the sport since I was a little girl and received my first bicycle with training wheels. I could not wait to get my training wheels off! In the beginning, I must have wiped out more than a dozen times, but I was determined to succeed because my bicycle gave me a sense of joy and freedom that fills my soul to this day!
Fast-forward a couple of decades, eager to share my passion for cycling, I became a bike ambassador for Fairfax County and a certified Schwinn cycling coach. Last year, I signed up for The Empire State Ride, a 500-mile ride across New York to raise lots of money for Roswell Cancer Research (please click here to make a donation). In 2020, ESR was virtual due to COVID, and they deferred our registrations. I have every faith that all of us riders will come together this year, and ESR will proceed as planned on July 25!
This past year I connected with other women cyclists who also registered and are training for the endurance ride. We have never met, but we keep each other motivated through Strava with our posts about the lows and highs of our journeys. I cannot wait to meet these amazing ladies in person! Of course, my training would not be as effective without my gear from Terry Bicycles. When I’m on training rides outside, I love my Terry Soleil Hoody for comfort, style, sun protection, and my trusty Terry Touring shorts. Similarly, my Terry Soleil shorts are a staple item of comfort during long rides indoors, allowing me to stay focused.
All my rides right now revolve around ESR training. Although I was bummed about the one-year delay, I’m excited to have had extra time to prepare for this personal challenge. It is my first endurance ride, and this year is extra special because a few weeks before the ride, I will turn the big 5-0 (shhhh!). The little girl on training wheels with a passion for cycling could never have imagined that she would be striving for new heights in cycling decades later.
NOTE: Terry Bicycles is a cool women’s bike apparel company owned by a woman with products designed specifically for women.
National Bike to Work Week starts today! Coincidentally, I spotted Samantha, a bike tech from Spokes Etc., when I brought my bike in for service. I thought cool, a female bike tech in a dominantly male trade! I reached out to her by phone to request an interview, and she said yes.
I encourage all of you Gals on the Go to follow your passions like Sam!
Q: How long have you been a bicycle service tech?
A: About four years; I mostly do it in the summer when they need part-time workers. I started working as a bike tech part-time when I was in college.
Q: At what point did you repair a bike, and decide I enjoy this, I want to learn more and become a bike tech?
A: I was a mountain bike camp counselor and loved being able to solve maintenance issues then and there to get people back on their bikes to complete the trail. Also, I grew up building and fixing things with my dad, so I was familiar with tools and thought it would be cool to learn even more about fixing bikes. I found it less intimidating to start working on a bike rather than a car or motorcycle.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being a bike tech?
A: Problem-solving and help others. Plus, discounts on awesome bikes and gear!
Q: As a female tech, do you feel like you have had to work harder to prove yourself?
A: Not so much. At times I have felt that I want to prove I can do anything a guy can do, but there comes a point when I accept I may not have the same experience, and some bolts aren’t worth fighting with if you have someone else who can do it with more ease (if you don’t have someone else, just find a longer lever). Many times it comes down to technique, not strength. When I feel defeated about a repair, I usually learn a new way to do it for next time so that I will be able to do it on my own. Personally, as long as it doesn’t happen often and I feel like I gave it my best shot, I find it’s OK and typically ideal to ask for help.
Q: What is the most challenging repair you have had to do? How long did it take you to complete?
A: I mostly build new bikes, fix small maintenance issues, or install new gear on bikes. The most challenging bike repair I have done (which wasn’t so challenging) was replacing a grip shifter on an old Fuji Sundance that I bought used online. It took me about two hours to complete. The most challenging repair I have done in general was on my car. I replaced the brake pads on my front wheels, which was challenging in many ways and took me close to about eight hours to do.
Q: What is your favorite tool to use? Why?
A: There is a tool called the fourth hand. It allows you to grab and pull cables without using your hands. It’s useful because your hands get greasy and slippery, and it becomes hard to get a tight pull on the cable to get it to the right tension. Not only is it hard to pull the cable tight with greasy hands, but I have had the cable slice my fingers before from trying to pull it tight (Talk about a cringy paper cut!).
Blogger’s Note: A fourth hand is the name of a specialized bicycle tool for manipulating brake and derailleur cables. The fourth hand allows a mechanic to keep the cable in place while they adjust the tension.
Q: Do you have a favorite or least favorite type or brand of bike to work on?
A: Not particularly. If it’s a bike, I enjoy working on it. No brand is my least favorite. But, my least favorite type of bike to work on is an inexpensive bike because chances are that everything breaks and it was not correctly assembled from the start. You end up going down rabbit holes never fully satisfied with the end product. My bike is always my favorite! But there are parts of it that can be a pain to work on, like internal cable routing because the cables can get stuck in the frame, and all you can do is hope that eventually it pops out if you wiggle it the right way.
Q: What bicycle do you currently ride?
A: Trek Remedy 9.7 (2018)
Q: What is your dream bike to own and ride? Why?
A: Hmm, that a toughy. My dream is to have a bike for every situation. My wish list includes a downhill bike, full-suspension mountain bike, hardtail trail bike, road bike, gravel bike, fat tire bike, e-road bike, an e-mountain bike.
Haha, but for a single dream bike right now, it would be either a Specialized/YETI/Santa Cruz/Trek, Bass boat blue and teal paint with disc breaks, a dropper seat post, 160mm in the back, and 170mm travel in the front with suspension lock out and dampening, carbon rims. I want a bike that I can take anywhere, and it never limits me. The rider should always be the limiting factor, not the bike. Something like my Remedy! But with a different paint job and a few upgraded components.
Q: What advice would you share with girls/women interested in learning how to fix bicycles on where to start?
A: Start small and work your way up; when in doubt, jump right in! Try adjusting comfort items like the seat height and rotation of the levelers on the handlebars first, then work your way to more advanced repairs like replacing tubes/tires and so on. Also, buy an older bike. Things will need fixing/maintenance, and you can learn to fix them as you go.
Life is a series of changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. – Lao Tzu
I am bummed to share the news that the Empire State Ride (ESR) is called off this year.
I support ESR creator, Terry Bourgeois’, decision to cancel the cross-state ride in July. It was the responsible choice given the New York locations, the number of riders involved, and the proximity we would all be during meals, tent lodging at night, etc. However, I cannot deny the fact that I am very disheartened by the news.
I enthusiastically signed up for ESR20 on November 13, 2019, and my devotion has never wavered! I passionately pursued my vowed fundraising minimum of $3,500, which has been a huge challenge under COVID-19 circumstances, and I will continue my efforts. Raising funds for cancer research is something I believe in deeply. If you follow my blog, you know that losing my friend Beth to cancer in March kicked my spirit and booty into high gear, both literally and figuratively.
ESR registration for all road warriors was deferred to 2021, so my goals to ride 500-miles across the state of NY and raise funds for cancer are not over, but merely postponed! I am beyond grateful to all of you who made donations and to those of you who I hope will make donations as I continue my cancer research fundraising quest into 2021. When I commit to a cause, I DO NOT QUIT! In the words of ESR… Cancer isn’t stopping. So we can’t either.
Organizers of the Empire State Ride sent us the following announcement… [I am sharing it with you, my amazing donors and supporters so that you know your money is still going to cancer research as initially intended, just without the ride event this year.]
When you’re riding a bike and approach a hill, what do you do? You shift gears to accommodate the terrain, which allows you to continue to the next leg of your journey. You adapt to conquer your challenge.
Well, this year, COVID-19 is our challenge. And to overcome it, we have to shift gears on the Empire State Ride.
Unfortunately, our week-long adventure cannot take place as it usually does. But our road warriors can still make an impact on the future of cancer research.
As a safer alternative, from July 1 until August 1, we are asking our road warriors to cycle 500+ miles any way they’d like.
The funds you have raised so far are critical to advancing cancer research and are already hard at work. We know you worked hard to fundraise this year and want you to continue your #ESR20 efforts. That’s why whatever fundraising amount you achieve by August 31, will boost your #ESR21 fundraising efforts.
The donations you raise for the Empire State Ride this year will support the most promising, cutting-edge research globally, and at Roswell Park — immunotherapy. It’s the future of cancer treatment, and Roswell Park researchers are leading the way in developing these new therapies that help our immune systems fight and kill cancer. They’re our best hope for saving more lives.
The 500+ Mile Challenge
Even though we can’t gather, we are still determined to make this summer impactful and fun for all our registered road warriors. We can ride 500+ miles throughout July outdoors or indoors on your bike trainer. We will track everyone’s mileage via our Strava Club.
Since 2015, I have challenged myself in a range of physical feats from Spartan Trifectas to Tougher Mudders, Ragnar Relays, Seaweeze half marathons, and soon my biggest one of all in July, the 500-mile Empire State Ride (#ESR20) for cancer research. I wouldn’t have the courage to do them if it weren’t for the support of friends, family, volunteers, and donors.
Physicality is a crucial aspect of training and performance, BUT never underestimate the power of positive mentality. Even though I trained hard, I wasn’t the strongest or the fittest in any of the races I have done. I cannot control those factors for a variety of reasons. Instead, I turn to what I can control, my mental focus, and attitude.
I repeatedly say to myself while training and during events that I am my only competitor. I never look at courses in advance in detail. I read about what a course consists of to help me train properly, but that’s it. I rather face the challenges at the moment and not give in to potential thoughts of psyching myself out.
Also, I don’t believe that mental strength is a solo accomplishment. Think of all of the times you mentally call upon living or deceased family member(s) or friend(s) to help pull you through a situation.
What about the influence of volunteers? A volunteer cheering for you along a race route can have a powerful effect on lifting your energy level and your mental spirit. That is one of many reasons why I have gratitude for event volunteers. When you travel solo and do races, a volunteer’s physical presence and encouraging words can have a significant impact on your success by helping refocus your mindset when you start to feel drained!
Then there are donors, who play a key role in fundraising events. Whether it’s in the form of money for the charity or goods from a company. Each time I receive a donation from a person or business, no matter how small or large, I am grateful. It makes me feel like the person or company believes in me!
The moment of clarity about the power of support by others came to me during a peaceful training ride this past Sunday while I was “talking with” a friend who recently crossed from living to deceased.
I received word nearly two months ago that my friend Beth, battling breast cancer for the second time, was moving to California at the end of February to be with her daughter. I spoke with Beth, and the last thing she said to me was wow, about the 500-mile ride, and that once she is back on her feet, I have to come to visit her in California. But two weeks later, on March 13, she passed away. Beth was super kind and spunky with an F cancer attitude. If anyone was going to beat cancer, I thought it would be her.
Three days after Beth’s death, my friend Maureen, Beth’s best friend, contacted me to say she had a healing stone for me with a guardian angel on one side and Beth’s thumbprint on the other. Maureen explained to me that hospital volunteers helped Beth to make them. The healing stone came in a small powder blue drawstring pouch.
I immediately went home and attached the pouch to the front of my bike handlebars. Each time before I do a training ride, I say, are you ready, Beth? Let’s do this!!! Some of my training days go better than others, but I always know and feel that Beth is with me, nudging me on.
The Empire State Ride benefits cancer research at a time when funding is needed more than ever to help those battling all forms of cancer. The pandemic significantly increases cancer patients’ vulnerability to losing their fight.
I have a lot more physical training ahead of me for the ESR, but I know from the past, that with positive mental focus drawn from the support of others I can do it! Especially with Beth riding my handlebars and steering me along the way!
If you would like to make a contribution on #GIVEFROMHOMEDAY to the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, and help me reach my goal of raising $3,500, please click on the link to my donation page. THANK YOU
Shout-Out to My Supporters:
Thank you to each of my Empire State Ride donors, especially those who gave during the pandemic financial crash. Also, recognition to Terry Bicycles, particularly Lisa and Camarin, who have generously helped me to get the quality and safe cycling gear that I need.
Alicia Zimmerman Kenney
I have been a loyal Terry Bicycles customer for a few years after an employee from REI recommended the company to me for a saddle (LIBERATOR X GEL) for my Cannondale Quick. I reached out to Terry to share the news about my upcoming participation in the Empire State Ride to end cancer, and their response blew me away!!!! They asked me to be a brand ambassador and sent me two pairs of riding shorts perfect for a 500-mile ride. As if that were not generous enough, they also offered me a 40% discount toward supplies I will need for the cancer ride.
Check out my Gal on the Go YouTube video opening my first ambassador package from Terry:
About the Shorts They Sent Me:
NOTE: I will add reviews about the shorts after I wear them on a few rides. If they are anything like my fav Soleil Cycling Short by Terry, then yay!
- EURO SHORT for all-day riding comfort
- TOURING SHORT/REGULAR for multi-day bike touring
This kick-butt company, based out of Burlington, VT, was started by a woman named Georgena Terry. For more than 30 years, they have designed innovative bikes, saddles, apparel, and accessories that fit women on the go like myself. They believe in the transformational power of cycling, not just about selling products. They strive to help women be the best cyclist they’re capable of being! I hope you will check them out. A company that makes and sells great products is one thing, BUT to invest in members of their community in support of their goals like my ride for cancer research funds is above and beyond honorable. Terry is a company I am truly proud to be affiliated!
Shout-out to Tori Menneto at Roswell Park for her constant communication with #ESR20 participants. She just sent us a detailed Travel Planner with tons of info on the things we need to know about the event route and more. I’m impressed with how well organized the Foundation has been, and I feel like I’m in excellent hands! They have taken every measure to provide us with as safe as an experience as possible.
Here’s the route for the Empire State Ride this year… every day will be a mental and physical challenge, but it appears Day 4 may be the most difficult. We will receive daily cue sheets, the route will be marked with orange arrows, and mechanics will be with us along the way to assist if we have a problem.
|Day 1: Sunday, July 26||New York City to Yorktown Heights||56+ miles|
|Day 2: Monday, July 27||Yorktown Heights to Rhinebeck||54+ miles|
|Day 3: Tuesday, July 28||Rhinebeck to Albany||62+ miles|
|Day 4: Wednesday, July 29||Albany to Utica||95+ miles|
|Day 5: Thursday, July 30||Utica to Weedsport||82+ miles|
|Day 6: Friday, July 31||Weedsport to Spencerport||76+ miles|
|Day 7: Saturday, August 1||Spencerport to Niagara Falls||75+ miles|
Saturday, August 1, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. riders will gather at a Niagara Falls rest stop for a police-escorted group ride to the FINISH LINE at Old Falls Street in downtown Niagara Falls!!!! (They estimate us reaching it at approximately 4:00 p.m.)
Friends and family can cheer riders on and join an outdoor reception at the end. To all of my Buffalo peeps, I would be beyond grateful to see your faces at the finish!
What a year 2019 has been! It felt like a bad one, BUT when I reflected with a more positive mindset, I realized that it was actually a year filled with many wonderful life moments!
The pinnacle of fun was hosting my friend Hona, aka my sister from another mister, on her first-ever trip to the US. [Quick background story: Hona is from Poland, now living in England, and we first met in 2014 during the Winter Olympics when we were randomly placed together as roommates. She was there working as an Olympic News Service reporter for ski jumping and I was an Olympic News Service reporter for hockey. We hit it off instantly, which is super unusual, especially under those conditions!]
Hona’s trip in September was 10 years in the making! On a limited budget and with only so many days, we hit up the major east coast cities of DC – PHILLY – NYC. Hona created a documentary about our whirlwind adventures and presented it to me via IM the other day as a post-Christmas present. She worked very hard on editing the weeks of video footage that she shot during her visit and it’s KICK A**!!!! I will cherish it for the rest of my life.
Check out Hona’s video on YouTube…
Some other highlights of 2019 were…
- launching my company Rock n Flow Yoga and starting my own LLC (a scary, yet rewarding learning experience)
- becoming the only yoga permitee by the National Park Service to host private sessions at the Lincoln Memorial and being picked up by Airbnb as an Experience: Yoga Flow With President Lincoln
- leading a yoga power flow class at the Kennedy Center to a sold-out crowd of more than 100
- running in my absolute fav race Seawheeze, in my favorite city, Vancouver, BC
- participating in Ragnar Sunset DC, meeting my teammates from all over the US for the first time on the day of the race, and forming an instant bond
- meeting and talking one-on-one with Katie Couric, one of my broadcast journalism idols, at her Smithsonian award honor NOTE: It was Katie who inspired me to sign up for the Empire State Ride.
- rocking out with my buds at awesome concerts like the X Ambassadors
- meeting DJ Felix Cartel and sharing my gratitude for his music
- making new friends with smart and fun women like Laura Hitchman
- meeting and interviewing fascinating people for my blog Gal on the Go, the most special being my Uncle Joe who I idolize
- leading yoga at the Music Is Art Festival in my hometown of Buffalo, NY, BUT even better, the support of my loyal friend Julie Wisner and new friend Samantha Wulff who attended the event and were my rocks
- teaching puppy yoga classes to help raise funds for Doggy Noses and Yoga Poses
- starting a mentorship under Alison, owner of Homegrown Yoga
A Glimpse Into 2020
My race and adventure plans for 2020 are still a work in progress, except for the Empire State Ride to End Cancer. That fundraising event has a permanent block of seven days reserved on my calendar; July 26 through August 1.
The Empire State Ride entails me cycling with other cancer eradicating enthusiasts for 500+ miles (no, that’s not a typo) across the state of NY. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that starts in New York City and ends at one of the natural wonders of the world, Niagara Falls. Each rider must raise a minimum of $3,500 for the Roswell Park Foundation. However, I hope to exceed that goal!
In the past decade, way too many of my friends/family members have been battling or lost their battle to cancer… brain (2), breast (1), colon (1), lung (1), pancreatic (2), and skin (3). Even though I’m super intimidated to ride almost 100 miles a day for seven days, it’s nothing compared to the battles they are and have faced. One thing that greatly appeals to me about this ride is that the money raised goes toward cancer research in all areas, not just one.
I look forward to you following me this summer as I document my journey online. Most importantly, I hope that you please make a donation in support of my fundraising efforts to help Roswell Park with its cutting-edge cancer research (you can select “donate to rider” then enter my name Kimberly Evering)… http://give.roswellpark.org/site/TR/SpecialEvents/General?px=1413083&pg=personal&fr_id=1550
Wishing all of you a HAPPY NEW YEAR as we enter another exciting decade of Roaring Twenties!!
Studio: New Trail Cycling
When Dr. Stewart Beazell isn’t practicing psychology, you will find her at New Trail Cycling Studio in Reston, Va., taking classes or coaching on Saturday mornings. I’m excited that Stewart took the time to sit down with me for an interview because cycling has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl. I hope this interview inspires other young girls to take up the sport of cycling, especially considering that many reports show that the percentage of kids learning to ride bikes in the U.S. has dramatically dropped in recent years! (see stats below)
Q: When did you first take up the sport of cycling, and why?
A: Both of my parents cycled together for years. They did bike races and things like that when I was growing up. We learned how to ride bikes early on and went on bike tours as a family to places like the Grand Canyon and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was a family event, and always fun! With indoor cycling, my mom took classes at our local gym from a friend decked out in full outdoor gear. The classes were long, like an hour and a half, because the teacher was an outdoor cyclist. I would go to the classes with my mom and I liked them. Then when I was in college, I took a group fitness class that was indoor cycling, and that’s when I fell in love with it! I liked the incorporation of current music, and you could get your friends to come to classes with you. I continued indoor cycling ever since. It’s an activity easy to find everywhere — there has always been a gym or a boutique studio that offers cycling classes near where I live. It’s a stress reliever for me. I love indoor and outdoor cycling equally, but for different reasons.
Q: Why did you become a cycling instructor?
A: I realized that as much as I loved taking other people’s classes, there were benefits to teaching, like not having to pay for classes. Being a grad student at the time, I thought, free membership, great, let’s do it! Why don’t I teach and see how it goes? I wasn’t excited about being in front of the room. I’m not a performer in that way — in front of a group of people, and I was kind of intimidated. At the same time, what pushed me to do it was encouragement from instructors who I was a regular in their classes. They would say to me; you should do it, you’d be great, you’re in here all the time. I said OK, I’ll try! You have to be certified to coach, and I was investing in the certifications, not sure where it was all going to lead me. I taught at local gyms for about a year before I started teaching at New Trail. I thought OK, this is what I want, to be at a place that focuses just on indoor cycling, and there’s a sense of genuine community. In the big box gyms, people don’t really know each other. But at New Trail, it feels more like home. I found out about Liz Kamp, the founder of New Trail Cycling, the summer before she opened the studio. I emailed her out of the blue and said, I like what your studio sounds like it’s going to be — creating a community rather than focusings on the instructors. I would like to teach there and be part of it! We’re Schwinn certified instructors at New Trail, and our style follows more of an authentic outdoor style of riding a bike.
I’m always riding even when I’m not teaching because I enjoy it so much. I love taking classes from other instructors because that’s how I learn. I look up to Liz. She’s a great instructor and a great example of a woman entrepreneur — how to start your own business, how to promote it, and how to be a great boss. She’s also a great owner; so cool and open to client feedback. She wants the studio to be a place where everyone feels welcome.
Q: What role does New Trail play in clients’ lives?|
A: For many people who come to New Trail, a positive aspect they can gain beyond a sense of community is learning how to work with their numbers. We have consoles, and we can help our clients look at their stats from when they first started and how their stats have changed over time. Whether it’s looking at average power (watts) for each class or how many miles someone averages per class. Those are ways clients can use the numbers to see their progress. Within that, we can look at those numbers and apply them to individuals in their upcoming classes. For instance, this is where your number is now, and if you increase the resistance and maintain your speed (RPM), this is how your power number will change. And, we tell them to pay attention to how they feel when change happens. Does it feel harder? If yes, where? In your legs? Breathing? Providing them with more of a mind-body connection. There are days when maybe your body doesn’t feel so great, and you know you won’t get the numbers you want. But, you can have the mentality of you know what, I’m going to take this class as it comes and do my best. I may not get my top numbers today, but I’m here, and I’m working at the capacity I can manage at this time. This helps clients have more bodily awareness. We purposely don’t put individual’s names or bike numbers up on a monitor for everyone in the class to see. That way, no matter what reason someone is coming to class, they can get out of it what they want and not feel like they are competing with others. New riders won’t be at the same level as those who have been coming to classes for a while. Our goal isn’t to get everyone to be at the same level; it’s to help people to reach their individual goals. People come to class for different reasons — some to relax and make time for themselves, some for their health, and some for race training. Pinning them against each other on a display board can be demotivating.
Q: What are the top three benefits of indoor cycling, and why?
A: It depends on the individual. General benefits are decreased fatigue and increased stamina over time. I would say the top three benefits are:
- You have a dedicated amount of time that you are on a bike, and you can work toward better health.
- You can track your fitness levels and see what changes occur and how your body feels different over time.
- It can help you manage mood, stress, and anxiety by allowing yourself time and space to focus on your mental health, get out of your head, tune into the music, and have some fun.
Q: Are there any areas in which people should be cautious?
A: Yes. Clients need to know the importance of rest and recovery. I didn’t learn that until about five years ago in grad school. It’s not sustainable to cycle daily long-term. It’s good to cross-train in whatever ways that means to you. If you cycle and lift weights, cycle and practice yoga — maybe all three if you choose, but not back-to-back. Give yourself time to recover in between. If you constantly go, your body will suffer, your progress will suffer, and if you get injured, that will ultimately prevent you from doing those things you enjoy. Finding balance and paying attention to how your body feels are very important.
Q: What is your greatest reward as a cycling coach?
A: The stories I hear from clients about how their lives changed for the better in terms of feeling stronger, more confident and being part of clients’ experience of feeling a sense of belonging and growth.
Q: Where do you see indoor cycling as part of your future?
A: I have casually thought about how I can marry my professional life and my life as a fitness instructor. I’ve wondered, is there a way I can do both in one space? A studio in which you can engage in therapy as a mindful aspect, space where you can take indoor cycling as a physical aspect, and maybe other classes like yoga. A wellness hub where you can go and instead of buying packages for each one of those things, figuring out a way where you can do each of them a few times a week in the same space. I think it would be cool to incorporate all of them — make them more integrated because they are each important and beneficial. I’m copywriting my idea now! 😉
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with my blog readers?
A: We need to figure out ways for girls and women alike to engage in fitness and be more supportive of one another. There’s a lot of competition in fitness created by our culture. We should focus on connecting and lifting each other up in all areas of life. Support is so important — like a mentorship with a woman entrepreneur like Liz. There are many resources that you can find and make connections with other women. Women who have been in their careers for 20 plus years love to share their wisdom and have you pick their brains. Don’t be afraid to ask other women for their advice!
- On average, boys cycle nearly 6 times as much as girls (138 miles/year versus 24 miles/year). National Children’s Bureau, November 2009
- People who are confident biking as adults are more likely to have biked frequently when they were younger than those people who didn’t. Dill, J., and McNeil, N., Testing a Typology to Better Understand Bicycling Behavior and Potential, 2012
- The number of women cycling decreased by 13% between 2000 and 2010. The American Bicyclist Study, https://www.bicycle-guider.com/
- In the U.S., 24% of all bicycle trips are made by women and 76% are made by men. National Household Travel Survey, 2009
- 87% of U.S. competitive cyclists are male, and 12% are female. USA Cycling, Active Member Demographics, 2009