Friday, July 24, 2015

Women on Bikes Series: Shawn Byrd

My name is Shawn Byrd, I’m married with two sons and my profession is an educator and have been teaching for 11 years. I also have a passion for photography.

I enjoy running and have been with BGR:WS for 2 ½ years and I’ve been cycling for about a year and a half. I was very excited when Monica (Black Girls Do Bike) allowed me to start a BGDB:WS chapter.

I try to encourage others, especially women, to exercise. The toughest part about that is getting them to exercise AND helping them find self motivation to continue.

Find Black Girls Do Bike on their
Website, Facebook, & Instagram pages

Find your closest BGDB Chapter or learn how to start one!

When did you first start riding a bike?
June of 2014 

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
It's easy to do, it's fun, it's not as taxing on my joints as running is and, I've found a great group of women to ride with.   

What kinds of cycling do you enjoy? (road, gravel, etc.)
Road 

Do you commute by bike? If so, why do you enjoy it?
Not really, I've run errands on my bike but it's not something I've done often. 

What inspired you to start up the WS chapter of Black Girls Do Bike? 
Well I'd been riding with basically the same group of women for a year when I first saw BGDB on FB. So I spoke with one of the more experienced cyclists and asked if she'd start the group and she said she'd help me. So I contacted Monica Garrison, the founder, and inquired, did what was necessary to start a chapter and she approved.

What do you and the others involved do to help encourage more women to ride? 
We encourage others to ride by riding and being seen out in the community. When they inquire we gladly answer questions and alleviate any fears they have. So many of them are fearful about their limited cycling experience so we let them know that we'll meet them where they are as far as experience to help them become more comfortable on their bike.  

What has been the most exciting thing to happen since the chapter was started?
The "How to Change a Flat Tire on the Side of the Road" lesson. Bonny, one of our most experienced riders, had a tire to blow out on our Inaugural Ride. So on our first ride we received a hands on lesson about repairing a flat tire. We also experienced the kindness of a stranger.   

Why has being involved BGDB beneficial to you?
 It benefits me because I have others to ride with who are just as excited as I am to ride.

How can others help with your local chapter or BGDB in general? 
Spreading the word that we are in the community and we are riding. For bike shops to demonstrate Biking Basics or Biking Safety lessons for us. 

What do you love about riding your bike? 
The freedom I feel when I'm on it and also a sense of accomplishment. To date the farthest I've ridden is 25 miles. But I started riding for 20 minutes at a time to build up my endurance. So now I can ride for approximately 2+ hours which is a great accomplishment for me.   

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
My mom & I did our first triathlon together!  

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them? 
My first bike is an OLD mountain bike. It's heavy, oh so heavy but it's mine. It was given to me by my Pastor's wife; she got a new bike and I asked for her old bike. My road bike is a Trek. I just got it right before Christmas. I chose it because it was cute, it fit me, and it was in my price range. I'm just getting use to riding it. Right now, I'm not as comfortable on it as I am on my mountain bike. It's thinner & lighter something I'm NOT used to.  :)   

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
I haven't really gotten into the clothes/accessories yet. I've gotten one pair of padded shorts but haven't worn them yet. 

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? 
Some feel they have to purchase the most expensive bike in order to have a good ride. Some feel they are too big to ride. Many are fearful of getting back on a bike since they haven't ridden since they were a kid. 

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
I think once Spring comes we'll have more participation.   

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
For them to see that they can do it. That hill that was too hard to ride up the first, second and in some cases third time they can get up it now. I want them to see that pedaling makes a difference in their mindset (they gain confidence), in their bodies (they're getting the necessary exercise), and it's FUN to do by yourself but oh so much more FUN with other women.   

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