Friday, February 28, 2014

Women on Bikes Series: Deneb Woods

I have known Deneb for awhile now from regularly seeing her at the Oneota Food Co-Op where I cashier. I had known for a few years that she rode bikes but until I started riding myself, I had nothing to talk about. 

Fast forward to a few years and I purchased a bike; however, Deneb and I didn't really start talking about biking until after our fateful Sunday. Earlier that afternoon, Deneb and her husband David had gone mountain bike riding. They had some friends in town and one of them had ridden this log located on one of the mountain bike trails. Deneb had never ridden this log before, but felt inspired to try it; “I’m going to ride the log!” she said.

While riding over the log she had stopped pedaling; an unsuccessful bunny-hop off of the log resulted in her falling to the ground and landing on her head. She was very lucky to have not sustained worse injuries. When I spoke with her, David mentioned how the sandy dirt had basically plugged all of the holes in her helmet. Yet another reason to promote wearing helmets when riding bikes!

My accident wasn’t nearly as bad; however, we both had something to talk about and shared our experiences. We talked of our chiropractic adjustments, the basis of our biffs, and our frustrations over the situations.

One thing that I greatly respect is that she didn’t feel or become intimidated about getting back on the bike. Granted, Deneb admits she doesn’t ride often, but it’s not because of her accident by any means. I did wonder how she felt emotionally and mentally after the accident. Deneb mentioned that she did have those “Oh sh*t” replays in her head for the first month or so after the accident. This was something I was able to relate to moreso after my second bike biff.

This brought up more questions on my end, as I suspected that Deneb had ridden bikes for years prior. I was told of her childhood bike, Seastar. Seastar was a Timberland which Deneb had a great fondness of riding. Deneb and her friend would pretend that their bikes were horses, and road them around anywhere and everywhere they could. They would even put the “horses” out to “pasture” while then ran around and climbed trees. Man, if only my childhood bike experiences would’ve been as fun and positive!

Fast forward to her Luther College years, she started riding the mountain bike trails in 2002-3. She went with a couple of guy friends and they rode the front of backbone and did as Deneb said “crazy stuff!”. It was motivating to ride with experienced riders, as they just went off and simply rode whatever was in front of them.  She just followed the wheel in front of her. Figuring that if they could do it she could do it too. Deneb couldn’t recall if she had borrowed a bike or rented one, for the bike she had brought to college had been stolen.

While at Luther she met David, and in time ended up finding her way to Colorado to live with him. They rode frequently in Durango and even went to Moab a few times! She mentioned that David had built her a mountain bike, and that is what she rode while they were out having adventures together.
Eventually they made their way back to Decorah, and with that, she entered the Time Trials a few times. She said “I felt I would do well” and that was one the biggest motivation for doing them.

Deneb is a very real woman, and I felt I could relate to her even more when she said “I’m not an exercise driven person.” She really enjoys doing purposeful exercise, such as walking or biking to do her shopping downtown vs. driving a car, and walking their dog, Mesa.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Women Involved: Laree Schouweiler

Several of the women I've interviewed for my blog series: Women On Bikes, are much more involved with bike riding besides just getting out on a bike. I'm connecting with wheel builders, coaches, competitive athletes, and so many more. I feel that they need a new series of blog posts to share more of what they do outside of riding a bike, hence Women Involved.

I know Laree from working at the Co-Op (You'll find that many of the local women I interview are all based around my working at the Co-Op and having exchanges with them at the checkout.) Laree is the owner of Reefuel, and you can find out more information by clicking these links: Reefuel on Facebook and Reefuel (official website)

I felt that doing a feature on a local indoor cycling class was fine for this project, not only showing support for a local business but also for the fact many local bike riders are taking this class. So here you go! More about indoor cycling at Reefuel. Check out the website and learn more about the instructors, class schedules, and much more!

So for those of us who live under a rock-tell us more about indoor cycling and what it’s all about!

Indoor Cycling was made popular in the early 90s with the start of Spinning. Although, Spinning is trademarked, the philosophy of indoor cycling is to bring outdoor riding...INDOORS. Each class can simulate hill climbs, flat roads, sprints, etc with the adjustment of your tension. A 45-minute ride can burn any where from 350-500 calories, depending on the work load.

What inspired you to bring indoor cycling to Decorah? 

Indoor Cycling was something I felt would be a great addition to an already active community and one that utilizes outdoor riding to the fullest extent! I wanted to open a studio where they could still get their cycling "fix", in a fun, high-energy and challenging atmosphere. 

What was your first experience with indoor cycling like? 

My aunt and uncle are extremely active in the fitness world in the Twin Cities - both teach spinning and indoor cycling classes at gyms throughout the cities. My first experience was at 19 when I took my Aunt Laurie's class at a local YMCA. I remember not having ANY idea what to expect! It was definitely challenging and increasing my tension was something I avoided! I just wanted to make it through. I try to draw on my first experience when I teach and try remind first timers that there is a learning curve.  

What are common misconceptions about indoor cycling? 

I think the misconceptions about indoor cycling are the classes are too difficult and/or it is only working your legs. In reality, classes can made to be as challenging as each participant would like. Each instructor creates a sequence of movements for class, but the participants can increase the tension for their desired workload. Plus, indoor cycling is an amazing workout, not just for your legs, but also cardio-wise and upper body as well. There is stability involved when moving on and off the saddle for hill climbs and other standing postures which draws a lot on using your core (similar to riding outdoors) and rest hands on the bars requires slightly more weight in the upper body (triceps/shoulders). 

What suggestions would you give to someone who hasn’t taken indoor cycling, but wants to? 

If they have questions regarding classes or would like to see the studio, to drop me a line. Otherwise, throw fear aside and jump right in! Reefuel sees all walks of life finding success. It is such a low-impact exercise that can help with building strength, weight-loss and all-around better physical health.  

What is your favorite thing about indoor cycling? 

I LOVE THE SWEAT. Outside of my love for heated yoga (maybe Reefuel's next venture?), nothing produces a sweatier, all over workout like Indoor cycling. 

Tell us about your business, Reefuel and why you are so passionate about it. 

I want people to know that Reefuel is NOT a gym - we are an all encompassing indoor cycling and yoga studio that draws on pushing you to YOUR next level, not your neighbors. I hope that you would find a more personal experience at Reefuel, rather than moving from machine to machine at a gym. Reefuel hopes to create an inviting environment for those new to physical activity, encourage those who have started their journey and challenge seasoned athletes to take their mind, body and spirit to their next level. Reefuel wants eliminate the boundaries placed on fitness by offering a wide variety of exercise classes and coaching to serve EVERY body.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Moms on Bikes Series: Rebecca Fackrell

I started riding with my son when he was about a year old, we use a trailer and love it! The trailer adds weight and can make some trails a little more difficult but I loved that it made me stronger. When I purchased the trailer I looked at a lot of different styles and sizes, I ended up getting a 2 seat trailer. I only have one child but am so glad I got the 2 seat, he loves the extra room for blankets, toys, food, etc.

I have yet to meet a kid who didn't automatically think the bike trailer was some kind of torture device that was going to eat them. I tried to use it without any prep and enjoyed a 5 minute ride full of screaming and tears. After that I let him sit in it in the garage with toys and food. I did that for a few days and he was ready to let me drive him around in it. Once we got out on the trail, he fell in love. 

Moving fast, bumping around, seeing trees, and mud splashing around. My little guy was in heaven. I chose a trailer over a attachable seat because I felt safer with him in a trailer. About 3 months after we started riding together my front tire got caught in a train track, I slammed hard into the pavement and got hurt. My little rider was safe and sound in the trailer, my bike hit and slid and he wasn't moved at all. I can't imagine if he was riding on the bike with me what could have happened. We also have a pug, and he loves to ride with us.

A few things I've learned about little kids and bikes.
-Be patient, don't be afraid to let them warm up to it. Let them learn to love it as much as you do.
-Be prepared to stop. A lot. Especially the first long ride. When my son was first starting out, I stopped a bit. Once he figured out how to take care of himself a little better, he was fine for about an hour in the trailer.
- If they are older, let them pick out a helmet themselves! My son got so much more excited once he got to pick his helmet.
-Pack lots of snacks, water, toys, and a blanket if it's cooler. We started out riding in the South, it was HOT. Most trailers have mesh doors and windows with removable plastic sheeting for winter or rain.
-Make it fun, I tried to plan our rides around a stop. Even if that stop was in the woods so we could explore for a few minutes.
Riding with my son has been one of the most rewarding things we have done together, teaching him to love exercise and being outside is fun for both of us.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Women on Bikes Series: Jude Gerace

Meet Jude who owns Sugar Wheel Works!

For my blog project I decided to be a bit brave and contact random individuals to see if they wanted to share their stories. I actually did a search online for small bike businesses and/or biking women. Somewhere during my search, I found Jude's website: Sugar Wheel Works

 It's been an absolute pleasure to talk with Jude and I really appreciate her willingness to talk to me about blog-related topics I've come up with along with just general conversation. It makes my heart feel a little fuller and I realize that I will probably make many more connections as this project continues. This means I'll want to take trips someday to visit these wonderful individuals and check out what they are doing in person! (Doesn't that sound fun?!)

Check out Jude's Facebook page too! Sugar Wheel Works on Facebook

When did you first start riding a bike?  I started on a Schwinn Fairlady that had training wheels on it.  My dad looked at the "Tradin' Time"--the used magazine (the precursor to Craigslist) and he found a bike.  When we went to pick it up the girl whose bike it had been had just fallen off of her new 10-speed and wanted her Fairlady back.  I remember being so scared that I wouldn't get it and that everyone would feel sorry for her because she was crying.  In the end we brought the bike home--and I hope that little girl kept working on riding her awesome 10-speed.
What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?  Freedom.  Nothing is more freeing than riding my bike.  When traveling in foreign countries on a bike it was easier to leave the tourist track and become part of the undulating landscape and interact with people in a way that I wouldn't have otherwise.

What kind of riding is your favorite? (paved, gravel, mountain)  I'm not sure I have a favorite.  I like touring most of all.  Light weight touring and free camping.  I like the option to go fast but I also like the option to stop and rest if I've found someplace interesting.  But most of all I like the idea of pitching my tent wherever and just being.

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride? (If not a mountain biker, how about first commuter ride, paved trail ride, gravel, etc.)  I was so scared on my first mountain bike ride--it was such an "epic" course that started with 10 miles of gravel climbing up hill.  It never ended.  But scarier than the uphill was descending in dusk on a somewhat technical trail.  I was both terrified and empowered.

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?  As the saying goes "Get back on the horse".  While an injury to my left arm has made it more difficult to mountain bike, when the opportunity presents itself, I like being there!

Do you use clipless pedals? If yes, what are some tips/suggestions for beginners that you would share? If no, are you thinking of trying it out at all?  I do use clip less pedals--but on my first ride I wish I wouldn't have.  I think that, for me, the key to enjoying mountain biking was choosing courses that were skill appropriate, having a good fitting bike, and yes using clip less pedals…while it's a little harder it pays off in the end.

If you are a commuter what are some of the challenges you face and how do you overcome them?  I have been a commuter long before any other discipline in cycling.  For me there was no challenge I couldn't overcome with the will to ride.  I dressed in some of the dorkiest outfits just to stay warm--that was definitely the challenge.  I'm glad I've been introduced to the right "Gear" but there was a naivety that was endearing about those early years of commuting.

If you live where there is a snowy or icy winter, do you still commute? Why or why not? If yes, what do you do to make it more tolerable?  Funny that you should ask…here in PDX they don't plow a lot of roads because we don't have the equipment to do so.  So, in this last winter blast I skied and mountain biked through the snow…I felt like I was floating using a 2.3 mm tire.  I think the snow brought out a sense of joy and there was this mission to get around not using cars.  I loved it!!!!

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?  I've never had a significant bike biff.  I've had a lot of close calls but I feel so connected to my bike that I wouldn't think of not riding it again after an accident.  When I was in a car wreck I was so scared to ride in a car again--but biking is different.  It's akin to walking.

What do you love about riding your bike?  Everything.  I just love my bikes.  I worry about them getting stolen more than any other possession.  I just love them and I don't always know why.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Feeling humble and excited

Sometimes opportunities arise when you are focusing on something completely different. I can say that this has happened to me before and it's happening again right now. On my mission to find female bike riders to interview-I was actually asked to share one of my stories!

I'm humble with my writing, regardless of being told if I write well or not; always a little uncertain if it's actually entertaining enough to read. I actually had two friends read my writing first before I emailed it to Melissa. I was not about to submit something that was, in other words, crap. Sometimes I'm not sure how it all sounds because I write like I talk, and for all practical purposes that kinda rambles on at times or doesn't make sense. However, I usually always feel like writing gives me more time to get stuff out in an eloquent fashion vs. talking and flubbing up.

I feel very excited for that the future potentially holds for me and my possible writing possibilities. I'm also excited over the thought of the various connections I will potentially make! All based around the love of bikes and bike riding. That alone is pretty amazing, and I would not have said that this would be happening last year, let alone two years ago.

I have several draft posts waiting on the sidelines, as I'm still holding onto the idea of posting one story per week. It makes me feel humble and excited as I get to add more to the pile of inspiration just waiting to be shared with everyone!

I don't know where this will all go or what all will come of this little adventure I started, however, I'm very excited over the possibilities and potential that this blog will create.

If you'd like to read my Bike Love story:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Women on Bikes Series: Nicole O'Gara

I didn’t know Nicole personally, but rather the traditional standpoint of knowing her husband Jeff. From conversations with my partner, Travis, I learned that Nicole was a successful female mountain biker. Petite in stature (only knowing this from brief encounters at the Co-Op or in pictures) I was inspired by this woman who was taking on the mountain bike trails of Decorah! Of course I had to contact her for a Q/A for my blog idea.

I first started riding bike after high school when my dad bought me a mountain bike for my high school graduation present.  At that time, I only road the paved trails in La Crosse. 
When I moved to Decorah back in 1999, Jeff just started riding the mountain bike trails here.  A few years later, I decided to join him and road the Twin Springs trail.  I rode that trail a few times with him before he decided to take me up in Van Peenen and Dunnings.

At first I only road with him a few times per month. About 2 years later, when riding got easier for me, I started riding on my own up on the trails.

-I asked if Jeff had ever had concerns over her going out alone on the trails: “He never did worry about me on the trails. That's just his personality. I really don't remember what got me feeling secure enough to ride on my own. I think I just did it. I ride all the time by myself now just because with two kids it makes it difficult for both of us to ride together.

I didn't start road riding until about 6 years ago.  Jacky Budweg got me into road biking. I went with her a lot before she left on her trip around the world.  After she left, I met a new friend who enjoyed road riding, Sara Dodge.  Unfortunately, she moved and I found myself riding less and less. Eventually I sold my road bike and now only mountain bike.

I was very nervous on my first mountain bike ride.  Jeff made the mistake of getting me clipless pedals and it was so hard for me to unclip.  I hated them!  We switched them to flat pedals and I enjoyed biking much more.  A year later I tried the clipless pedals and got the hang of it.  It took me a whole summer before I felt fairly confident on Decorah's mountain bike trails. 

I would suggest using flat pedals and starting on the River Trail.  The River trail is the easiest because there are no climbs, virtually no logs to go over, and the scenery is pretty.  Even my 4 year old can ride the River trail.  If you start anywhere else, it's going to be very intimidating and one could wind up frustrated by the steep climbs, roots, and rocks.  The terrain on River trail is very user friendly.

-I asked Nicole if she had any tips or suggestions on getting used to the clipless pedals:I practiced getting in and out of them going around the block.

I enjoy riding bike because it is a great work out!  I have done yoga, various fitness classes, weights, running, cross country skiing etc, and mountain biking is, by far, the best cardiovascular work out I get.  It’s also exciting because it's challenging.  I love being able to clear climbs or obstacles for the first time after attempting them in the past and not being able to make them.  It's sometimes a goal of mine to be able to make it up a climb without walking or to ride over a log without having to step out of my pedal. I love the challenge that mountain biking gives.  I love getting a great work out without the monotony of a gym.

As for the time trials, I've done it four times.  I've won them twice and got second once and third once, I believe, for women. I've done the blockhouse roll twice and one race in Winona. Now that I've been biking more, I actually feel safer mountain biking over road biking. I've heard a few bad experiences from friends on the road and I just feel safer on the trails.

Nicole does plan to ride the time trials again this year; I asked her why she enjoys them: “
the challenge and seeing how well I can perform against others.

It was amazing to email Nicole on her experiences and what brought her to where she is now in terms of mountain biking. It just goes to show that everyone starts somewhere and what you can accomplish with determination!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Share photos or video!

As one person said, pictures are worth a thousand words. If you would like to contribute photos or videos of your bike riding adventures, email them to me- josieleah03 at

You are welcome to submit as often as you like! I can only imagine some of the fun adventures you will go on as the weather warms. So if you can, share them with us!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Moms on Bikes Series: Abbie Durkee

As I talk to individuals willing to contribute to my blog series Women on Bikes, I am working to communicate with bike riding moms as well. I have a close friend who is expecting her first child and she had questions about integrating her baby into bike riding. I figured that she couldn't be the only one in the area that wondered how to start and where to begin. My hope is that I will be able to regularly post on future Mondays a Moms on Bikes post. So if you know any bike riding moms out there, feel free to send 'em my way!

For the first post I will share what Abbie suggested. Some of the posts will be answering specific questions that my friend had, others will have simple written suggestions/experiences. I hope that you enjoy this new segment of my blog and that it provides help and ideas for new/expecting moms!

Stay present in the moment with it and start early!
Your maternal instincts will kick and you can answer your questions with confidence as they come up. 

As for safety:  You trust putting your baby in a car seat and driving 60+ m/h with reckless
 drivers everywhere.  Reflect on these first initial precautions and trust yourself to make the best routing and awareness decisions. 

I road without a helmet a lot when I was pulling the trailer.  Not that I recommend doing that, but for me as Pro Level racer, I automatically put on an extra layer of awareness when I ride without helmet, ie: less risky maneuvering.  You'll find your comfort zone and stay in it until your confidence builds (before long the little one will be telling you "Go Faster Mom!" ;)   

As for "accidents", I was all about being a MTB mamma so I took him on singletrack trails early.  One of the first times (he was small but out of the carseat) I tipped it over (by hitting a root) and drug it on it's side for a few feet.  I was so worried about him, I dropped my bike, ran back straightened it up and tore it open, he was laughing as if it was the most fun he had ever had!  So don't beat yourself up too much (also that is one of the reasons that I swear by the Chariot Trailer, So Safe as the baby is suspended like a hammock with a roll cage.  

As for riding pregnant: fitting on the bike after awhile!  Then it was definitely climbing as my heart rate would just spike.  I road to 8.5 months but I tell women to let it all go for at least that last month as natural childbirth is really hard when your muscles are super toned. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Women on Bikes Series: Abbie Durkee

With my women on bike series blog project, I made the decision to reach out to females who weren’t necessarily Decorah residents. I feel that there are many women out there who have something special to offer in terms of experiences and advice. At one point last year I was given a link to My Alibi Clothing, a company that was started by a female bike rider. I figured “why not?” and contacted Abbie to talk to her about her bike riding history/experiences.

As a kid I was always that kid on a bike! It was after high school that I found biking to be a passion of mine. My bike was my independence.”

The summer her first year after college is when she bought her first mountain bike. It was Abbie’s sole form of transportation and her freedom. During this time she was dating a mountain biker. Of course when you date a mountain biker, you likely will find yourself going out on the mountain bike trails with them. Often they would do mountain bike rides at night! (Amazing!) This gave her a new and higher level of mountain biking skills as she learned to trust following the guy in front of her (so she wouldn't be left in the dark).

Biking for Abbie has been a journey and a release of stress. She described finding the “addictive quality” of it, which I personally can relate to.

Eventually Abbie moved to California and that is where she found the competitive quality of biking. She was inspired to go fast, and her friends eventually said “you’re doing it!” and that is when she started racing. Abbie went professional in 2004 and instead of riding a few hours a week, soon she was riding 20 hours a week.
Abbie said “I realized I had potential with my body.” 
That statement just makes me feel empowered! Abbie talked of her parents/grandparents, how one side was German and large-boned while the other side of her family were built of small women who seemed to “shrink away.” She wondered “What will I be? What is my physical destiny?” She deduced that it would be “what I decided.”

I feel so many women can relate to that in some shape or form. I’m of small stature but realize as I keep active/bike/tone that my body can be a small powerhouse. It goes to show that even if your body does not replicate what media says it should be-you can make your body into a beautiful, strong version of itself.

She said a significant moment for her was in 2004, during her first year of racing professionally. She had one particular day where it was hard to stay motivated. The ride had left her feeling muddy and gross; then a woman came up to her. “I’ve been your fan for so long!” she said. Abbie was flabbergasted, because she hadn’t been riding professionally long at all. Then the woman told her “If I looked that good in spandex, I’d ride!”
That is when it dawned on Abbie how important clothing is for women. Women have such a deep-seeded pressure to look like a rider and that was a huge limiter for many. That moment is what inspired My Alibi Clothing. She wanted to make 20 or more products right away, but instead she started with one product to make your other clothes more bike friendly.

Abbie designed the bloomers to let women jump on the bike with whatever clothing felt good to them. Abbie said “try to ride a bike with your own style clothes, it will feel more authentic to you.” For some, they may find commuting to work isn’t ideal, but they will feel more comfortable using the bike for their weekly errands. Abbie said “Do what feels natural for you!

Ultimately, the bike unfolded a passion that evolved out of pedaling. Even I find that I come up with some of my greatest ideas while I pedal away either on a trail or a stationary trainer. 

Abbie leans towards mountain biking for the technical challenge as road riding is not as inspiring for her. She said that mountain biking connects her (and others) with nature and that is why she wants to protect it-not deplete it. She wants to stay true to social and environmental responsibilities, which is why the cost of her product is higher. She strongly believes in educating the public on why this is important and a value behind her product. Not only is it supporting environmentally friendly practices, but supports the local community where they are made too.

I asked Abbie if there was ever a race or event that really stuck with her; The Downieville Classic in California was it. You start at the very bottom of a mountain and go 3000 feet up an intensely long climb. It was a surreal experience that lead into a downhill that took about an hour to complete; you were able to just let go and fly. Abbie said that the ride gave her a new relationship with climbing, because that climb you had to settle into a rhythm vs. bursting it out at 100%.
She said the other special thing about that event was just getting to the finish line, the competition against one another wasn’t as important -it was all about finishing and being proud of it. “We went against the mountain!” Not to mention there was a fun party afterward for all of the riders who participated, of course that’s fun!

Abbie said that is the one main difference of living in Iowa, “Where are the climbs?! 

Being that I am new to clipless and training on them right now, I asked Abbie about her clipless experience and what advice she had to offer.
She recalled that going clipless was her first big bike expense, keep in mind she was in college at the time, so $80.00 was a pretty big investment. She said that her guy friends said “It’s time!” and she had no choice in the matter.
“First fears, everyone has them; you may fall 1 or two times, but you’ll get it!”
Abbie then told me of a time she fell over at a stoplight in traffic, of course she was embarrassed, but she brushed it off. After awhile, clipless became second nature: “practice clipping in/out and feel it. 
The improvement of your ride is huge, all of your muscles link together and the pressure/stress it takes off your feet and ankles is incredible. 
Abbie started off on spd's, but she recommends the “egg beater” types by Crank Brothers, feeling they are a bit easier for new to clipless riders.

Abbie says her lifestyle is bike integrated and she lives within close range of her community (to make that easier.) She is pretty tolerant and ambitious to weather; however this year she’s driven her car a few times instead of riding her bike.
She teaches yoga and rides to yoga almost every time she has class, and she stresses to her students that riding in the weather isn’t nearly as hard as it looks. 

“It’s fun! Singletrack in snow is a blast! Point, trust, and don’t stop pedalling.
Of course I can’t talk to someone who has biked as much as Abbie has without asking about bike biffs. Particularly since I have had a couple biffs myself and I’m genuinely curious to how people get over the mental/emotional aspects.

Abbie said “as an adult going into mountain biking, you have to accept that you will crash. Especially if you let the fear in, you will crash.”
She had been riding for 3 years and broke her arm at Sugar Bottom. The crash was all based on the terrain; there was a root that had tripped her up. That became her mind block and over the next few months, once she was back on the bike, she had an apprehension of roots. To overcome this, she stepped back to the beginner mountain biker mindset. She went through re-training her mind and telling herself “I have to try again.”
If you can, the other helpful suggestion she has is to get back on the bike quickly. 
When she had crashes during a race, she had to get back on; she couldn’t let fear take over.
“Shake yourself off and keep trying.”
While we were having our conversation, she admitted to having had a bike crash last week! Simple catching the curb wrong; freak accidents happen.
Abbie said that mountain bike trails usually have multiple levels of trails, start out on the more basic ones and build your skills up. She said often women are inspired by the men (boyfriends, male friends) they ride with, but there is something special about having a female mountain bike mentor. 
She’s worked at mountain bike clinics where they would divide groups into skill levels; she said that women are effective at seeing things you’re doing and explaining how to improve.

For Abbie, when she’s on the bike she has the freedom, joy, and self confidence to just be herself. When riding the high pressures of society: looks, personality, talking, etc. are all gone. Her time on the bike is the time where she can be completely and authentically true to herself. She is able to feel confident and strong in mind and body while on the bike.

It was a pleasure to talk with Abbie and hear of her experiences and what biking has done for her on so many levels! I will say that Abbie definitely inspired me as an individual and I am very thankful for the opportunity to include her on my blog project. It goes to show that regardless if you are a woman, you can accomplish many great things if you have the passion, drive, and willingness to keep going. 

Check out Abbie’s website: My Alibi Clothing 
and her Facebook pages: Bike Integrated Lifestyle and My Alibi Clothing

Monday, February 3, 2014

Want to share your story?

If you would like to contribute to my blog post project, here are some of the basic questions to answer!

When did you first start riding a bike?

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?

What kind of riding is your favorite? (paved, gravel, mountain) and if you want to elaborate why, that's fine

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride? (If not a mountain biker, how about first commuter ride, paved trail ride, gravel, etc.)

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?

Do you use clipless pedals? If yes, what are some tips/suggestions for beginners that you would share? If no, are you thinking of trying it out at all?

If you are a commuter what are some of the challenges you face and how do you overcome them?

If you live where there is a snowy or icy winter, do you still commute? Why or why not? If yes, what do you do to make it more tolerable?

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?

What do you love about riding your bike?

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