Men on Bikes: Brett Donelson

Brett is the man and brains behind The Cycle Effect

When did you first start riding a bike?
I was a ski coach following endless winters.  SO I didn’t really start riding on a regular basis until 2008. In that time is has grown into a bigger and bigger part of my life.   

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
I have an active brain, so it is a very good place to go and get away from deadlines, schedules, and expectations.    

What kind of riding is your favorite? (paved, gravel, mountain)
I spend almost all of my time on my XC MTB.  I will have a cross bike this year, but at first, it will double as a road bike and commuter.  I then may race a little in the fall when CX starts.  We will see. 

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.)
At that point in my life, I was always looking for the next great thing in fitness.  I evaluated it and realized that it was fun, burned a lot of calories, and I could do it by myself.  So it made “logical” sense to do it again.  I now have a very different attitude, but those were my first impressions.   

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
Compared to a lot of the riders I go out with, I am pretty chicken on rocks and technical features.  I don’t think that I will ever get to a point where I think I am a great “technical” rider, but I just go try features over and over and practice them.  I am not sure that there are any other ways of doing 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?
Yes.  When we coach our girls at The Cycle Effect.  We spend 2-3 practices on clipping in and out.  We go out into a field and let them experiment.  We also have them go around cones and other bike handling skills. But I make sure that they all get challenged enough so they do fall on the grass.  I think it helps them to know that if they don’t clip out, they WILL fall over.  But doing it on the grass is a good, safe way to make that connection.   

If you are a commuter what are some of the challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
I do not commute as much as I would like to.  I often start my day at work at 6AM, so getting up in the dark, cold winter and riding is not something I have been able to motivate myself to do very often.  Things change as I move into the summer months. 

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
I fall regularly.  If it is a hard fall, I will alway go home, take a day or 2 off and re-evaluate if riding is something I want to keep doing.  I have never came up with a “no”.   

What do you love about riding your bike?
I love that climbing in a race, I can doubt myself and what I am doing literally every 30 seconds.  The same way I can when I start something new like The Cycle Effect.  The same rules apply: take a breathe, relax my shoulders and just keep going.  

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