Women on Bikes Series: Teresa Edgar

photo credit: Colin Wilson
I found Teresa while doing random searches for women involved with bike riding. I've tried hard to find various riding practices, but I must say I really do love reading about women who mountain bike. Perhaps it's because Decorah has some nice mountain bike trails, or maybe it's because so many women feel they can't. Either way, it's something I aim to get better at, and perhaps I hope to soak up some inspiration myself!

Check Teresa contributes toMTB4her (website) and MTB4Her (Facebook)

When did you first start riding a bike?
I first learned how to ride a bike when I was 3 or 4. It was a hand-me-down from my sister that I rode until I outgrew it and my parents replaced it.

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
I've just always enjoyed it. There's a great meme out there of a young girl with a huge grin and the caption says "What riding a bike feels like, every single time!". It's true, it's exactly how I feel every single time! 

What kind of riding is your favorite? 
Mountain biking is definitely my favourite, although I enjoy all types of riding. I just love being in the forest, away from the sounds of the city, hearing nothing but the sound of the dirt underneath my tires (and squealing brakes if it's a wet day... lol).

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 fell in love with mountain biking on my first ride! We borrowed my friend's parents' mountain bikes and went to nearby trail network. By the end we were covered in mud from head to toe and had big smiles on our faces. We had the best time! I was hooked.

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
At first, some of the gnarlier terrain made me nervous and to this day I'm not a fan of wet bridge work. I've found that repetition was key to getting over the nervousness. The more I rode and pushed myself, the more I realized it really wasn't a big deal.

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?
photo credit: Colin Wilson
It depends on which bike. My XC and road bikes are clipless, my DH and cruiser bikes have flat pedals. I recommend setting the clips on the pedals as loose as you can so you can bail easier until you're used to unclipping, and sticking to easier trails for the first couple of rides. It really doesn't take long to master them.

If you are a commuter what are some of the challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
I was more of a bike commuter when I lived in Vancouver, my route to work there was really nice and I enjoyed the 16km ride to and from the office. Having showers at work was a huge bonus. The only challenges that come to mind were remembering to pack a towel and all of my clothes for work so I did my best to pack everything the night before. I had a folding hairdryer and travel sized shampoo and conditioner that lived in my pannier so at least I usually remembered those!

I live so close to work here in Courtenay that I can't really call it a commute.

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?
Our Winters are rain, rain, and more rain. I've got the rain gear however, I've never commuted in the snow so I can't really comment on that.

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
I've been lucky and have never been injured while riding my bike, although I did have a good one falling off the monkey bars. Long story that involved a lot of physiotherapy on my ankle, and an intervention by my physiotherapist and my doctor to convince me to buy a road bike (they wanted me to stop mountain biking for a while since they were afraid of re-injury). The road bike ended up being the one thing that helped me keep my sanity and I discovered that I actually missed riding on the road. 

Long term injuries are hard, lots of ups and downs. Focusing on the improvements, not putting a time limit on recovery, and living in the moment rather than dwelling on where I thought I should be in my recovery made things much easier. 

What do you love about riding your bike?
Lots of things come to mind... Seeing things that you normally don't see while in a car, being out in the fresh air, the extra energy it gives you, the mood boosting endorphins, and just the overall fun factor!

What is the biggest thing you would like women to know about mountain biking?
I'd like women to know that mountain biking isn't all about massive jumps and riding fast. So many of my friends thought that's what I did until we convince them to give it a try. It really is a sport that has something for everyone.

What inspires you to inspire others to try mountain biking?
I wish I had a profound message or something, but I really just like seeing the joy it brings people. There's just something about riding your bike in the forest...