You'll probably discover that even though my "job" is an instructor for indoor cycling, I don't have a lot of experience on an actual outdoor bike than just recreational use. I'm a newbie biker with a passion for group fitness. The workout you can get on a bike (indoors or out) is amazing and I LOVE to workout with other people.
When did you first start riding a bike?
I grew up riding my bike all over my neighborhood (a pink Schwinn with a banana seat!) As for more serious biking, I didn't start that until a couple years ago when the Trout Run Trail opened up.
What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
The main reason I bike is for the exercise. With the trail in town, it's SUPER convenient for me to hop on and get in a good ride. A lot of times I will time myself and then try to beat it the next time out.
Have you competed in events (or will you be?) If so, what were/are your reasons for competing?
I have done a few sprint triathlons over the years- maybe three of them. We've done them with my husband's family. I'm not a swimmer (I hate the weeds in the lake!) so tri's are not my favorite. The toughest bike I've done was the West Union triathlon. It has a killer hill about 3/4 of the way through. I'd like to try that one again now that I've been biking more.
What would be your favorite competitive biking event?
Someday I would love to do RAGBRAI. My daughter is Nordic Dancer, and unfortunately the two events happen at the same time. When she's done in five years, I will do that!
What kind of riding is your favorite? (paved, gravel, mountain, etc.)
My husband loves to go mountain biking and talks about the AMAZING trails Decorah has to offer--- I however, have NEVER biked them! I prefer the paved roads. I try to stay off of the roads and avoid car traffic, so you'll usually see me on the side roads or the trail.
When you started riding regularly, did you have any nervousness at all? How did you overcome?
The biggest challenge for me starting out was having to share the road with cars. Honestly, I don't know my hand signals and I'm not 100% confident that I know what "share the road" means... so finding roads that have no traffic on them was really important. I'm getting more confident with my ability to navigate through a busy intersection- so that's progress!
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 JUST got myself some clip-in shoes this fall! When I started teaching indoor cycling classes, I used them on the stationary bike. I have baskets on my outdoor bike pedals and loved them. I noticed a BIG difference in how I pedaled after getting those. I've gone out ONCE so far with my clip-ins on my outdoor bike this spring. I'm most proud of the fact that I didn't fall over!
If you are a commuter what are some of the challenges you face and how do you overcome them? If you are not a commuter what would inspire you to do so?
I teach fitness classes for my job, so biking to and from there isn't always my best option. (I can bike there, but then I'm pretty tired- too tired to bike home!) For me to get home, I have to climb the daunting Vennejhem trail- a killer hill!! I would love to be able to bike around town and do my errands; some days I do but not very often.
Do you commute even if the weather isn’t ideal? Why or why not? If yes, what do you do to make it more tolerable?
People who know me know that I HATE being cold. If the weather isn't at least 60, then I'm cold when I'm outside. I see many people out biking in the winter- using those hand-warmer mitts (very cool invention, by the way) but there's no way I'm tough enough for that. I wear fleece from October-May and am quite content getting my riding done indoors! You won't see me out in the snow or rain. You might not see me if it's windy either--- I'm a fair weather biker!! (aka wimp!!)
Have you had a bike accident? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
I'm lucky enough to have NEVER had a bike accident! (Knock on wood!) I did get chased by a dog once while I was riding. That was pretty freaky. I am NOT a fan of people who don't tie up their dogs.
What do you love about riding your bike?
What do you love about riding your bike?
I love being outdoors. I love the fact that any given day, even the same route, can feel different for me. I really enjoy biking with other people, too.
You are an indoor cycling instructor at Reefuel, what inspired you to take that on?I used to go to Spinning classes up in Minneapolis when I would visit my parents. The media is full of great inspirational stories of people who used Spinning for their fitness journeys- I knew I had to try it. I love the energy of a group fitness class- it's COMPLETELY different than working out by yourself. My favorite part is that the music carries you through the class. It pushes you to work harder and leaves you with a TON of energy when you're done. I've been wanting to have indoor cycling classes in Decorah for many years, and FINALLY we've got it!! I was THRILLED when Laree Schouweiler called me and asked me to be a part of this whole journey.
What do you enjoy about instructing indoor cycling?My favorite thing about instructing is the people who walk in the door. I know they are there for a great workout and that's what I try to give them. I try to make it fun- so that when I say it's time to cool-down people say, "Wow! That went fast!" Every one of my classes is different; I don't want people to get bored. I want people to come to class because they WANT to, not because they HAVE to. I think one of my greatest strengths is working with beginning exercisers. I want them to feel JUST as welcome as a seasoned rider. I want them to gain the confidence and enjoy the benefits that indoor cycling offers. I want them to have that feeling like, "WOW! I did it!"
What would you like people to know about indoor cycling who've never done it before?ANY new thing that's new to you is going to be intimidating. Yes, your rear end will be sore. Yes, it's going to seem hard. Yes, it's going to make you feel differently. People who come to just one class and then make a decision are really missing out on a great thing. Give it a few classes to decide! My best advice- bring a friend. Try it out together and hold each other accountable. If our kids try something and say they don't like it, we don't just say, "OK!". We say, "well... try again!"
What are some bicycle products/accessories/gear that you have found you enjoy having?PADDED SHORTS. Hands down the ONLY thing you REALLY need if you're just starting out. Oh, and a water bottle. Because in an indoor cycling class you're going to sweat. A LOT. If you're riding outdoors, you NEED a helmet. I see people out all the time without one and I wonder why they aren't wearing them. My father-in-law was in a bad bike/car accident a few years back and thankfully his helmet probably saved his life. (And it was right on College Drive in Decorah.)
How many bike(s) do you have? Tell us about it/them and what you like about it!I just got a new bike for my birthday this year. I don't know much about it to be honest. It's a hybrid (I think that's what it's called!) and rides really nice, and it's a pretty blue/grey color. It's a Specialized Vita Elite and I got it at Decorah Bicycles. If I have a question or problem, I know I can just bring it on down and someone will be there to help me. Can't beat that!