Women on Bikes Series: Debbie Buckland

I’ve lived in Georgia since 1997 and am originally from Commack, NY. I enjoying spending time with my two “kids”, Riley (8 year old Chocolate Lab) and Jethro (2 year old hound mix). 

When I am not riding and fundraising for Team in Training (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society), I love to cook, walk and draw.  To support my cycling habit, I work as a Solution Manager in the banking and software industry.

For 2015, I have been selected to be a Vanderkitten VIP or brand ambassador, promoting the Vanderkitten brand, women’s cycling and equality in sport for all.

When did you first start riding a bike?
I started riding in 2007 when my friend talked me into doing my first Oly distance Triathlon for Team in Training. I fell in love with the bike and hated swimming.

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
 I just love the people I ride with, they have become family. I also pedal for a purpose, to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through their Team in Training program.

I am committed to pedaling until we find a cure (or my body doesn’t let me pedal anymore).

Have you competed in events? If so, what were your reasons for competing?
I do not race, I ride. It takes the pressure off. Don’t get me wrong, I am a very competitive person, but I am not built for speed so I ride to stay healthy and for those that are not healthy.

What kinds of cycling do you enjoy and why? (road, gravel, etc.)
I road cycle, however I love dirt roads. I ride at least once a year out in Boulder Colorado and love road cycling on the dirt roads out there.

Have you had a bike accident or a situation that was challenging? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
Yes I had an accident on June 5 2011 while doing the AMBBR with Team in Training. The weather was awful and coming out of a rest stop I rode through a puddle which turned out to be covering a deep crevice. My tire fell in and immediately launched me and my bicycle 10 feet into the air. I landed on my head. I walked away but tore the ulner collateral ligament in my right thumb. Two surgeries later, only 2 months after my second surgery and only after 12 training rides, I rode 113 miles at the Tour de Tuscon with my team. Incidentally, that is where I met Shannon and got introduced to the team (at the expo).

You are involved with Team Tough Chik, how did you hear about the team and why did you join?
I met Shannon at her both at the expo for Tour de Tucson. She put me on the mailing list for the 2012 team and well I have been a part of the team ever since.

Why has being involved with a group been beneficial for you?
The emotional support is amazing. Also they give you a boost when you don’t feel like doing anything and a kick in the pants when you need it!

What do you love about riding your bike?
Some people go to church on Sunday, I go for a ride. It is my way of decompressing, relaxing and exercising all at the same time. I have also seen some pretty amazing places from the saddle; places I don’t think I would have gone to otherwise. It has gotten me to Hawaii, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, Lake Tahoe, Maryland Coast, Asheville NC…it’s a pretty long list.

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I have two bikes: Gunney is a 2012 Giant Avail Advanced 0 with Di2 electronic shifting. I got him after my accident because shifting a manual bike was still very difficult.  Ziva is a 2012 Giant Avail Advanced 3. Same bike as Gunney but with manual Ultegra shifting.
I got them because Giant has a discount program with Team in Training and because it is a nice stiff ride.

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
LOVE Louis Garneau Neo Power Shorts. I recommend them to everyone. Very comfy on long rides.

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling?
Fast boys. You cannot be intimidated by the front of the pack. They are really nice and will offer good advice, if you can catch them for a cup of joe after the ride! 

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
In Atlanta we have a lot of women’s only rides that has helped a lot. Also, groups like Team in Training that teach you proper form, bike fit and how to shift, hydrate and fuel for long rides.

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
I started out life as a teacher and love to share my knowledge with people. I have been a cycling mentor for Team in Training and have gotten many women involved in the sport who have gone on to be amazing riders. In fact one of my mentees just participated in Race Across America this past summer as part of an 8 person team. They came in 3rd in their division riding 3000 miles (from Oceanside CA to Annapolis MD) in 6 days 7 hours. I am a very proud mentor!

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
I have two fur babies, Riley and Jethro