Women on Bikes Series: Chyri Jackson

My name is Chyri Jackson. I am married to my wonderful husband, Keith for eight-teen years.

We have two children, Evan (college graduate) and Asia (senior in high school).

I introduced my husband to running in 2008 and in that same year he completed his first half-marathon (The Indianapolis 500 Mini-Marathon; from that day on he has continued to run in local events.

I consider myself as an advocate for helping individuals achieve healthy lifestyles. Eventually I stumbled across the group Black Girls Do Bike on social media and knew I wanted to be a part of the movement.

The group is a national organization with several local chapters. I am the “Shero” for BGDB Indy (Started June 2014)!

When did you first start riding a bike?
When I was younger I enjoyed biking and I didn’t pick up riding again until I was an adult. In 2010, I brought my first road bike and started biking with local groups.  

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
I think that most of my motivation comes from a driving desire to challenge myself and enjoying the scenery.

You participate with The Leukemia and Lymphoma society’s “Team In Training.”  Tell us about that and what you do!
Yes, I just love this organization. My journey with Team In Training began several years ago when I was determine to help find a cure for blood cancers and lymphomas’ all while training for a half-marathon. My first event was a success; I raised way over my fundraising goal and finished my event injury free. I was still not satisfied and felt the needed to do more to help find a cure. So I signed up to complete an Olympic distance triathlon; at the time of making this commitment I did not know how to swim. See my confession!  J  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFYdkOUnUzU

What would be your favorite athletic event and why? Bike first! Indy Crit -which is in the heart of Downtown Indianapolis, IN. The Crit Ride allows cyclists a opportunity to race the city streets. I also, enjoy basketball, and track & field.

What kind of riding is your favorite? (paved, gravel, mountain, etc.)
I enjoy long rides on country roads were I can take in the scenery, and not realize how many miles that I have actually biked.  

Do you remember how you felt on your first ride? Where did you go?
My first ride on my road bike was challenging. I say this because I had to get use to changing the gears, but mostly the adjustment to the seat (saddle).  

If you had nervousness at all, what did you do or think to overcome it?
I must admit, I was a bit nervous when I started cycling, because I had not ridden a bike in several years. And anything new brings on some type of anxiety, but you just have to jump out there and try something new! If you don’t try, how you do know if you will like 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, I do wear clips. The brand of shoe that I wear is Giro brand, and the clips are a shimano brand.  I do not think it is necessary for beginners to go and purchase clip. For the most part determine your needs. ie.. Is this a sport that I want to make an investment in buying helpful accessories? How long do I plan on participating in cycling? Am I cycling for fun or competitively?   
Before you determine you want clips; research different brands, and consult with the professionals at your local bike shop. When I first started wearing clips I practiced in the grass, because you WILL FALL until you get use to clipping in and out of the attachment.
I wear clips; because they are light in weight, help with climbing hills, and for speed.
Have you had a situation or accident that was challenging on a physical/emotional level? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
I have never had a major accident, thank you heavenly father. But… I was hardheaded and thought I could cycle without stretching.  This was a bad habit that I had that was hard to break, until I experience sciatic pain. The pain was excruciating, and I stopped exercising for about three months. I became depressed and overweight. Then I soon recovered with help from physical therapist. They advised me of how to stretch. A lesson was learned! I stretch before and after cycling.    

What do you love about riding your bike?
What’s not to love?
First let me say, I love my bike! I call my bike the “The Stress Reliever”. I enjoy riding my bike, because I literally feel free from everyday stress and humdrum. I capture the scenery and absorb the elements of the weather.

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I have a specialized Dolce that is metallic, red, and white.  I selected this bike because it is lightweight with an aluminum frame. It by far is not the lightest on the market, but I can lift the bike off the ground with one hand, it is easy to transport, and economical.  

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
I have more cycling/ exercise clothing than work attire. I have a variety of different brands and buy what is on sale. I live in the Midwest and have to make sure I have clothing for all seasons.  Some items in my collection include light weight cycling jackets, gloves, jerseys, cycling shorts, and headbands. Although, I buy different brands I try to stick to a brand that works best for me. All of my clothing is dri-fit, which absorbs the sweat. I make sure my undergarments fit properly to prevent skin chafing. 
When I am cycling I wear: short or long sleeve jersey, padded cycling shorts (A MUST), cycling gloves -full or half fingers depending on the weather, and smart wool socks. My favorite brand is Bontrager!
When I am recommending cycling clothes to individuals comfort is the key.

You became involved with BGDB- tell us about what you do!
I became acquainted with BGDB at the beginning of 2014, and reached out to the founder Monica Garrison. We discussed the need for the movement in my area and I became the “Shero” for BGDB Indianapolis, IN spring of 2014. As far as my role with the organization as “Shero” I motivate and encourage the group by creating bike challenges. I facility, map, and lead all group rides with an emphasis of having fun!

Why is BGDB such a great group to be a part of?
I am a woman of color and I am concerned about the health of minority women and their lack of exercise. I am not a “gym rat”, but I do exercise. I think BGDB is an excellent avenue to get minority women moving, and on the right track to live healthy happier lives.

What would you like people to know about your group in particular? How can they find you or become involved?
I want people to know that all skill sets are welcome to join the group. The group is like a pep rally for girls on bikes! Our interest is growing and supporting a community of women of color who share a passion for cycling. (The group is not exclusive to women of color)
One way people can find the group is by visiting www.blackgirlsdobike.com  and finding a local chapter in your area. Most of the local chapters can also be found on Facebook. I am one of the “Shero” in the Midwest, and mentor the Indianapolis, Indiana group. The group can be found on Facebook at: Black Girls Do Bike INDY or BGDBINDY@gmail.com

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling?
There are several reasons that may discourage women to start cycling:
Fear of trying something new
The expense involved
Weight concerns
Skill set

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
In my opinion it is groups like Black Girls Do Bike that encourages women to get out and ride.

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
I am inspired by encouraging women to ride because I know part of the process to becoming healthier is changing your lifestyle, which includes exercising and bike riding is a great introductory exercise.                                                              
Tell us a random fact about yourself!
When I was a teenager I participated in a Barbie doll contest and won!