When our shop first opened, I attempted to organize our first women’s road ride…. Long story short, we had to postpone the actual ride. However, my to my pleasant surprise, Colleen called and asked if I’d go ride anyway. Ummmmmm, YES! 100 times yes, because let’s be real here, you should never turn down an invitation to ride. Am I right?
Fast forward nearly 4 years (what?!?!) and this lady still keeps me on my toes. She was the gal who encouraged those early (and I mean early) morning weekday rides. The one who challenged me to my first century ride. The one who still holds me accountable to be racking up my miles, even from another state. Ladies, let me introduce you to Colleen!
Buffalo, NY (moved here June 2016).
Previous Cleveland resident of 12 years and will always have a special place in my heart for Northeast Ohio <3 (grew up in Pittsburgh, PA)
What kind of bike do you ride?
Currently loving my first road bike: Cannondale Synapse.
Possibly my best unexpected purchase decision. I was in the market for a new bike after my childhood mountain bike was stolen. I was looking for a lighter bike than I had so that I could easily lug it up the three flights of stairs in my building. Who knew, the lighter you go, the better bike you get. Before I knew it, I was zipping around test riding road bikes and I never looked back. Now, I am casually in the market for a beater bike to worrying less about and zip around to bebop around town in.
What is your preferred style of riding?
Road cycling. Give me a brisk morning with an open paved path, friend by my side, and miles of open road and I am one happy girl. A 20-35 mile ride is very enjoyable to me. I have ridden more than one century and they are so very cool: equally physically and mentally challenging for me … but, not my type of a Saturday ride.
How long have you been riding?
I have been riding and enjoying my road bike for the past five years and “biking” for as long as I can remember.
What got you into cycling?
My parents got me up on two wheels. From there, having the equipment coupled with some good friends and family made getting out to enjoy the open road easy. I happened to buy my road bike around the same time my sister got herself a new bike. She lives in Portland, OR and at the time, I lived in Cleveland, OH. Shortly after we got our bikes we learned that JDRF put on destination cycling events: “JDRF Ride(s) to Cure”. My sister has type one diabetes (T1D) and we have been involved with the organization since her diagnosis (1997). But, we never realized the organization had been hosting these cycling events since the late 1990’s (to fundraise and raise awareness for T1D). So, with her in Portland and myself in Cleveland, we found ourselves riding our bikes, training for our first JDRF Ride to Cure. We would share how awesome it was to get our first few miles in; then 20 miles; by the end of my first summer I went for a 50 mile ride! Then, 75 miles in one day (150 miles in one weekend) … and then my first century ride! It was so fun to share our biking stories back and forth: “where did you ride today”, “what were your conditions”, “who did you ride with”, “who did you meet”, etc. etc. Since then, I have ridden in five JDRF Ride to Cure events, and our TilNone team has raised over $55,000 for T1D research.
Do you prefer riding solo or with other riders?
I really genuinely enjoy both. It is nice to get out on the road by myself, enjoy whatever pace my body is feeling that day, and take in the the sites around me. I get a lot of thinking in when I am out on my bike alone. But, there is something special about spending time with others on a bike. I am so grateful for the moments I have shared with friends and family, and I am so lucky for the friendships that I have developed (cough cough SheRidesHerBike) through those experiences — both the mundane and the momentous.
What is one of your happiest moments on your bike?
On my first JDRF Ride to Cure, I set a goal to climb up a mountain pass: Jubilee Pass, in Death Valley, CA. It is a steep five miles that climbs from 100 feet below sea level summiting at over 1,200 feet. When I took it on, it was 103 degrees, in the middle of the day, and 45 miles into a desert ride. I had never put my body through anything like that on my bike. It was a long, challenging, fight up to the top that took me around an hour to do. As I descended, the same way I struggled to climb up, soaring down the mountain, my body rushed with emotion — it was the BEST feeling I had ever felt on my bike.
What has been one of your biggest challenges as a cyclist?
“Laughing” … see above.
I have had a few challenges thanks to my bike. Another challenge that sticks out to me was was when I moved from Cleveland to Buffalo. I didn’t realized how comfortable I had become with the places to ride and people I rode with when I lived in Cleveland. It was so easy to pop out my front door and bike down into the metro-parks. Or to toss my bike in the back of my car and find somewhere wonderful to bike. The people I knew shared wonderful places around town of where to bike: where was flat, where I could find a big hill to train on, long rides, short rides, etc. But, when I moved I away I was without all of those comforts: trails and people. I found myself less interested in getting on my bike. I was struggling to enjoy being on my bike and I was struggling to get to know my new city. But, what I found was … when I got out of my head and got on my bike, I not only enjoyed my bike, but I enjoyed exploring new places and meeting new people.
Have you/ would you travel with your bike?
HECK YEAH! I love the places I have taken my bike and the places my bike has taken me.
If so, when and where?!
I love packing my bike up for a road trip: Chautauqua, back to Cleveland, wherever anyone wants to ride!
My bike is happy to be packed up for further off adventures too: Death Valley, CA; Nashville, TN; Amelia Island, FL; Loveland, CO; Saratoga Springs, NY.
I will admit, there is something about giving up your bike to disassembly and shipping that initially caused me hesitation. But, it is definitely worth it to have your bike with you at your final destination.
If you could go on a dream bicycle vacation, where would it be and why?
I want to do another multi-day biking excursion (but, woof, getting back on your saddle after the first day, ouch). I am not a big camper and do not yet have the gear to do it, but I think it would be fun to take my bike, hammock, and a friend or few … find somewhere we want to see: bike and camp for a couple days. Something different, challenging, and a fun way to enjoy the great outdoors.
Any tips for the newbie rider?
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” (A. Einstein) So, just get out and (enjoy the) ride. You wont believe the people you’ll meet. The moments you’ll share, and the experiences you will never regret.
Oh, and if you are wavering … GET CLIPS.
If you, or someone you know, would like to be featured as a “Woman Who Inspires”, CONTACT us today. We’d love to hear more about your/their cycling journey! Don’t forget to join our Facebook community!