Bikes are an amazing adventure.
When you love them, they love you back.
My bike is the most trustworthy relationship I have.
On July 20th - 7, 680 women across the world were united by one thing: bikes. All of these women pledged to ride 100 km (roughly 65 miles). Some women were new to the sport, some women were seasoned veterans. The mission: create awareness for women's cycling. The #Womens100 is an movement that Rapha, has lead the charge on. 5-months ago, during The Calling, I learned exactly what the 100 was - one of my girlfriends had previously mentioned it to me, but, we never committed to it. To tell you the honest to god truth - I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to hang - I quickly backed away from the idea of riding 65 miles. I told myself (and my friend Katie) that we would do it next year.
Next year came, this year I knew that I had no excuses - and had some responsibility too. I needed to inspire women to get out there and pedal. I will admit, I had no clue where to start - generally I play a game of chase the boys - but being brought together with a core group of women at The Calling was truly inspirational. We were given the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other and to chat over the months building up to the event.
I was given the wonderful opportunity to work with the eccentric people of Bike Effect. The energy that Alison expels can make anyone excited. Every time I clip-clop into the store there is always a warm welcome, bright smiles and a hug - Bike Effect is full of passion, obsession and excitement towards cycling.
Sunday was an early morning. Like I have done many mornings in a row, I rose in Laguna just as the sun was coming up and the inversion was still low. The smell of the ocean was intense, and the condensation hit you like a brick wall as soon as the door was opened. All I could think was: please let it be a nice day! The drive up to LA was rough - it was one of those days were it didn't seem like there was enough coffee in the world - but - as the sun started to peek out of the clouds as I approached Santa Monica, my heart started to flutter and the excitement started to build. Today was the day - the #Womens100 was finally here! As if the day couldn't get any better...I got an upfront parking spot :) And, there was Alison - bright and bubbly as could be...with donuts. Am I dreaming? The women started to fill up the sidewalk and shop - the energy was insane. It was so wonderful to see how many ladies were committed to this ride. As we rolled down the PCH I had the opportunity to talk with many of these beautiful individuals and learn their amazing stories of cycling and how it has impacted them, and their passion for the sport.
My lovely fellow ambassador Kelton Wright, and I decided that we would each lead a separate ride. One full of climbing...which I took on (see my link below to see the route) - and one that was slightly longer and would be at a much more enjoyable pace. Kelton always has an open ear, and is my relationship question go-to. What she has to say and the guidance she provides means oodles to me. Kelton is a true inspiration, when I first met her at The Calling - she had only been riding a road bike for 18-months, mainly for commuting purposes too. If I am not mistaken, her first time on clip-in pedals was our first day at camp. To see how she has improved, and grown to love cycling is absolutely amazing. Kelton has an amazing blog, where she tells her cycling tales - if you want to put a smile on your face, go check out her blog.
Jenn, who has started Machines for Freedom, was another great and inspirational person to pedal with. She is an extremely STRONG rider, and is dedicated to making a difference in women's cycling. Jenn is trying to pave the way for the perfect women's cycling clothing - you can currently purchase caps and bidons from her site. I think that Machines for Freedom has a very bright future - and I can wait to watch them grow and hear all about the adventures to come.
Tracy Chandler, my gosh, this girl can ride! Rarely to I come across other women who like to push it up climbs and still chit-chat the entire time. She has become my on the bike/gossip/boyfriend advice confidant. Tracy just got back from a Fireflies tour in Europe, where she had the opportunity/challenge to climb some of the most amazing mountains the Alps have to offer.
Last but certainly the not least, the most inspirational person that came out on the ride was Lucie. Over the last few months that I have been poking around Bike Effect I had noticed a quite younger girl. Always sporting a big ole' smile and riding right by the side of her dad. It reminded me of my first few years on a bike - the dad training program. Finally, during the Women's 100 we had a proper introduction and I learned that Lucie was just 14 years old and training a few days a week to do the 550-fireflies ride in September. Let's be honest, she is a true inspiration - She is my hero. Looking back on my youth, wish I would have found road biking at the young of an age.
Our ride went through Malibu canyon, to Rockstore, then down Mulholland back to Santa Monica to end at Bike Effect. We past plenty of other women out on bikes that day, which brought a gigantic smile to my face. We were so lucky to have a handful of gentlemen there to assist through the small issues that we encounters...like flat tires. We were even more lucky to have Alison out on Mulholland and Decker waiting for us with rice cakes, water and other delicious treats.
The #Womens100 is a day that I will never forget. I am extremely honored that I was able to spend it with some of the most influential and inspiring women on bikes. After seeing so many women united by bikes it inspired me to push the movement of women in cycling even further, and promote it even harder. There is absolutely nothing that a girl can't do...
For those of you who did complete the #Womend100, don't forget to register to receive a roundel, click here.
Sending Love from SoCal - time to gear up for the Rapha Gentlemen's Race in Boulder - keep track of the adventure (and the many more to come) by following me on Instagram: @ereederreadsanereader