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Commuting, Setbacks and Motivation

5 Rainbow Hunting

Last week I committed to commuting 1,000 miles in August. Not less than 12 hours after typing that post I woke up swollen, looking like a chipmunk, in great pain from a tooth that later that day would need to be removed. After a dentist visit, one less tooth and one more hole in my head I spent most of Friday through Sunday being lazy around the house and controlling the swelling of my face. By Sunday night I felt pretty alright but needed the dentist to confirm this.

With a pocketful of other excuses I can say I haven’t been on the bike since last Thursday, and today is Wednesday of a new week. No commuting miles and not any closer to my 1,000 miles. While for a moment this morning I allowed myself to be frustrated with this fact, I swallowed my shame and remembered I made the decisions that put me in this situation. All I can do is get on my bike tomorrow morning and maybe add some longer routes to my commute strategically to hit the 1,000 mile marker.

Setbacks Happen, Moving Forward is the Success

A wise friend once told me that when a setback, injury or change of course happened they welcomed it with open arms. It shaped them, it allowed them to show true strength, intelligence or humility where some might find frustration, embarrassment or anger. It made them mentally and emotionally stronger, but more importantly a better person than if it was all smooth sailing.

Lately I have been finding comfort in these thoughts and words.

We are only as good as how we handled our biggest failure. Your true character is the one that shows up when you are handling stress, struggles and fear. As an athlete I find excitement out of proving myself when the chips are against me and this commuting challenge isn’t any different. The strongest people I know aren’t numb to their emotions or ignorant to fear, but instead they find the rainbow and learn how to dance in the rain.

How do you handle a setback in training or life?

Everyone handles things differently, how do you handle a setback? How do you stay motivated? Is it through music, an idol or an inspirational quote taped to your bathroom mirror?

Motivational Monday with Katie in Charlotte, NC

4 Motivational Monday with Katie

What is your name and location?

Katie, Charlotte, NC

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

mountain biking. More specifically, getting my wheels off the ground as much as possible

What is your first cycling memory?

Learning to ride without training wheels in a school parking lot. It was amazing.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

All the super fast DH girls like Holly Feniak and Micayla Gatto really inspire me. If they can be faster than most of the male-mountain biking population, then why can’t I? :)

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

Every moment on my bike is awesome, but probably the most memorable moment on my bike so far this year was crashing in a loamy, off camber turn. Whenever I picked my bike back up, the fork had worms all over it.

Tell us what you ride

As if I don’t talk enough about my bike lol! My baby is my Banshee Wildcard. I love it to death and I ride it everywhere. I also have a vintage Raleigh road bike that spends most of its time in my garage. I can’t stand road biking.

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Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement! 

Motivational Monday with Amy from NC

1 Amy Motivational Monday

What is your name and location?

Amy, Stanfield, NC

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Mountain Biking

What is your first cycling memory?

Riding my brothers bike because my parents refused to take my training wheels off of my bike. I definitely ate the pavement after riding around for a little bit, but it did convince my parents to take my training wheels off :)

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

I don’t know if it’s so much a “who” but a “what.” My relationship with my husband is what motivates me to ride. I’ve always been active and found solace in being active. When my husband lost his job in 2008 and couldn’t find work (still un-employed but in school now) he had a hard time dealing with that which made our relationship a little rocky. Bike riding brought him out of his hard times and allows us to bond. He’s great at coaching me- he spent years on dirt bikes so he knows the skills. It’s awesome bonding time :)

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

I think it was just a simple ride around Sherman branch, but it was the first full ride of the season.

Tell us what you ride

I have a Gary Fisher Sugar 3+. Nothing fancy but it’s mine!

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Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement! 

Motivational with Cathi from Charlotte

3 Motivational with Cathi

What is your name and location?

Cathi from Charlotte

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Mostly Cross Country MTB

What is your first cycling memory?

Riding with my husband on an old, heavy Trek not “grasping” that it would be “easier” if I shifted.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

Patty Smith. She is, and continues to be, an inspiration to so many (all levels).

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

Yet to come? A couple of casual/traning rides were I was feeling really good, really strong and skills were “on”. :)

Tell us what you ride

I have 4; a Salsa Dos Niner soft tail for XC riding/racing, a FS Santa Cruz Superlight for all mtn, a Niner One 9 SS for fun, and a Trek Madone carbon road bike.

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Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement! 

Motivational Monday with Meagen

1 Motivational Monday with Meagen

What is your name and location?

Meagen Johnson

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Century rides, triathlons and 70.3 Ironmans

What is your first cycling memory?

Did my first century ride with my girlfriends. I had no idea what I was doing. A friend told me to keep my computer at 80 and I’d be fine. He was referring to the cadence. I kept that cadence at 80 the whole time afraid to do anything else. hahaha!!

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

I ride because it makes me happy. I always have a smile on my face when I ride. I giggle and laugh too. It’s so much fun!

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

70.3 Ironman on May 4 this year. I was climbing Snow Canyon, a 4 mile very difficult hill climb. I had trained for 3 months for that ride and climb. I was laughing, smiling and excited to do the climb. Everyone around me was complaining and hating it. I was LOVING every minute of it.

Tell us what you ride

I ride a 5 year old Specialized Ruby Comp Road bike and love it. It works for me. I’ll upgrade one day! :)

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Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement! 

Motivational Monday with Laura in Philadelphia

8 Motivational Monday with Laura

What is your name and location?

Laura – Philadelphia suburbs

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

The kind with friends and a food or coffee stop – and bike commuting

What is your first cycling memory?

When I was about 7 or 8 I picked up a blue bike from the town dump and spending the rest of the evening learning to ride it in the driveway. I was having issues balancing and kept crashing into the sandbox but I finally got the hang of it.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

My mom. She bugged me for decades to ride for fun and I completely ignored her. I was a bikes-are-for-transportation girl for a long time!

My bike commuting friends. Some ride every day year round, some drive part-way and then ride in. They inspire me to find more ways to integrate bike commuting into my busy-working-mom life.

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

Setting out early on February 24 with a friend from his house, our destination: Atlantic City. I wasn’t sure I could do it – but with the support of my friend, we did! An early-season century that ended up being an amazing ride through pastoral New Jersey, arriving at the train station to get a ride back to Philly with only 10 minutes to spare.

Tell us what you ride

Dangerous question! I have four right now:
Felt ZW5 “Electric Dream Machine” – my Nice Bike, the one I take to events and on weekend rides.

Peugeot Versailles “Lady Rainicorn” – my Commuter Bike, with a killer rainbow paint job. I’m slowly fixing her up and replacing worn parts.

Schwinn FreeSpirit Greenbriar – my Around Town Bike. She doesn’t have a name yet and needs some work but she’s great for tooling around town in style.

Specialized Crossroads Sport “The Beast” – the bike that I purchased when I was being laid off and needed to find a new outlet for my anxiety. A solid comfort-hybrid bike but I don’t love her as much as the others and am contemplating selling her to fund repairs to the other older bikes or pick up either an entry-level mountain bike or flat-bar fitness hybrid for heading out with my kids.

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Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement! 

Motivational Monday with Halley in Portland

5 Motivational Monday with Halley

What is your name and location?

Halley in Portland, OR

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Racing & Touring

What is your first cycling memory?

Besides playing as a kid chugging up a hill in Ogden, UT during a warm summer evening – trying to get to final destination even though I was out of shape and on a heavy mtn bike.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

I’ve struggled every day just so that I can continue to ride. As an epileptic I have to maintain a brutal medication, nutrition and exercise regimen all in an effort just to continue to ride. For me, it’s freedom to have the ability to just get on my bike and go without having to be dependent on anyone else.

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

We had my birthday at the local bike shop/bar. Tons of people showed up. There was a jam session and we played music. Afterward, my friend led a midnight mystery ride from my party to secret new party destination. A twofer!

Tell us what you ride

I have a bike for every occasion! For summer time I have a couple fun freak bikes from my “virtual 20″ with the 27″ front wheel/ 12″ rear. My beautiful tall bike chopper that turns heads and gets waves and smiles. My race bike, a Santa Cruz Roadster. I tour and haul cargo on a heavily modified 1985 Panasonic DX 2000 with a discontinued 11-34t Shimano Megarange (that I got an an estate sale new and will never give up!), my single speed cyclocross bike which is nothing special, a Trek carbon fiber/aluminium road bike.

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Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement! 

Motivational Monday with Mac in Chicago

4 Motivational Monday with Mac

What is your name and location?

Mac Grambauer, Chicago, IL

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Commuter and recreational riding.

What is your first cycling memory?

It’s not my first, but it’s one of my most vivid–I was 5 or 6, riding down my walkway, and there was a big bee on the ground. I served to avoid running it over, and I swerved so hard and fast I threw myself off my bike and scraped my knee. Being a little kid I started screaming and yelling until my mom came out and got me to take care of my knee. The whole time she was bactining me I was worried about my bike, lying undefended in front of the house next to a giant bee. And when she was finally done cleaning me up and had put a giant bandaid over my knee I remember thinking “whoa. this is the biggest band-aid ever. I can’t wait to tell everyone about my bike battle wound!” It was my first point of pride injury. (and both my bike and the bee were fine and lived happy, long lives). I spent the rest of the afternoon proudly riding my bike up and down the street and showing off my big bandaid.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

I have no one person as an inspiration–I’ve been riding since I was five, so it’s just a way of life. However, being a Chicagoan, I am alwasy inspired by my fellow year-round bikers. Riding in Chicago in January is a character-building experience, and I have made some friends along my snowy, cold, daily commute to work.

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

Aside from the first really nice day of the spring, which of course made for one of the most pleasant rides, as a commuter biker I have to deal with a lot of car traffic and drivers, particularly around where my office is. One day, I was in the bike lane heading straight and there was a minivan slightly ahead of me; as we came to a cross street the drive suddenly turned into my bike lane to make a turn down the street (sans signal) and I had been suspicious that might happen, so I was able to stop short without any incident. There was a construction worker on the corner who saw the whole thing and he just said “Nice stop.” Which was a nice little moment of affirmation.

Tell us what you ride

I have one right now. It’s a Trek 3900 mountain bike, matte black. Her name is Bernedine, and I’ve been riding her for…eight years now. She was the first bike I ever bought entirely with my own money. She rides smooth, but she’s tough and can take the obstacle-course like Chicago streets. A lot of people don’t understand why I don’t want a road bike so I can move faster, but I love Bernie. I can move pretty fast despite her being a ‘tank’ as of my friends likes to say, and she can take me hauling all my groceries and stuff around. Plus she’s matte black, which makes me think of Batman, which makes her even more cool. We have been through a lot together–a week after I got her I got hit my a car (very minor) I had a banged up leg and she had to have her rear alignment fixed it was one of those battle experiences that bonds you together. :-) We also made a cross-country trip together, and explored a magical city in the desert for a week. Now, too, since I adopted a little dog, Bernie takes care of both of us Wicket (the dog) rides around with me on a milk crate in the back, which people seem to find really adorable–I have a lot more friendly chats with people at red lights. She’s a good bike–she always takes care of me, she’s up for a ride to a new place or a place we’ve been a billion times, and she doesn’t care how often I hum the Batman theme as we ride down Humboldt Blvd on summer (or any other season) nights. :-)

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Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement! 

Motivational Monday with Jackie in Alpharetta, GA

6 Motivational Monday with Jackie

What is your name and location?

Jackie Tyson in Alpharetta, GA

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

I like to ride my road bike and my mountain bike for recreation

What is your first cycling memory?

With my first bike, I was able to ride one mile to a community swimming pool. I felt very liberated as a 10 year old!

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

The pro cyclists in the Tour de France, Tour of Utah, etc inspire me to ride up hills and not complain…I’m outside and burning calories, no matter how long it takes me to finish the climb!

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

Climb l’Alpe d’Huez with only one short stop!

Tell us what you ride

I love my Litespeed road bike, and have a Cannondale mountain bike. I hope to get a new Devinci road bike.

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Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement! 

Motivational Monday with Emily in Wyndmoor, PA

1 Motivational Monday with Emily Wright

What is your name and location?

Emily Wright in Wyndmoor PA

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Road and MTB

What is your first cycling memory?

Getting a yellow banana seat bike for my 5th birthday, the first banana seat in the whole neighborhood!!!!!

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

My children, I want them to see a mother who leads a healthy lifestyle and that exercise and fitness is part of your daily routine, also to show them that you can cross any finish line with hard work

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

Helping my duaghter train and race her first triathlon

Tell us what you ride

2012 5.2 Trek Madone, known as the Batman bike because of its stealthy speed and rocking reynolds wheels
2012 Trek Lush, like riding a couch, so plush and wonderful!
2009 Giant Reign, this bike is to learn downhilling… so I can spend more time with my husband!

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Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!