The Makings of a Young Cyclist
“It’s so different from all the other sports I’ve tried. You can go longer and faster. I just love biking!”
It was one of those serendipitous moments the day that Kathy and her 12-year old daughter Nicole spotted a postcard advertising a women’s ride at their local bike shop. The ride was the Venus De Miles Women’s Ride in Longmont, Co. It intrigued them both and they thought they’d love to ride it together as mother and daughter. The problem was, Nicole didn’t have a bike and Kathy wondered if a 35 mile-loop would be a bit too much for her even if she did find one.
Kathy had used her bike to get around and to ride recreationally when she was in college and in grad school. She even enjoyed mountain biking, but after she had children, she used her bike only for short trips into town. She had recently bought a second-hand road bike and was just getting back into cycling. Nicole had been gamely trying several different sports trying to find one she liked, she was just as willing to try out cycling. A neighbor loaned Nicole a bicycle and as Nicole remembered, “We trained hard.”
On the day of the Venus de Miles ride, Kathy was still a bit worried about Nicole as they began the ride, but they soon found themselves in a nurturing group of older women who rode alongside them the entire way. Nicole enjoyed chatting with them and the other riders encouraged her as she rode. Kathy remembers that moment during the Venus de Miles ride when Nicole turned to her with a triumphant expression on her face. “Mom,” she said, “I think I’ve finally found my sport!”
Two weeks after that, Nicole and Kathy rode 50 miles in the Buffalo Bicycle Classic. Nicole’s love of cycling didn’t diminish. She wanted to buy the bike she had been borrowing and was able to work out a way to earn it with her babysitting earnings. Nicole and her mother joined the local women’s cycling group, the Venus de Miles Bicycle Club in Boulder and during the Colorado winter, she went spinning with the club and at her local rec. center. She hopes to sign up with the Black Sheep junior cycling team and pursue the sport. Nicole has even started to think in the long term and when the time comes to choose college, she will be looking to see which offer scholarships for a cycling team.
The mother-daughter time spent together on their bicycles has been another great perk. Kathy couldn’t be more pleased with how their experience during the Venus de Miles ride has affected her daughter: “It’s amazing the way things fell into place for her; the support has been great. She was excited and people saw that. It’s great to have that kind of support and get young women involved.”