My story is really no different than anyone else's today, it is one of survival. I know this all too well from having come from a family that instilled the skills but also from my days as an active duty United States Marine. It comes from a family lineage of civil and human rights activists and business owners. However, I never thought after a tailored and dreamed, life long legal litigation career, that I would be a co-owner and operator of a bike shop.
My husband a proclaimed "cyclists" created the bike shop for his own reasons 7 years ago. I wasn't thrilled because he did not consult me. Our kids were graduating and it was time for us, a time to travel, not babysit something else, and dump money into what would be a failed business (it takes 6 years to make a profit).
Brent started out racing BMX bikes at 10 years old and has raced in many genres since. I've been a bike rider since youth and riding in notable recreational challenges across Iowa starting with RAGBRAI twice and with VETS in North Carolina and across the state but never labeled myself as anything more than a fitness enthusiast, commuter and someone who always loved being on a bike.
I came into the business reluctantly in 2015 out of happenstance when I was doing contract work when he was juggling travel with his corporate job as a BioMed engineer. The bike shop community wanted to have us open full-time. It also required a woman's presence that was down to earth and more practical. The male racer was not what they were looking for, or the $3k bikes on the floor. Fast forward, we are now in the 3rd expansion buildout. Where others have failed, we have succeeded to be the only surviving bike shop for another 8 miles. It doesn't mean that this hasn't been without much of our own money, strife, hours, and tears.
While I knew how to do work on cars before and do some work on bikes, I've since learned more specific relating to wrenching on bikes and diagnosing. I've learned historical information about bikes, brands, sales, etc. While I trail ran before, rock climbed and repelled, I had to learn so many other things to be able to conversate regarding genres of cycling. This is where I was blessed to have my legal career to quickly read, digest, filter, and categorize information. However, I also had my fitness to rely upon.
I with my husband am the only of color woman enduro MTB/Enduro, race promotors, and enduro race series owners Third Coast Productions and 3rd Coast Enduro Series, and were the first in the southeast. The same is still true today. I learned how to mountain bike and I was the first to put on an all woman's mountain bike enduro in the southeast with 80 women coming from 11 states from ages 18 to 68 in 2017, with having over 20 top industry sponsors. The most widespread covered race apart from Redbull and largely because of being of color, my age, the demographics, our shop coverage, and the widespread that this race covered in Tennessee of all places.
I rep for AAA as our store is a Discount Partner and my photo is on its own landing page. I am a Bianchi Dama Ambassador (the first minority) when ambassadorship started (the oldest bike brand that has been in business for 138 years out of Italy. I've been a Rocky Mountain MTB Ambassador (which generally requires being a racer for mountain bikes, which I've never been), which is out of Canada), the only minority and person of my age.
In 2017, the Superintendent of Fulton County Schools signed off on me having bike clubs in its schools. We now have an educational partnership with Alpharetta Highschool for the Outdoor Education Program. I give bike lessons, learn to ride and clinics to kids/youth/adults to where people have come from almost 2 hours away. I lead group rides and educate beginners on how to enjoy the ride because as a Marine, no one left behind. I help to focus on nutrition and healthy lifestyle education as I'm also NASM trained but no longer certified.
I do not practice as a paralegal fulltime anymore (but am slowly getting back to some things) because of a TBI and other body injuries I'm recovering from as a result of a car v. bike accident in Nov 2017. An SUV decided not to you when I was crossing the street on a green light and ran me over. I do not have a memory, but life has been challenging. As a result, I formed a Non-Profit, called A Mindful Ride, Inc. to deal with trauma on many levels for all different types of accidents.
A Mindful Ride is dedicated to the prevention of traumatic injuries through the education of people of all ages, areas of interest, activity level, and walks of life. When prevention is unsuccessful, our collection of resources will help the injured, their families, and supporters guide the process of rehabilitation and recovery. It is our goal to reduce the effect a traumatic injury has on a person’s future, and aid them in resuming a connected, healthy, and active life.
I still choose to find ways to give back. In my weekend I make safety COVID-19 packs to give to the homeless that makeup sanitizer (that I make) that I also make for our bike shop, gloves, mask, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, lotion, wipes, socks etc. As there is nothing that should be inhumane about being homeless and living without.
Many of us will find that we are not doing what we were educated to do, what we want to do, and/or what we think we can do, but hopefully, you will make a choice in how you choose to think about what you will do.
2020 Black Women's Celebration
Show love to those giving love to our community.