Hi, my name is Veronica and I have an addiction to cycling.
I started dreaming about being an extreme mountain biker back in 06. So I went out a bought a mountain bike and the next day I turned extreme; extreme by only riding to class on a paved sidewalk. After graduation, I moved and my bike collected dust for many years until moving to Chattanooga. Fast forward to 2012, Enterprise South opens two miles from my house and was “great for beginners”. Through the grape vine, I heard the Velo Vixens were hosting a beginner bike clinic and I secretly still harnessed this mountain biking dream. I attended along with a friend, whom was a member, and got my ego handed to me. I realized in two hours that rock climbing for the past 8 years was not the best cardio choice. But since I was the only non-member brave enough to come during this cold, cold February morning, it meant I had a private biking lesson the entire day. I was so slow that I was left with the group trainer while the vixens rode ahead of me. I left that event excited, excited that someone took the time to ride with me. I couldn’t wait to get back on my bike. I really wanted to be a vixen but felt I needed to get a bit better, okay a lot better, to feel comfortable to ride along with these ladies. So fast forward again to 3 months ago, at this point I have made connections in the biking community. My skills are getting better but they are still lacking. I have a few guys I ride with but almost no females; something was still missing from this new life style.
I received an invite from Elizabeth to come to an event, a beginner workshop. She and I made connections when I needed female cycling advice. I toyed with the idea for a few days and decided to go when two of my friends also joined, thinking “Ha, I won’t be the only newbie”. The catch is that you have to be a member to join the clinics. That’s how they got me to drink the Kool-Aid. I figured what the heck, I just bought a new bike I might as well learn how to use it. And here is what I learned after wanting to join this club for the past two years…
I could not have been more wrong about needing to be a better rider to join this club! The Velo Vixens have riders of all levels. From the moment I have joined, I have felt welcomed and encouraged. At no point have I felt silly or out of place. I wish I would have made this plunge two years ago.
I realized within one day, one vixen event, what was missing from my “new life style”, female camaraderie. I cannot express how much joy I get from riding along with the ladies. There is something about not needing a man that makes this so pleasurable. I excitedly look forward to the future excursions and races with my fellow vixens. And it’s not only about riding, there are parties, charity events, clothing swaps, etc.
With being a member, comes an amazing perk… local discounts at our sponsors. And yes we have plenty of them. Have I mentioned my amazing new bike and the sweet stuff I have gotten since I have become a Vixen? All thanks to our sponsor discounts.
The Velo Vixens stay connected in our community and advocate on behalf of cyclists. This is really important to me. I need to have a sense of community and the feeling of giving back. I have been an active volunteer for the Southeast Climbers Coalition for almost a decade and I look forward to doing more work with the Velo Vixens. As a vixen, you are required to complete community service hours if you want a riding kit reimbursement and that is awesome!
Even if I decide to never do any more activities with these ladies (which is my choice, nothing is forced) the membership fee of $35 was spent on a full day of a mountain bike clinic. I learned more in this 6 hour day, than I did in two years on my bike. We have experienced teachers working with us and helping us grow.
The vixens also have a race team that you can join when the time is ready. When I decide to start racing and fulfilling this “extreme mountain biking” dream, I know I will have my own set of cheerleaders encouraging me across the finish line. I am surrounded by females who all love friendly competition and that’s okay.
I wanted to share how I felt about this club as a new member. I find myself telling ever girl I knew that rides to join. There are so many positive aspects that it really seems silly not to join the vixens. You have nothing to lose; maybe you join and meet some great ladies to ride with or just join to be able to come to one of our awesome clinics. Part of life is experiencing growth on all levels, and I have already seen immeasurable growth in my biking skills since I drank the vixen Kool-Aid. So just know that no matter your skill level there are riders on the same page as you, socially and physically. There is someone in this group that will encourage you.