Meghan McCloskey, National Bike Challenge coordinator
Tracey Myers? longest ride is 9.7 miles. By the end of the National Bike Challenge, she hopes to make it to 20 miles. She understands this might not seem like a lot, but it?s more than she ever thought she would do. ?If it wasn’t for the challenge, I probably wouldn?t have gone out and bought a new bike and started my own journey on two wheels,? she says.
Tracey knew she wanted to buy a bike and start riding, but she really needed an extra push to get started. She signed up for the Challenge and discovered it was the perfect motivation for her. ?I am a challenge-oriented person and even though I don?t expect to win, it?s the motivation to go do it. If I have a challenge, I?m more motivated,? she says of why she signed up.
She realizes that she will not be on top of the leaderboards, but that doesn?t matter to Tracey. The Challenge has pushed her further than she thought she could go and has made her feel like she is part of something big. She has never felt intimidated by the more experienced riders and hopes that others will follow her lead.
Because the Challenge community is so diverse, it?s easy to focus on the number of miles being recorded. The Challenge is a fun competition that rewards participants for riding a lot of miles, but it also encompasses people like Tracey who are new to riding. As Tracey puts it, ?A mile is a mile no matter how long it took to get to that mile.?
Like many participants, Tracey has a full-time job and does not have hours a day to ride, so she now rides to the library and to run errands instead of driving or walking. ?I have really enjoyed this new adventure and plan to make it part of my normal routine once the Challenge is over,? she says.
The Challenge is a community that welcomes all kinds of riders. Although it’s an opportunity for riders to compete with each other across the country, it?s also meant to be a personal competition. Tracey is just one of many who have used the Challenge as motivation to start a new journey on a bike.