As a woman in her late 50s, I am new to the cycling world, relatively speaking. I bought my first road bike four years ago, when my orthopedic doctor told me to stop running, or I’d be looking at a knee replacement down the road. “What am I supposed to do instead?” I asked him. His response: “Try cycling.” Cycling? Ew! But I didn’t want a new knee, so I used a tax return to purchase a Cannondale Synapse Alloy road bike. Solo rides got boring, so I started riding with a local group at the start of my second season. With that group, I began to casually ride with people from Team Evesham. I noticed that the Team Evesham guest riders were really strong athletes, always at the front of the pack. But I noticed something else: they watched out for each other. And they always seemed to have fun.
So the following year, in 2019, I messaged Scott Santos, Club President, about the possibility of riding with Team Evesham. He couldn’t have been more enthusiastic! He patiently explained the system of tiered rides, and the role of ride leaders, showed me how to sign up, and invited me to ride with them the following Sunday. When I pulled up to Rastelli’s parking lot at 7:45 am, I was nervous and unsure of how I would be received. Lisa Sleeper, ride leader for the B+ group, immediately greeted me. She introduced me around to the other riders. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. Most importantly, I was comfortable during the ride because Lisa made sure that our group did not exceed the “advertised” speed, and that we followed all road rules. Where the other group I rode with felt like “hang on for your life and peddle like heck!” this felt like actual cycling. The pace line ran as smooth as silk, and more importantly, members were there to provide advice and gently instruct me if I needed it. I also love the fact that I ride with several strong women… cycling is a male-dominated sport, so it’s nice to have other females out there on the road.
This is my second season with Team Evesham, and I can’t imagine not riding with this group of awesome individuals. The thing that sets Team Evesham apart from other cycling groups is its sense of camaraderie. We go out there, we work hard, we follow the rules of the road… but we also have FUN! We watch out for each other; we help every rider to succeed. After a hard ride, we sit in Rastelli’s café and enjoy a coffee or a bite to eat. We share stories, we laugh, we reminisce, we rejuvenate, and we relax. The photo I decided to post is a selfie I took with two of the women I regularly ride with (I am on the far left). I took it at a rest stop just outside of Tabernacle NJ. We had a particularly fast ride that day, and we were happy to fuel up. I chose this photo because of the genuine affection and respect you see in our smiles and body language. THIS is what you get when you ride with Team Evesham… and so much more!