I remember clearly the day my husband came home from a bike ride and said he met a man named Sandy Student who is looking to get a team together for the upcoming MS ride (2008). This was enticing to me because I always rode alone and at that point, as a mother of 2 young kids, I only had an hour a day to myself and I used that hour to ride. That is how I became faster and stronger. I had a personal goal to ride 20 miles daily and it became my goal to run into my door exactly one hour later, back to my kids. I decided to see what it was like to ride with Sandy’s team…. and it was named “Team Evesham.”
I was the only woman at this point and it was my 6th year doing the MS ride and I finally was part of a real team. I felt safe and I knew I was with fellow riders who were respectful and knew the rules of the road. We paired up and rode and no one was left behind. From that point on, I really enjoyed riding with and watching Team Evesham grow. I would ride as often as I could and was introduced to routes I never would have done alone. There were several times I was recovering from an injury and couldn’t ride, but being on Team Evesham has made it easy to get back into the swing of things and just start riding again. They are motivating, welcoming, respectful, safe and inspiring. Still to this day, even this last ACS ride, I talked with and met other Team Evesham riders at rest stops. It really makes the activity more satisfying.
As my children grew, my schedule grew, and now I a working mother of 2 young students/athletes and run our family household. Why/How do I still ride? We all live a healthy lifestyle and my son tells me I am a “role model for my children and other moms”. We get up early and we train. We set personal goals and understand the work ethic that it takes to improve and get stronger. While they are swimming, I am exercising or riding my bike. Their young eyes have watched me, and Team Evesham, do many charity rides and as my daughter indicates, “You work hard and are fit and you inspire me to work hard and be fit”. With long charity rides, although the goal is for awareness of something significant, braving the challenging weather elements and distances are worth it when your family is waiting for you at the end. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when my family couldn’t be there… but I had Team Evesham and I never felt as if I did this alone.
I love that my children see me as both physically and mentally strong. I know it inspires them too. Both of my kids used to ask me when they could be able to do a charity event. 2 years ago they both ran for a cancer charity, they have challenged themselves in Open Bay Swims, and we recently did a triathlon relay. If I can inspire another mom, another working woman, or another child to get active and have a healthier lifestyle with biking and goal setting, then writing this piece is worth it. It truly feels good to have a purpose and to be part of a Team as supportive as Team Evesham. No matter how busy you are, the people on the team always make you feel welcome and you feel like you belong.
TEAM EVESHAM NOTE-Linda Palmer was one of the eight founding members of the team.