Hope on Wheels: What it Means to Me (Blog entry by Kelly Cleveland)
I have been cycling for nearly four years, off and on between back surgeries. My husband competed in triathlons and road racing which first exposed me to the world of cycling. I was so intrigued about riding a bicycle that he let me try it out on an old bicycle he had laying around. After my first ride, I was hooked! Now it is something that we love to do together and is an interest we have in common.
I was first introduced to Hope on Wheels in 2007, when a few friends of mine were doing the Hope on Wheels ride and invited me to come along. Up to that point my longest ride was 16 miles but I managed to ride the 27 mile route at that year’s event. I had such a blast I couldn’t wait to do it again!
The following year in 2008, just days after I returned from my honeymoon, I found out my Aunt had been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. It was then that I made it my personal goal to ride and raise money in her honor for the 2009 Hope on Wheels event.
I accomplished my goal. And as I stood with my bicycle at the start of the event, under the arch of balloons, with hundreds of other women, it was an incredible feeling knowing that all the women surrounding me are riding in honor of a loved one who has battled cancer, or who may even be a survivor themselves…it is truly indescribable.
I am excited about the opportunity to conduct the 2010 Hope on Wheels Training Rides, as I understand how intimidating it can be to first get on a bicycle and start riding, let alone start training for an event. Everyone starts somewhere and it is nice to have a support group there to help us along the way. I want each woman who has even the slightest bit of interest in the event and/or in cycling to have a safe and comfortable environment in which to learn about the sport, the bike, the equipment, even the “terminology.” I am a firm believer that the body is capable of doing what the mind sets forth for it to do. I hope to help other women realize their goals of riding 30, 60, or even 100 miles during this year’s event.
I hope all women gain a feeling of empowerment and accomplishment through cycling for such a great cause. I hope that we can form a close group of women who are all enthusiastic about riding together in the Hope on Wheels event and who will support one another in doing so. I hope that those women who once thought, “Wow! I wish I could ride a bicycle for 30, 60, or 100 miles at one time!” realize that they can!