Six lessons for life on a bike: spotlight on member Gypsy Garcia
When Women Bike Colorado was just a fledgling group with a few hundred members on Facebook, one woman whose frequent posts exuded positivity and enthusiasm quickly emerged as an unofficial leader and steward of the group. Her name is Gypsy.
“It set a fire in my soul”
Since then I’ve been lucky to get to know Gypsy as a volunteer, super-shero and member of the Women Bike Colorado steering committee. I wanted to learn more about Gypsy’s back story, though. Where did she get her boundless enthusiasm? What makes her so passionate about getting women on bikes?
It turns out that Gypsy’s bike obsession began recently. Inspired by Colorado’s bike-loving culture, Gypsy started riding two years ago after a 24-year hiatus. “Imagine my surprise when it just set a fire in my soul to ride, ride, ride!”
Gypsy didn’t just dip her toe in the Colorado cycling lifestyle—she dove in head-first. Riding on the road, on singletrack, running errands, serving as an Elephant Rock ambassador, racing cyclocross, commuting to work—she does it all. “If it has wheels and I can pedal it, I ride it!”
Gypsy’s passion is contagious and inspiring. Not just inspiring, but full of wisdom that’s applicable not just to riding a bike, but also to life:
Gypsy’s top 6 lessons for life (and life on a bike)
6. You can do it!
“Getting on a bike again as an adult was a life-changing experience for me. Never, ever did I dream it would bring so much joy to my life,” Gypsy explained. When she first learned to ride as a kid, fear didn’t cross her mind. Volunteering with Bicycle Colorado’s first Bike School class for adult women, though, revealed a different experience.
“It’s incredibly brave to do something you’ve never done before. These women were battling their inner fears and deep-seated cultural mores. When they started, they were a little nervous. But halfway into the clinic, the collective sense of I can do this… and I WILL was obvious.”
Gypsy has felt the sense of empowerment and independence that comes with riding a bike, and she is driven to share that feeling with as many women as possible.
5. Find your allies
A good local bike shop is a cyclist’s best friend. “Not a shop that’s merely convenient for you, but one that’s good for you,” Gypsy emphasized. What does that mean? “Friendly, knowledgeable staff who treat cyclists of any skill level with equal respect.” Supporting local bike-friendly businesses is a win for everyone!
4. Be an advocate on every ride
For Gypsy, finding safe commuting routes and choosing to run errands by bike instead of by car is her favorite way to be a bike advocate. “The more bikes we have on the road, behaving predictably, the more drivers will realize that bikes are vehicles, too.”
Gypsy’s approach channels Gandhi’s famous saying, Be the change you wish to see in the world. The long term vision? “That drivers will see a bike commuter every day and be inspired to substitute their car commute for a bike commute every now and then.”
3. There’s room for everyone in the bike lane
“It doesn’t matter what kind of bike you ride, what you wear or where you go. It doesn’t have to be complicated, or fancy, or fast. It’s only bike riding! Let’s go!”
2. Share what you love with the people you love
If Gypsy could invite one guest of honor along for a ride, it would be her mom—who hasn’t been on a bicycle in decades. That would make the experience all the more special. Gypsy and her mom would “just cruise along,” she mused, “[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][but] riding with Mom would be better than riding with anyone else.”
1. Dream big, and stop to smell the roses
Gypsy’s dream is a cross-country bike trip with lots of spontaneous exploring: “If I see a pretty flower, a frog, a weird-shaped rock or the biggest ball of twine along the way, I’d have the freedom and time to stop and smell the roses…” Gypsy grins. “And then continue my journey to wherever my bike takes me.”
Our Meet Our Members blog series tells the stories of the supporters who make Bicycle Colorado’s work possible. Got your own life and bike lessons to share? Let us know in the comments if you’d like to be featured![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]