The Connection Between Women, Bikes, and the Community – Denver She Devils

DenverSpeax was created at a time when I didn’t have a job, barely knew anyone, and had zero sense of the Denver community. We had just moved here from Michigan, and I hadn’t the first clue in where to meet people, or even if I did, how to become friends with them. Honestly, the website has proven to be a key tool in diving directly into the community, head first – taking it for everything it has to offer. By doing so, I’ve connected with the bike community, and in turn, made ridiculously awesome friendships. This is where the Denver She Devils come in to play: they will prove to be the missing link in my connection between biking and the Denver Community.

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Image courtesy of the Denver She Devils Facebook Page. Make sure to click on the picture to visit, and of course, like ’em!

The Denver She Devils formed one day out of the blue; experiencing some anguish brought on by, well, life, Mia decided she wanted to go for a bike ride… but just with the ladies. Altogether, the women along decided that this shouldn’t be a ride based upon shitty circumstance, but moreso an often recreated celebration for the love of riding as well as the women-friendly, communal environment the more-frequent rides could provide.

I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but bike racing in Denver is not only extremely popular, but also pretty male-dominated. While I’m not a hater on the guys – biking should be open to everyone – I must say, it can be pretty intimidating to a lady in the bike scene. Especially those who feel inadequate in their riding abilities, equipment, image, etc. The Denver She Devils connects women with biking in a way that provides support to overcome those inadequacies, or feelings of low self confidence; they have created a supportive environment that truly provides little to no excuse for women to not get up on that bike, and give ‘er a whirl. This is the support that Mia provided for me during my first race, which to me is of inestimable worth.

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Team She Devils, ready to represent Denver in Minneapolis this upcoming September 2013 in the Babes in Bikeland race. Click the picture to be taken to their Facebook page (where this picture came from! Thanks, gals), and of course, like ’em!

Furthering their love for the community, the She Devils put together a team of four ladies to compete in largest female/transgender alleycat race in the country, taking place this September 14th, 2013 in Minneapolis – Babes in Bikeland. Rookies and pros alike comprise the team of 4, consisting of Annelise, Ashley, Mia, and Danielle; each contributes a unique experience and skill to the team, making them well-equipped to represent our amazing city, Denver, in such a large race. By supporting our Denver She Devil team, we support the better integration of women into the racing scene, as well as our city’s love of community and riding. To learn more about the team, check out their bio’s from their official website. Or, you could just come to Eden (located at 3090 Downing Street in Denver) this Saturday, August 10th, at 4 pm MST.

The fundraising event being held at Eden will include auctions, other give-aways, dancing, and a full cash/credit bar. We need to make sure that the team has the funds, proper equipment and attire, among many other things to represent our great city in Minneapolis. Bring your supportive A – Game and get ready to get down with Team She Devils and many from the bike community (and beyond) this Saturday. For additional information, click here to be taken to the public Facebook event.

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Credit: Yelp.com for the outside shot of Eden. Click on the pic to be taken to their yelp info.

If you’re unable to attend the Fundraising Event this Saturday, no worries – opportunity for donation is located at the bottom of the home page on the Denver She Devils‘ website.

Ultimately, getting involved in the community, and furthermore, with riding and racing can be a little scary. Will I be accepted? I’m not that good. How will I keep up? Can I do this? The Denver She Devils, as well as other bike organizations, are quick to help, putting minds at ease to such fears of riding shortcomings. Their love of riding as well as their hope and support for everyone else’s involvement with the fun, Denver bike community makes the Denver She Devils an incredible organization. They’re not only fun to be around, but inspiring to women in the community. They provide that missing link between the two that is apparent in every aspect of the organization.

Support and join our Denver She Devils – I can promise you a positive experience.

Coco Bikes – SKBC – PBR – Denver Chain Chase: The Royal Rush Bike Race

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Michael (left) Kirsten (right) on the way from Checkpooint #1: Highlands to Checkpoint #2: Denver Bike Cafe. Credit: Jeff Doorn, July 2013

Saturday, July 13th, I embarked on my first bike race with two of our good friends, Michael and Jeff (their first races as well!). Like previously noted, Jeff just moved here from Dallas – he bought a bike roughly a week prior, and had ridden a few times, however we calculated the Poker Rush race to be about 20 miles. Jeff and I being the newbies to biking said, “Why the hell not?” We had 4 hours to finish the race, we didn’t mind if we were last, and we could meet some new people.

We started off at Coco Bikes on Inca in Denver; this is where we registered for $20 (which included sweet tshirt), received the manifest, and hung out until race time. There were roughly 60 people entered in the race – some beginners, like Jeff and I, some serious racers, and some participating to have a chill, bike ride day with friends. All were welcome, which made the race less intimidating.

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Poker Run – Royal Rush Bike Route. I did not include the bike ride to the starting point, Coco Bikes, from our apartment which is another 4 miles. Our ride home from Broadway clocked another 6 miles. Thanks to the Strava App for allowing me to keep track of these things!

When we were signaled to begin, Michael, Jeff, and I road to the Highlands, the hardest part of the entire race. This is where I hurled in front of children along the sidewalk of a beautiful neighborhood. I had only rode in the Highlands once, which was not anything too strenuous as it was only a few blocks. This was totally different. With some coaching and support from my friends  Jeff and Michael, we made it to our first check point. The rest of the race was around the greater downtown Denver area, including Washington Park, Odelay Tacos, & Denver Bike Cafe.

Four checkpoints, one thunderstorm, and roughly 28 miles later (including bike ride from house, race, and bike ride home), we had finished our first race. We weren’t first, last, fastest, slowest – somewhere in the middle was where we wound up. The experience was incredible, and we met amazing friends.

So, why am I writing about this? Simple: to encourage newbies to not be afraid of such events. It’s an incredible, accomplished feeling to finish a bike race, aside from it being a hell of a lot of fun.

Check out places like CocoBikes, the SKBC Facebook Page, Denver Chain Chase, and other Facebook pages to see what races are coming up in your area! Don’t be afraid – if a bunch of fresh-to-the-city Michiganders can do it, you’ve totally got this!

Big thanks to Denver Bike Cafe & Odelay Tacos for participating as check points in this awesome Poker Run event.