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Emily Murphy does plenty for others. She does motherhood and a garden business. Coaching and chauffering. And then she does something fast, dirt-ridden and gritty for no one but herself: a few hours of pure, unadulterated escapism.
Shiri Amram names her bikes. Pearl. Rose. Champagne. Black Beauty. One takes her to work. One needs work. One gets her over the Golden Gate Bridge and one got her over a fear of heights. They all, in her own words, have saved her life.
When you are Dede Muhler, you are asked questions. You are asked to join the Peace Corp in India, and you say yes. You are proposed to via love letter, and you say yes. When you are 70 years old, you are asked to ride all the way up the Mississippi River with a group of women. And you say yes.
In the wedding of Stephanie Lukins’ dreams, there weren’t any monogrammed napkins or finger sandwiches. There wasn’t even a bartender. Just a bike-powered blender, a 10-speed limousine getaway, and her husband. Who, fittingly, she met on a bicycle.
Jessica Kuo needed a catharsis. After losing a friend to cancer, she climbed on a bike, started riding, and stopped when she got to the other side of the United States. She isn’t an Olympian, she isn’t made of steel. She is a woman who found therapy in the saddle of a bike.
Sophie Ballo had no choice but to cheat on running. The pavement pounding of too many marathons had taken its toll on her body, so friends convinced her to take up riding. She no longer cheats on running. It’s not cheating when you take a job at Specialized and become one of the fastest riders in the building. It’s called commitment.
Denise Bannert didn’t do as she was told. When she was raised in the German flatlands, she moved to the mountains. When friends stuck to the road, she left for the trail. When it came time to stay indoors at a numbing desk job, she came to Specialized and did just the opposite.