Jenny Gerow tells us why she decided to fundraise for Bike Works with her summer bikepacking adventures.
Tell us about yourself
I used to be a cross-country runner, but I got bored of that so I started training for tri-atholons. When I moved to Austin I was racing triathlons and had a coach and was on my way to going pro. Then I moved back to Colorado and began mountain bike racing, I found it gave me more of an adventure. It gave me a similar sense of accomplishment and adventure as mountaineering and climbing did when I was in college. Mountain bike racing combined my love for technical skills and the need to endure the pain cave.
The need for cycling opportunities for women
In Fort Collins, I started a women’s racing team because there were so few racing opportunities for women. We called ourselves the Sugar Beets.
I was in a relationship with a road racer and I’d hear about all the sponsorship his team had – free kits, a van – and they weren’t even pros! It felt constantly in my face – my group of women riders were just as fast but we weren’t getting anything like that. Women would have to pay into a team in order to race. I saw the need and made it happen, recruiting the fastest women cyclists I knew to form a team. I’m obsessed with healthy foods so when I learnt that Ft Collins was built on sugar beet farms, I knew I had the name.
Tell us about your summer bikepacking adventure plans
In September 2019, I sold my car, bought a Trek Checkpoint, and moved to Seattle to pursue a career in firefighting. I ended up pivoting to trauma therapy for first responders. I’m interested in somatic therapy – getting people in their bodies through cycling, gardening, hiking, and being outdoors.
When COVID happened all the races were canceled (my last race was in Port Angeles on March 3rd) and then the world shut down. So I decided to pursue bikepacking.
My first trip was a Whidbey Island coastal cruise. Next, I plan to tour the Olympic Discovery Route in July. In August, I would love to ride around the San Juans, or ride to Portland to do some off-road routes. Or try the Mt. Saint Helen’s bikepacking route. I’m actually looking for company on these adventures from people who ideally have experience bike packing on dirt, and people with positive vibes and smooth pedal strokes 🙂 *
I’m partnering with Topo Designs, based in Ft Collins –a cool, hip company that has all sorts of bikepacking gear. They’re sponsoring my summer adventures and helping me spread awareness for my goal to get more kids on bikes.
Bikepacking is new to me and is so empowering to have everything I need on my bike. I want to share that with the next generation.
Cycling as Therapy
This is all theoretical as I’m just starting my Masters program in therapy. But I remember when I used to road bike with a lot of men. Tough guys would share things about their marriages and lives and would open up in ways that they wouldn’t have if we were, say, having coffee or at a party. I found myself in therapeutic dialogue. My team members would open up, share stories, and find commonalities in our struggles. You can be fierce while also being in touch with your emotions in order to be an integrated, whole person.
I think of cycling as a metaphor for life – when I reflect on learning how to ride over big rocks, or stretching my endurance on a long ride, I know I can do other difficult things. Cycling builds confidence and resilience.
How did you hear about Bike Works?
I’ve been thinking a lot about Black Lives Matter, and my heart ached to take action to support youth. So I researched community bike programs that help kids of color in Seattle. I read all about Bike Works’ Earn-a-Bike program and knew I wanted to support Bike Works.
I’m very passionate about providing youth the opportunity to own their first bike because I think about what my life would be like if I didn’t have cycling. The bike has been the most empowering thing in my life. It’s been a tool to get me out of things that were holding me back – mountain biking and cycling in general have been hugely therapeutic and empowering. The time I’ve spent on the bike, the cycling community aspect, riding over big rocks, all have formed the person I am today. I am asking my friends & family to help me raise $1,000 for Bike Works to provide bikes for youth for their Bikes-for-All! Program!
*Get in touch if you’re interested in joining Jenny on her bikepacking adventures!