What are the Benefits of Indoor Cycling?

According to the U.S. Department of Health ".....regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk of coronary disease, stroke, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.....and helps to control weight, contributes to healthy bones, muscles and joints... reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression..." Need we go on? Cycling is also "low-impact" without the joint stress that you get from "ground-pounding" sports and activities. All good reasons to strap-in/clip-on and RYDE!



Wish-A-Mile Recap

rydeon wam

“The challenge met my expectations, but the rewards far surpassed any I could have imagined.” –Brigid Lossing

If you’d told Fred Farrand at the finish line of his first 300 mile ride five years ago that in 2013 he would inspire 16 ryders to raise over $38,221 for the Make a Wish Foundation’s Wish-A-Mile (WAM) 50 mile and 300 mile bicycle tours, he might’ve said, “What are ryders?” The way the 2-year-old RydeOn! family has embraced WAM to this degree is an indication of Fred’s level of dedication to Make-A-Wish, and the life-changing impact of the Michigan chapter’s primary fundraiser.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation’s mission to is to provide critically ill children with a special “wish experience.” These wishes provide focus and support as children and their families battle illness. Getting well enough to have their wish granted is often a critical turning point in a child’s recovery.

Over 1200 cyclists participated in both of the 2013 tours. To date, the 2013 WAM has raised $2,021,716 toward their goal of $2,100,000 to fund the wishes of 400 Michigan Wish kids. Five ryders graciously recounted some of their experiences during the 2013 WAM tour.

This year, RydeOn! sponsored our very first WAM50 team organized by first-time WAM participant Tina Ferraro:

My good friend, Fred Farrand, has ridden the 300 for 5 years now and I always admired him for it and thought it would be great to do, but I surely didn't feel I was capable. When I logged onto the WAM site one day to check things out I saw that they had a 50 mile ride and knew I could do that! I approached Brigid the next day and asked her if she would let me poll her RydeOn! clients to see if anyone else wanted to take on the challenge with me. . . . Brigid was immediately all in, firstly by joining the team, and then by promoting it through the RydeOn website and Facebook page, and offering studio time for training.

Our RydeOn! WAM50 team exceeded its goal by $796 dollars, raising $5,796. Fred Farrand himself raised $24,640, achieving his goal of personally granting 3 wishes!

Michigan in July may conjure images of long, humid summer days up north, mosquito bites, perhaps fireworks. Leg warmers? Not so much. Temperatures averaged in the 60’s most of the weekend, and barely broke 60 on Sunday. Bare arms, legs and fingers braced against winds gusting at over 25 mph. WAM superheroes welcome challenges and Michiganders are a tough breed, but when asked what she would have done differently during the ride, Tina Ferrarro replied, “I would have requested that we not ride in November. Oh wait, it wasn't October, it was July 28th,” a sentiment echoed by Fred Farrand, “What made it more difficult was the weather; rain, cold and strong headwinds beat you up in a whole different way. That being said I’m ready to go for next year when we hope to have more July like weather.”

RydeOn! team member Victoria Moore recalled her initial hesitation to sign up:

I was afraid I wasn't prepared for a 50 mile ride on the road. I mentioned to Brigid and Christina I was thinking about it and both told me without any hesitation I could do it.  I can't thank them enough, because it was one of the best experiences of my life. You can't put into words the feeling of joy you get crossing that finish line with the people who have helped you train.

Fundraising is often a concern for first time participants. As the top team fundraiser, Victoria had no trouble exceeding her goal:

Surprisingly the easiest thing was the fund raising. Because most people know of Make a Wish, as soon as I told friends what I was doing they asked me if they could donate. I think your friends sense the commitment you are making to something and they respect that, and they want to support you. I sent out an email and the money started coming in so fast I increased my initial goal 100% and I ended up raising more than my goal.

First time WAM300 ryder John Kucans spoke for all of the respondents when he described his favorite WAM moment, “Riding into MIS to see everyone cheering and then meeting our wish kid!” Brigid Lossing added, “Hands down, my favorite moment was hearing Caroline Seruga's shout of joy when MIS came into view at the end of the course.” Fred Farrand recounted, “We got to spend quite a bit of time at Big Rapids talking with our Wish Kid Anna which was a great experience. A close second is sleep glorious sleep at the end of each day.”

Tina Ferraro expressed what surprised our ryders most about their WAM experience:

How big it is. I didn't know how many riders were involved, almost 1200 cyclists between the 300 and 50 mile rides, and how much money they raise with this amazing event.  And, the day of the event, I was surprised by the number of volunteers - between registration, rest stops, crews monitoring the course, people at the finish line - so many people!”

John Kucans spoke of the “spirit of the event” which pleasantly surprised many ryders, “… everyone, all volunteers and riders, had such a great attitude. Everyone was there to help out. ”

The first timers and the veterans all agree, preparation is key to a successful ride. Beginning in April, team captain Tina Ferraro organized progressively longer and more challenging outdoor rides to make sure everyone was ready. Victoria recalls, “I felt prepared  . .  . because of the rides we did as a team. With each ride I gained confidence. There were a couple of times I had to remind myself it was not a race. I knew I was not a fast rider, but I also knew time was not the issue; I just had to finish.”

For the WAM300, Fred follows a similar process:

Preparation is a year-round process combining both road and Ryde-On miles. This past winter I was spinning 3-4 times a week at the studio and that put me in a great position when I could start putting in road miles. Before Ryde-On was around I didn’t do any winter miles at all and I would then have rubber legs for the first 3 weeks of road season. Once road season starts we put in multiple weekly rides of 50-80 miles plus continued spin classes to prepare us for the 3 days of WAM.

John Kucans adds “Train, train and then train some more on hills. Whomever says Michigan is flat has never rode it on a bike. The first day on hills is quite challenging.” Hills may be sparse on the roads of southeast Michigan, but luckily they’re plentiful at RydeOn!.  

Tina Ferraro recommends the WAM50 to most any ryder, with a little training:

If you've never done something like this before, the WAM 50 is ABSOLUTELY within you're reach with just a little dedication - spin classes and road rides on a regular schedule, 2-4 times a week.  You will be amazed what you can achieve in a short amount of time, and it's so worth the feeling of accomplishment at the end.

Veteran Fred Farrand talks about the importance combining mental and physical training to prevent injury:

“If you are doing the 300 or the 50 you need to be ready both physically and mentally.  Lots of training, and not just on the bike but also off bike exercises that work your core and upper body, will get you ready physically to ride.  But there is also a mental aspect to the preparation as you need to be focused on the task of riding that many miles and the need to be hyper vigilant at all times.  It only takes a moment’s inattention to find yourself on the ground and looking up at the sky and possibly hurt.

Victoria Moore summed up the experience well:

“If I were to give any advice to someone considering it I would say, Just go for it! In the beginning I was very uncomfortable biking on the road, but I just told myself, ‘You may never have another opportunity to do this when you have this much support, if not now, when?” Believe me, you would never be sorry.”

On behalf of the entire RydeOn! family, thank you to our WAM ryders and supporters for your contributions to such a meaningful cause. You are inspiring many more people than you know, and bringing a lot of attention to the Make a Wish cause. You make us proud to be family!

If you’d like to celebrate the success of our WAM champions by making a donation on their WAM page, please feel free to do so! Donations made by August 31 will apply to the ryder’s 2013 fundraising total.


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