#200women200miles: April Morgan

#200women200miles: April Morgan

Tell us about your biking: I’ve been biking all my life…. mostly for fun as a child, then as a means of transportation in college, and now mostly for fun. It’s really come full circle!  I enjoy racing and testing my limits at challenging events that “scare” me. I spend a lot of time training on the road and love the local group ride scene in Minneapolis.  When it comes to racing, I’m usually traveling to events and always racing off-road. I enjoy a mix of gravel, fat biking, mountain biking and cyclocross. I’m drawn those mass start events that are dirty, drifty and fast!! 

Tell us about your bike(s): These days I trade my time between 3 bikes….an All-City Macho King (gravel, cx and road) , Salsa Beargrease (fat), and Giant XTC Advanced (mountain). I love more than anything finding small ways to make my bike unique…and of course adding all the colors!! Whenever possible.

Where do you like to ride? Minneapolis is great for having miles and miles of paved and limestone trails. We also are blessed with over 100 miles of singletrack within the city and surrounding suburbs.  There is an awesome limestone trail 2 blocks from my house – ride this route on the easy days and pick a hilly loop around Lake Minnetonka or out to the western rural areas for interval days.  On the weekends I have more time so this is when I venture out of the city in search of gravel or drive to one of my favorite single track loops, such as Elm Creek Park Reserve.

What barriers did you face when getting into cycling? Money, technicality and people to ride with! Cycling can be expensive especially if you want to enjoy all the disciplines. I think having a Gravel/CX Bike + a Fat Bike really are the secret to being able to enjoy all this sport has to offer – those two bikes offer so much versatility. Plus there is so much to know about bikes – it can really be overwhelming.  I also remember early on it was difficult to find good riding partners as women only make up about 10% of the cycling community. Also, because it’s such a small group of women – we all know each other so well….I think that can be a little intimidating to newcomers!  We need to keep that in mind as we women try to grow the sport we love! Smile, welcome, and encourage.

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How did you overcome them? Did my best to save money and of course look for deals where possible. I have found that a CX bike allows me the opportunity to enjoy gravel, cyclocross and road cycling all with the switch of tires!   When it came to finding riding partners I challenge my introverted nature to be more outgoing, and to put myself out there a little bit.  I went in search of some group rides, and realized once I started asking about them, the options were endless.

What advice would you have for other women facing the same obstacles? Save your money and make good investment decisions when you buy bikes and gear.  Generally speaking, less is more!!  Have patience, get into a routine and find a great scheduled group to ride with.  Many bike shops can offer you suggestions and generally are more than willing to help teach you about your bike. You’ll meet so many amazing people always willing to offer suggestions. Embrace the positivity that’s around you…. the cycling community is really fantastic.

 What have you done to get others riding bikes? I’m greatly motivated to do whatever I can to help share the joy and excitement that cycling has brought to my life. Early on a started a blog http://april–morgan.blogspot.com to help share this excitement and hopefully provide a window into the adventures of a female off-road cyclist.  Living in Minnesota I’ve focused a lot on growing winter riding the last few years – being an advocate and ambassador for fat biking.  My husband and I host a “Fatbike Friday” event from our house ever couple months were we ride to a brewery and back!  to I love being a part winter/women’s clinics at local shops and events.  This coming year I’m plan to volunteer more of my teem with the NICA organization, focusing more on developing the youth cyclist.

How can others get involved? Local Bike shops are always looking for women to lead women’s rides, NICA is always looking for volunteers willing to help coach HS teams, race promoters are always needing volunteers to help with events an and trails are always needing individuals willing to donate some sweat equity. The easiest and simplest thing you can do to help grow our sport, is just share the passion and invite your non-cycling friends to join you for a ride! Be willing to loan out your bike, or help them find one they can borrow or rent!

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