#200women200miles: Nicole Blakemore

#200women200miles: Nicole Blakemore

Nicole is a teacher, life-long cyclist, bike commuter and 2x finisher of DK200

Tell us about your biking… I have loved riding a bike for my entire life. When I was young, my family would take an annual “cycling trip” on the Linear Trail in Manhattan, a flat pedestrian trail that did a stretch of Manhattan’s circumference. I never let us miss a year. In college, I discovered the joys of riding the River Trails near the levee of Lawrence. I did a year-and-a-half stint in Slovenia where I rode a bike for research purposes (… ok, sort of), and to commute to nearby villages (5-100km away). Upon returning to the US, I decided to purchase a nice commuting bike instead of a car, and did some short (2-5 mile) commutes, as well as some longer (90-100mile) commutes. Moving to Emporia taught me the beauty of the flint hills and the extreme exhilarating feeling of crossing a finish line! Here I commute to work (7.5 miles round trip) and try to ride outside whenever I can.

Tell us about your bike… I have 2- both prized possessions. My first “grown up” bicycle is a neon orange Specialized Tricross, loaded with a heavy rack and thin tires for daily commutes and trainer rides. It can carry quite a lot of cargo, and I have packed my paneers FULL of everything from 100s of student papers, to the specimen we’re going to need to look at in class (I’m a science teacher). Last year I bought a beautiful Salsa Warbird, a teal, aluminum gravel racing warrior. I can ride 200 miles without even feeling uncomfortable…

Where do you like to ride? Hills! Gravel! The Flint Hills are a National Treasure! I love riding anywhere with beautiful scenery and elevation. I would always prefer to ride on the gravel, away from fast moving cars.


What barriers did you face when getting into cycling? I think that my biggest barriers were all internal. As a lifelong rider, I had stamina and courage, but no knowledge of maintenance. It’s hard to admit that you don’t know the first thing about changing a tire on your own. It’s hard to enter a bike store and talk to people when you don’t even know how to grease your chain. I had to get over my pride and start admitting I didn’t know everything.

How did you overcome them? I bought my Tricross from David Colburn in Manhattan, KS (The Pathfinder). He talked to me about every single bicycle component on the bike that I was about to purchase. Since then, I’ve learned to ask for more help and try to do more and more on my own. At Gravel City, Jim and Lelan used to tell me how to fix something and then watch me do it myself. Shawn Honea’s made me take things apart and put them back together. I’m so thankful to all of these people for making me learn something myself.

What advice would you have for other women facing the same obstacles? Everyone starts at the beginning. It’s actually a very good place to start 🙂

What have you done to get others riding bikes? I’ve just started a cycling club at the middle school!

How can others get involved? Throw away your car keys 🙂

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