Where the rubber meets the road

August 25, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Cycling club raises funds for domestic violence survivors

Sharon Anderson (left) and Deborah Taylor, co-captains of the Lakemont Ladies Cycling Club, relax recently after 15 members enjoyed a 23-mile round-trip ride from Eastgate to around Mercer Island. By Greg Farrar

Sharon Anderson (left) and Deborah Taylor, co-captains of the Lakemont Ladies Cycling Club, relax recently after 15 members enjoyed a 23-mile round-trip ride from Eastgate to around Mercer Island. By Greg Farrar

Dedicated to cycling, members of the Lakemont Ladies Cycling Club get up nearly every day and leave a little more rubber on local roads.

But it’s the impressions they’ve left in the lives of women recovering from domestic violence that have made the biggest difference.

“It is so refreshing and exciting that women have gotten together to help other women,” said Barbara Langdon, executive director of the Eastside Domestic Violence Program. “That’s such an amazing piece of this, they are helping their sisters in need who aren’t able to help themselves.”

Beginning in 2007, the club started as a place where women could come together and ride, said Sharon Anderson, a founder of the club and ride coordinator for Cycle the Wave.

“There just isn’t a lot of options available for women who want to ride with other women,” said Deborah Taylor, another founding member.

By 2008, the cycling group had added 60 members and though members had ridden thousands of miles, Anderson said she felt there was more they could do.“I was actually president and a member of the Rising Star Guild, which raises money for EDVP,” Anderson said. “The guild was looking for new ways to fundraise, a way to make a big chunk of money for the organization. Though not all guild members were cyclists, I thought, why not merge my two passions to help others?”

The Cycle the Wave bike ride was born.

Members like Taylor and Anderson said they saw their club’s mission — to use the power of women and help empower others — in the things the Eastside Domestic Violence Program does every day.

For instance, the Lakemont Ladies have helped each other learn how to change their own tires, perform first aid on the road, learn traffic and riding signals, and train women at different levels to conquer their fears.

“A lot of women didn’t grow up doing many physical or athletic things,” Taylor said. “For them, getting on a bike and riding 30 miles is an accomplishment.”

“We want to get them comfortable to conquer their fears,” Anderson said. “It is empowering and addictive.”

To learn more about what the Eastside Domestic Violence Program does, Anderson and the other ride coordinators arranged for Langdon to speak to them about the organization’s shelters, crisis lines and therapy programs.

“The money the Rising Star Guild and the Lakemont Ladies will bring in through Cycle the Wave is critical,” Langdon said. “Especially now, at a time when funding is being cut and we are getting more and more calls and able to take less.”

Taylor said it is important to raise awareness about domestic violence.

“It was amazing to see how domestic violence touches more people than we know,” she said. “Raising awareness is big, because often women don’t know they are being abused unless people talk about it.”

“One in every four women is affected,” Anderson added.

Through the years, the guild has provided the Eastside Domestic Violence Program with more than $100,000 in funding, she said.

“What they provide is that little bit extra we don’t get elsewhere,” she said.

The group’s 90 members are convinced they can do more than raise $23,000 from 200 riders as they did last year. This year, they said they hope to have more than 600 riders participate, but for that, they need community members to register.

There are three routes instead of two this year, the 25-mile Girly Girl ride, the 42-mile Middle Sister ride and the 62-mile Burly Girl ride.

The 62-mile ride takes cyclists from Bellevue, up Cougar Mountain and up Tiger Mountain. Along the way, there will be awareness signs and information, as well as goody bags from sponsors like REI, the city of Bellevue and Veloce Velo.

“Our riders can expect fantastic support, girlie surprises,” Anderson said.

“Great food and a few hills,” added member Laura Halter, “and fun.”

And while men can’t ride in Cycle the Wave, they are encouraged to participate by signing up to make a donation online in honor of someone riding, or as a virtual rider.

Women who may not be able to ride can also participate as virtual riders.

“We are really proud of what we’ve done,” Taylor said. “We want to make it more fun, raise more money and involve more people.”

If you go

Cycle the Wave

Sept. 20

$45 registration fee

Lakemont Ladies Cycling Club will post Cycle the Wave training rides at the Web site soon at www.cyclethewave.com.

Learn more about the Eastside Domestic Violence Program at www.edvp.org.

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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