Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why I Bike: Melani

This week we get the pleasure of interviewing Melani, founder and head coach of LAAVA Performance. If you're in the DC area, check 'em out! 

"We strive to educate and empower multi-sport athletes to explore and promote the crossroads between smart training and leading a balanced and healthy lives"

When did you learn to ride your bike? Who taught you?
GENERAL RIDE: My dad taught me how to roll without any training wheels right before I started elementary school. He semi-tricked me into it by saying he was holding onto my seat and would let me know when he would let go. One block later after my bike found a nice patch of grass to fall over on I found out that he had let go after just a few seconds! Even though I had fallen I felt on top of the world!  

COMPETITIVE RIDE: Cyclocross was my transition into competitive cycling and I have my roommate Barry and CycleLife USA friend Gonzalo to thank for that. Barry loaned me my first adult bike with the trade off that I would sign up for a cross race. I attended my first bar-handling clinic with Gonzo, signed up for my first MABRA (mid-atlantic bicycling racing association) race and ended up competing on Fuji's all-women's team that made it to cyclocross nationals! 

Now that I race competitively, my coach Bob and the crew at CycleLife USA  continuously teach me how to ride more efficiently and how to take care of my bike so I am able to race to my potential.  And due to my competitive spirit, my training buddies also known as AOAT (all out all the time) have taught me how to push my limits on the bike and also in life. 

In what city and state do you live?
Washington, District of Columbia! US of A :) 

What is the biking culture like there?
I moved to DC in 2007 and since then our city has become a champion of change within the transportation world. Thanks to the hard work of the Dept of Transportation during former Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration, bike lanes have popped up all over the city, from the suburbanesque parts of the city like Brightwood and Columbia Heights to the commercial and tourist frequented areas like Pennsylvania Ave NW and The Golden Triangle Business District. It's also awesome to see so many people commuting to work and to see the Capital Bikeshare program thrive. 

What kind of bike (or bikes) do you have?
*2009 Fuji cross pro (trained and competed on for cyclo-cross races and then suped it up to be my commuter)
*2007 Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL (train and race on for triathlon races!)

How often do you ride your bike?
I aim to ride EVERY DAY unless it's pouring rain, snowing hard or if my bike is in the shop

I wish drivers...
Rode their bikes more often! 

I would ride my bike even more if...
There were more cycling designers for business/commuter outfits. So far I really like Ivan Jean.

My favorite bike snack___________
My favorites changes all the time: right now it's Clif Bar's Chocolate Brownie

My favorite piece of bike gear is
My LAAVA Performance cycling kit designed by Betty Designs. 

Do you ride your bike in all weather?
Ideally, yes, unless it is pouring rain or snowing hard

Do you own a car?
Nope; if I need a car I LAAV using the car sharing program Car2Go

I mostly ride my bike ___
I ride my fuji to commute (every day) and ride my road bike for triathlon training (2-3x/week)

My favorite thing about riding my bike....
Is getting from point to point faster than a car during traffic hours and yes, while obeying all laws! :) I also love riding in the car lanes to show off my DC bike "license" plate!
The coolest trip I’ve done on my bike….
is to Bend, Oregon for Cyclocross Nationals where it was sub 30 degrees and the race was my first time riding…in SNOW!

The bike trip I’m dying to do…
 A trip across the country ride for charity.

Craziest thing I did on my bike:
My friend Michelle has a basket bike that I tried sitting in while she rode down the street. It failed comically since the entire block of restaurants and patio patrons watched our circus routine. 

Does your house/apt/work have special accommodations that make biking more feasible? 
Yes! Both of my roommates own and ride bikes so we call our place the FFFH (Fun Fulton Fit House). We transformed our garage into a bike valet! 

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