Why I Ride with SQUARE1 Cycling
By Amber Erickson Gabbey
I’m not a hardcore rider. I don’t race. Hell, I have exercise-induced asthma and am usually the slowest person in the group. But I love riding with groups. I love the motivation to work harder. I love the support. And I love the feeling of accomplishment when it’s all over.
I’ve never considered joining a team. I have no interest in racing or training and participating in the hardcore, cut-throat, competitive aspects of cycling. Now, I realize that not all teams have this spirit – some are probably fantastic. But they aren’t for me – they don’t help me achieve my goals, which are to just get out and ride (dirt) at least once a week (weather permitting).
When I learned about SQUARE1, it made sense. It was comprised of many people I was already riding with, people I trusted and enjoyed spending time with and people I knew to be understanding, supportive and patient. These people just love to ride – and some of them love to race too. These people care about safety and ethics and inclusion. They want to get more people – women in particular – on bikes. They want to elevate the stance of women in cycling – at all levels. They want young girls to feel like equals – on bikes and in life – and show them the badassery that is cycling. They want to support the communities, support trails and open spaces that make the Front Range great.
So I ride with SQUARE1 Cycling because I believe in the mission. But even more so, I ride with SQUARE1 because I belong there. With that collective, it doesn’t matter how fancy my bike is or how perfect my outfit is or how fast I am. All that matters is that I show up, I work hard, I aim to improve and I act as a positive member of the collective. I ride with SQUARE1 because they’ll have me, they’ll support me in whatever cycling adventures I undertake and they’ll treat me like a true cyclist, even if I’m just a bit of a poser. They’ll encourage me to try new challenges (like racing in the Beti Bike Bash in June). And even if I don’t finish, they’ll cheer me on. And I ride with SQUARE1 because nothing is better than a group of badass women, riding dirt on a weekend afternoon, everyone all smiles, and passing a family on the trail and watching the eyes of a little girl widen as she sees this group go by. And thinking that she may not realize it now, but hopefully planting a seed that she can be whatever and whoever she wants to be. She can shred if she wants to.
What makes SQUARE1 unique is that it’s not a team, but rather a community of like-minded riders who don’t take the sport too seriously. It’s not about the finish. It’s about the process. It’s about getting on bikes and loving every minute of it. And that’s something I can get behind.