|The Venus de Miles is an all-women’s ride held in Colorado and Illinois. The Illinois route is a first of its kind for the state. Venus de Miles stands for a celebration of sisterhood, fun, and a way to support the Greenhouse Scholars.
Teresa Robbins - Director & Priestess, Venus de Miles (Photograph used with permission)
Since its inception, the ride has become popular with thousands of women cyclists. Colorado’s first all-women’s road ride raised $380,981 for Greenhouse Scholars. Organizers hope that, by adding another ride in Illinois, they will be able to provide scholarships to Illinois youth as well. Greenhouse Scholars will grant 10 scholarships in Illinois in its first year.
Teresa Robbins, Director and Priestess of the Venus de Miles organization, shared her thoughts about the Illinois location and her involvement in the women’s cycling community.
Daily Peloton: From a bicycle culture point of view, Illinois and Colorado are different, so why did you select Illinois and specifically the Chicago-land area for your ride/fundraiser?
Teresa Robbins: Illinois makes sense for Greenhouse Scholars because of our existing network of supporters there, and the high need in Illinois schools. Pete Burridge, our founder and CEO, grew up in Hinsdale, IL and maintains strong relationships and connections within the state. Our all-women's cycling event, Venus de Miles, raises funds and awareness for Greenhouse Scholars and expanded from Colorado in support of our new Illinois program this year. I spent a week in the Chicagoland area looking for the perfect place to host Venus Illinois and once I entered the City of Lake Forest, I knew I found the perfect location. Not only is Lake Forest breathtaking and community-driven, they also fully embraced our idea of having an all-women's cycling event and were immediately passionate about our cause. Plus, the local riding is spectacular and not as congested as points closer to the city. We were looking for a vibrant community that would be excited about our event, the impact this community could make on our Scholars, and providing something different—we found that in Lake Forest.
DP: The Venus de Miles is a first of its kind for Illinois. Why do you think it is important to host a women-only bike ride?
Teresa: If you've ever participated in an all-women's event, you know how special it is. Being surrounded within a sea of sisterhood is a powerful experience that can literally take your breath away. Not only is it important to support and encourage women in the sport, but also to provide a differentiated experience. When we initially crafted the event, we thought about what we want after a long ride—massage, mini-facials, mojitos, and gourmet food. It's all about celebrating the accomplishment of the event and supporting a good cause. And, women are 51% more likely to give to community causes and 31% more likely to give to education than their male counterparts. (The Center on Philanthropy, 2010).
DP: Just like in the marathon, will preparation will be key to complete the ride? Is your organization hosting training rides for these aspiring women?
Teresa: Preparation is key, and we support our riders every step of the way. Vision Quest Coaching, with its facility-based training centers and world-class coaches, is providing complimentary opt-in training plans to all participants. We're also partnering with Team LUNA Chix, who will be providing weekly rides and clinics in both Illinois and Wisconsin. In addition to preparing physically, our website offers nutrition and goal-setting advice, which will be discussed at our Wednesday, May 30 event at Trek Women HQ in Waterloo, WI.
DP: What is your personal experience with cycling? Are/were you a bicycle racer/multi-sport athlete? In other words, have you walked the cycling shoes and, if so, how or where?
Teresa: Formerly from the Bay Area, I fell in love with cycling in 2002 when I borrowed my husband Mo's old team bike and started commuting from Davis, CA to Sacramento, which is 40 miles roundtrip. I started commuting initially to get fit, and, after some prompting by my spin instructor, decided to train for the AIDS Lifecycle Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2003. I rode my first century that Spring, and Mo bought me my first bike, a Specialized Allez Vita. It took me nearly eight hours to ride the century, although I had the time of my life, and participated in several other fundraising rides throughout the Bay Area including the all-women's Cinderella Classic. In the summer of 2004, I rode the AIDS Lifecycle with my best friend and again, in 2006, with my husband on our tandem. With two kids (Myles is five and Nico is four), my time on the bike with girlfriends is when we can catch up, stop for a latte along the way, and giggle up hills. I commute to work on my Project One Trek Women Madone, which sports the Venus logo and my title, Priestess, in addition to rides with the Venus de Miles Bike Club. I ride for my sanity—it makes me a better event director, wife, friend, and mom—and to make a difference, one pedal stroke at a time.
VENUS de MILES RIDE INFORMATION
When: Sunday, July 29|
Location: All distances will begin at Lake Forest College
500 N. Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, Illinois
Distance Choices: 30 miles/48 kilometers and 60 miles/96 kilometers
$79 On or before 4/1
$89 On or before 7/1
$99 On or before 7/22
$129 The Day Of The Ride
REGISTRATION Registration is Open for the Venus de Miles Ride
Organizers would appreciate it if you took the Metra to the ride instead of your car. The train drops riders at the Lake Forest Metra Station, from which they can take a 15-minute walk/ride to the start location of the Venus de Miles ride.
SOCIAL MEDIA & ON-LINE COMMUNITY
♦ Website -- Venus de Miles
♦ Twitter -- @VenusdeMiles
♦ Facebook – Venus de Miles Ride
ILLNOIS GODDESSES RIDE
The Illinois Goddesses ride is scheduled for Wednesday, May 16 at Urban Tri Gear (210 Burr Ridge Pkwy, Burr Ridge, Illinois) departing at 6:30 p.m. Teresa Robbins, priestess and founder of Venus De Miles will be along for the ride together with the Illinois chapter of the Team LUNA Chix.
This ride typically splits into several groups averaging a riding speed of 16-18mph, 18-20mph or 20+ mph. All women are encouraged to participate. This is a no-drop ride, meaning you will not be left alone. To be part of the ride, helmets are REQUIRED and mountain bikes are not allowed.
Women riders are expected to arrive early to receive ride and roll-out instructions.
About the author: An experienced racer, Imelda March lives is a member of Team Kenda. She is a frequent contributor to The Daily Peloton Cycling News team, reporting on women’s cycling news and general peloton ramblings. She also holds an MBA, is a marketing strategy expert, and is a social media team member/contributor to the Chicago chapter of the American Marketing Association.
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