Advocacy Efforts #1

Tragedy

The cycling community in the Lake Norman area has had a rough time already this year and we’re not 2 months in. A local cycling legend (friend, husband, father, brother, and grandfather) was killed by a careless driver, in my opinion. Life threatening injuries were sustained by another well-loved and talented young local cyclist, struck from behind by another careless driver, while training for his debut to professional cycling in Europe. These senseless crashes are just that… senseless.

These are just two of the cyclists who were either hit, killed, or threatened in some way by angry or distracted motorists over time. There are certainly others and our hearts go out to anyone that has to endure anything like this while doing what they love. We live in a world with a lot of distracted and careless people that only have one thing on their minds… themselves. Unfortunately some people put more value on two or three minutes of their time than they do on a stranger’s life and it can cause extreme hatred towards anyone in their way. In extreme cases, there are those rare people that dislike you for the simple fact that you’re riding a bike on the road even if you’re not holding them up.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to get action. It’s a shame but we can make sure our friend’s deaths and injuries are not in vain.

Coming Together

Following the death of one of our local cyclists, a group of people came together to form an advocacy group (official name TBD). This group includes local cycling group presidents, town planners, bike shop owners and cyclists. Together we have been working hard to bring safety to our streets. Not only for cyclists but all users. We’re focused on changes that can be implemented in a short time. Changes to roadways take years and we don’t want to wait that long.

Taking Action

On February 5th our group met with police officers from Mooresville, Davidson and Cornelius at the town hall in Mooresville. We had a very productive meeting and the officers from these three towns are very interested in helping keep people safe regardless of the number of wheels you put on the road. A couple items we discussed were:

  1. More citations to aggressive and distracted drivers. An example needs to be created so people know that aggressive and distracted driving will not be tolerated and it will cost them. In careless hands a motor vehicle is a deadly weapon.
  2. Create a campaign similar to “Click-It-Or-Ticket” that we can promote on local television stations and through social media with local cycling groups, towns and police departments.
  3. Replacing the “Share the Road” sign with “May Use Full Lane” as well as painted “Sharrows” on streets all over.

We plan to continue these open discussions on a regular basis and hope to bring in more local towns to join us.

Being Heard

One of the first things we did was to make sure we were heard and we continue being heard. A total of 15 to 17 cyclists attended city council meetings in January and spoke during the public comment sessions in Mooresville and Davidson. We encourage you all to attend these meetings that are open to the public as a show of support and if you have something to say as a cyclist, please do so. The more we’re seen and heard in our communities, the more attention and steam our cause collects. We shouldn’t have to and don’t want to give up a hobby we love because of a small percentage of careless drivers.

Keeping Up To Date

We will post an update like this on a regular basis to keep you informed of what this advocacy group is going and to let you know what you can do to help as well.

Power Moves: On Nike’s “Dream Crazier” Campaign

Every once and a while a message comes across our TVs, computers, phones, or otherwise and stops us right in our tracks. As a mixed bag of baby boomers, millennials, generation z-ers, we have all become quite used to flashy imagery and slogans begging for our attention (especially those young millennials such as myself and gen zs who have grown up nearly their entire lives knowing modern technology as it is today). However, amidst the flashy advertisements and pleading call-to-actions come campaigns that speak to us and leave us moved, and sometimes in the most rare of cases, emotional.

I had the pleasure of watching Nike’s most recent advertisement for their “Dream Crazier” campaign over the weekend. With the focus on women in the sport and the unimaginable and sometimes “crazy” leaps of faith (something I discussed in the last Power Moves blog post), it left me feeling empowered and proud! After sharing it with a few other friends of mine, they were left with similar feelings. So while I considered what the next Power Moves blog post would be about as we head into warmer months, I thought it might be a perfect time to share this all with you.

Watch the video, and sound off below in the comments! What did you think? How did it make you feel? Are there any other videos you’ve seen recently that moved you? Make sure you share those too in the comments!

“Power Moves”: A series for women in the sport, from a woman in the sport

Hello MAC! I’m baaack! But this time, not on a saddle.

Nope, this time around I’m coming to you from the seat of my computer. A few months ago, your trusted leader and MAC overlord, Kevin, asked me to contribute to this brand new blog, and with little to nearly no hesitation I said “absolutely!” Though a few of you may know me more-so by bike, another passion of mine is writing, editing, and all-around content creation. So when the opportunity came up to bring those two together it really was a no-brainer.

Though the decision to contribute was easy, making the choice to what the heck I was going to write about surprisingly wasn’t. Being an athlete my entire life (first a runner, working my way up to running collegiality at Appalachian State University), to elite cycling, and now bringing in a healthy dose of gym work, I’ve collected A LOT of knowledge, experiences, and lessons learned over the course of a decade (and some).

When I really boiled it down and considered what I was most passionate about, it always came back to women in the sport (whether that be cycling, running, or otherwise). A woman in the sport myself, I always looked for resources growing up, but never really could find one. Thankfully, that has changed. Now you can find pro and elite athletes from around the world sharing their knowledge and experiences in a variety of ways, and, honestly, it’s invigorating.

So with that, I bring to you “Power Moves” a series of blog posts about women in the sport, from a woman in the sport. Before I get into what content to expect in this series, let’s talk about the name. Why Power Moves?

“Power Moves” has a few definitions to it depending how you look at it.

Urban Dictionary defines it a few ways saying, “asserting your dominance via an action you take” and “making a bold decision and plans in order to further yourself” as well as “a powerful movement that a person or group makes to change the course of history.”

In the cycling world, a power move could be deciding to lay down the watts in a final sprint. It can be as big as finally deciding to send that crazy decent, or as small as hopping off a curb just for the sake of having fun only to leave you saying, “I actually did it!”

No matter how you slice it, power moves are leaps of faith, backed up by courage, and executed with resolve. In the world of women’s cycling (from local to the professional ranks) I’ve seen countless examples of power moves– women taking chances, doing so boldly, and paving the way for future athletes.

With enough power, faith, and courage, you can move anything. Especially the lines that segregate what is deemed “impossible” into the “possible”. Movement, in its simplest form, is extremely powerful. Movement can leave us crying (perhaps when you’ve witnessed a profound ballet performance), it can help us on our hardest days (think about that workout you did when you were angry), and it can show others how much we love them (spend some time watching families, friends, and lovers reunite at the arrival gate at the airport hugging and kissing one another). Power and it’s companion movement is….well….powerful and moving.

Thus, “Power Moves” was born.

So what content should you expect? Look forward to stories from local athletes, Q&A’s, tech and gear reviews, news on events, and general ramblings about the sport we all love. If you have a topic you’d like me to cover, an athlete you’d love to see featured in this series, or just my take on a particular topic, shoot it my way: ninamastandreafreelance@gmail.com

Until the next time, MAC!

Happy Power Moves,

Nina Mastandrea

An elite cyclocross racer (and all around pedal pusher) living in Boone, North Carolina, Nina is a writer, editor, and freelance content creator working in higher education and together with cycling, adventure, and health-focused companies across North Carolina. The North Carolina Race Team Director for all-women’s, off-road cycling team GRITS (Girls Racing in the South) Nina’s passion is helping more women to experience cycling and the empowering qualities it brings.

Taking Up Cycling?

Remember riding your bike when you were a kid? It was so freeing. The wind in your face and the feeling of getting somewhere so much faster. I spent a lot of time on my bike as a child. Once I got my driver’s license I never touched my bike again though. I was doing “grown up things” then.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid 40s that I got on another bike on a regular basis. My son got a job at a local bike shop and that was the spark that got me back on a bike. My first bike was a mountain bike and I was lighting up the local trails. Yes, “lighting up” is a relative term. After a year or so on the trails I started getting interested in some group road riding with that bike shop. I would take my big heavy mountain bike out on the road and did pretty good keeping up with the roadies. Sure, it was a D group but I didn’t know what that meant at the time.

I had no idea what I was doing on those first road rides. I was also not comfortable wearing the funny outfits. I stuck to my MTB shorts and loose fitting jersey’s. Well I quickly learned why people wear the cycling kits and it wasn’t too long before I was part of that club. Try riding 30 miles with a regular pair of shorts. I’m not even referring to the chamois but more just the legs of the shorts rubbing your legs every time you pedal. I would be so chaffed I could barely walk.

I was fortunate to have a lot of friends that I worked with at the time that were avid cyclists and they would ride at lunch several days a week. They encouraged me to join them and to this day I laugh at how long these guys would have to wait on me to catch back up. Never once in all the times it happened did they complain about me. They always encouraged me and made sure I knew it didn’t matter. Over the years I’ve learned this was more than just having great friends, this is pretty much the status quo for cyclists. Most cyclists I know are happy to hang back and/or wait for a slower beginner rider if it means they’ll ride. Not all cyclists are like that but most are. I always worried that I was holding them up and it bothered me even though they continuously told me it was fine. It wasn’t until I became a faster rider that I realized it really doesn’t bother cyclists to ride with slower riders. It’s a new year and if you’ve been thinking about getting out to ride, try a group ride with some friends or a local cycling club and don’t worry about your speed. Keep in mind, the more you ride, the faster you get too.