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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: January 2024

Finding Community on Bikes That Go Nowhere

Erica C R Costello


  • Cycling changes lives and promotes health and fitness.
  • A cycling studio can be a sanctuary away from home and the office, and a wonderful place to find a supportive community of friends.
Finding Community on Bikes That Go Nowhere
Edwin Tan via Getty Images

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I never thought my fitness journey would lead me to a cycling studio and riding a bike that goes nowhere. But, after sustaining an injury from running, I decided to give cycling a try in the summer of 2019.

The first cycling class I took was embarrassing. I didn’t know what I was doing, how to “clip” into the bike, or how to ride “out of the saddle.” It was hard to get through a 45-minute class and everyone else seemed to know what they were doing. I felt lost, but something made me want to go back. And so, I did. For the next seven months, I attended at least 2 cycling classes a week and somehow got stronger—especially my legs. Cycling became easier and I eventually healed from my running injury. (However, I didn’t go back to running because I was having too much fun cycling!)

Then the global pandemic happened and all of the fitness studios in my area closed, including the cycling studios. During this time, I started working remotely from my residence in downtown Indianapolis and barely did any physical activity. I could feel my body growing weaker from inactivity. When the studios finally began re-opening about two months later, I traveled around 45 minutes to the closest cycling studio at least twice a week. The classes were only 30 minutes (with 12 bikes in the entire studio!). But, it felt amazing to finally be back on a bike amongst a community of dedicated riders.

Cycling is what got me through the pandemic.  I eventually began to ride at least five times a week, hitting both my 250 and 500 “milestone” rides in record time. Then came another significant life change—I moved to Washington, DC, for a new job with the ABA Commission on Law and Aging in the spring of 2022. Fortunately, I was able to find a cycling studio in the DC metro area and immediately started attending classes after moving. I’m now on target to reach my 500th “milestone” ride at my new cycling studio by the end of this year.

Cycling changes lives. I have met some of the best people in the cycling studio, including many attorneys and law students. The cycling studio is our sanctuary away from home and the office, and a wonderful place to find a supportive community of friends. It’s not uncommon for most of us to chat before or after class, offering support or encouragement if anyone is facing challenges and celebrating the large and small milestone victories in our lives.

There are so many benefits to cycling—it goes beyond promoting better health and fitness.  If you haven’t tried cycling yet, what do you have to lose? Your first time on the bike may be difficult, but each ride will get better. And soon you, too, will likely find a supportive community of friends who enjoy riding next to you on bikes that go nowhere!