Seven rides in seven states in 96 hours. I logged 80 miles on the bike and 1,100 miles on my car.
My name is Sarah, and I’ve worked at the front desk at CycleBar Wellesley for the past two and a half years. This summer, I decided I’d drive down to Eastern Tennessee to visit my parents. The thought of 15 hours in the car was one that didn’t sound appealing to me, so I spent some time thinking about how I could spice up the trip. I could visit friends along the way, stop and take photos of iconic land marks… or I could ride.
I kicked off with a ride at CycleBar Wellesley at 8:40 AM on Friday, July 21, then hit the road to be in Plymouth Meeting for a ride at 5:45 PM. My excitement level was high; I’d never been in a CycleBar other than Wellesley. Pulling up to the studio, I was in awe. It was huge and looked so new. Nothing—with the exception of the friendly smiles from the staff—was like my home studio. The community room was so spacious, and the CycleTheatre felt like a club with its incredible sound system and lights.
While the subsequent studios I visited were all very similar in appearance to one another, each experience was unique. CycleBar Greengate, for instance, has a breathtaking view, which can be enjoyed from the comfy rocking chairs next to the studio’s entrance. I arrived the night before I was scheduled to ride and found myself rocking away as I booked a hotel and found a place to eat. The next day, the chairs would fill up as riders chatted and enjoyed the view.
That sense of camaraderie is something that every studio I visited had. Having worked at Wellesley for so long, I know the people and their stories—it’s a community. I assumed I’d be a stranger walking into a new studio, but that wasn’t the case. Whether I was greeted by owners, managers, front desk staff, or instructors, everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Some knew what I was doing and some didn’t, but everyone was so eager to talk and learn about where I’d been and where I was going. Everywhere I rode, I felt like part of the community. That’s a great feeling.
What really made this experience so incredible were the rides themselves. I always recommend that riders try a few instructors to find a style that works for them, and that’s exactly what I got to do on this trip. Each CycleStar Instructor I rode with brought a unique energy to the class; no two rides were alike. That energy is ultimately what got me through to the end.
Trust me, it wasn’t easy. By day four, my legs were not having it. My mind was all about the seven-ride challenge, but my muscles told a different story. As I rode in Brier Creek that morning, I found myself seriously questioning my decision to ride that same day in Greenville. But I showed up—and I’m so glad I did because Lisl ROCKED that ride. It was just what I needed in that moment; the staff was welcoming, the music was rocking, and Lisl just brought the energy to give me that last little push. I’m a firm believer that the music makes the ride. If the music is right, your body and mind will show up and do the work.
There were doubts leading up to this trip and along the way. Would I get bored driving by myself? Would I be able to ride so much in such a short period of time? In the end, the CycleBar community is what kept me going. Each stop renewed my energy and gave me the motivation to move on to the next one.
So, would I do it again? Absolutely. I had a great time, met some amazing people, pushed myself past limits I didn’t think possible, and achieved my goal of making the long drive from Boston to Tennessee not so dreadful. Shout out to all of the studios that made this trip so fun!
– Sarah Richardson, CycleBar Wellesley