Spokes-people Profile- Marla, J and K Heim

Why do you ride?

J: Because it is fun. It might be hard and sweaty but when you get to the top or make a hill you feel so proud of yourself.

M: Because it makes me feel strong and fit. I love the freedom I feel when I’m on my bike. I love that feeling of flying but being in total control. I love how every time I go out it is a different ride. Most of all, I love that I can share my favorite sport with my two girls. We have the best time (mostly) when we are all out together.

K: It is fun to spend time with my friends and one of my best friends likes to ride too.

What’s your best riding tip?

J: When you are about to go up a hill and you think you can’t make it, just keep trying because sometimes just when you think you can’t make it, you can.

M: Always look ahead. Anticipate what is coming and be prepared.

K: If you are hesitant about doing something, don’t think too long about it because then you’ll decide you’re never going to do it.

Biking makes me feel________.

K: Stronger, but tired!

J: On the uphills - tired but determined. On the downhills – free.

M: Invincible, strong, healthy, proud.

Biking has given me ___________.

J: A skill that I’m good at and love and can use any time I want.

K: Strength – both in my mind and my body. And another 20 min added to my life each time I ride because of all the fresh air.

M: So much joy. There aren’t words to describe how much I love being out there with my family.

Who is a rider in your community who inspires you?

K: My mom, because she loves it so much.

J: My dad, because he got really good really fast and I want to be as good as him. He can make it up just about any hill (but my mom’s still faster on the down). Yesterday he rode 1400 m up to the top of our ski hill. I hope I can do that some day.

M: My friend Carla. She is just so fit. She’s a mom to 3 kids and still finds time to keep up her fitness. In all the craziness that life brings, she makes consistent healthy habits a priority. She sets a great example.

What is a piece of wisdom you want to pass on to younger riders, or young people who want to ride?

K: Start out on easy stuff before you attempt the hard stuff.

J: Never give up.

M: Find a community of like-minded riders. Take a clinic or two. They can be game changing and really build confidence. Sometimes the best way over an obstacle is to face it head on instead of looking for an easier route around. I try to apply this philosophy not only to riding, but to life too.

What brought you into the biking community?

K: My parents.

J: My parents introduced me to it, but it is fun and an adventure and that is why I stay.

M: My desire to share my love of the outdoors with my kids. Hiking seemed too onerous with little people (our girls are twins – hiking with two 3-yr olds requires a patience I don’t possess!), so we started on bikes when they were only 3 years old. They took to it immediately. It wasn’t long before I had to start to work to keep up! We kind of all learned together and now it is a sport we love to do as a family. It is also something I can share with my girlfriends and makes for a great date night with my hubby.

What are some barriers (perceived or actual) that you’ve faced entering this community? How did you overcome them?

K: My bikes. I always get my sister’s hand-me-downs and they don’t work by the time I get them. The bike I have now is really hard to shift. My mom and dad are good at fixing bikes, so they show me what to do to make it work better.

J: Finding friends to go with. I only have one friend that likes to ride.

M: The fear that I wasn’t good enough, couldn’t keep up, would hold others back. Over the years I’ve taken several clinics that were real game changers. I still worry about being too slow, but have realized that most people are just happy to get out. Sometimes friends have to wait for me, but sometimes I have to wait for them. It all seems to balance out.

How can we engage more diverse groups into the biking community?

K: Show people a really beautiful trail and make it fun.

J: I don’t know. Just take them out and show them how fun it is.

M: That’s a tough one. It would be great if more kids could be introduced to the sport through school or an organization like Two Wheel View where the sport could be subsidized. Engaging whole families or friend groups would also be beneficial. But that is just the taster. To keep people engaged they need access to a decent, well-tuned bike, a trusted adult to get them out, transportation to travel to the trail head, and a community of peers to enjoy the sport with. They also need confidence – not only in riding skills, but in navigation, bike repair (fixing a flat on the side of a trail!), basic first aid, and in interacting with wildlife (whether it be thousands of mosquitoes or one curious bear).

What is your most memorable biking trip/story?

K: The time I took my friend (and my mom’s friend) Jolene up Mt. Swansea near Invermere. I felt really proud when I reached the top. I took the lead on the trip and showed her the route and I coached her around some berms. Jolene did a back flip into the bushes and I gave her a pack of Welches to make her feel better.

J: We did this one ride out by Wasa lake when we were little. We drove our car down some logging roads and parked in a big field and then rode our bikes through the forest to Premier Lake. It was a beautiful ride, but took us all day! When we got to the lake, we went for a swim and then my dad rode back to the car and went back out to the highway so he could drive to the lake to pick us up. We did the very same ride the next summer and it was so easy. It only took a couple of hours and we rode both directions no problem.

M: Every year for the past 5 years (so since the girls were 6) our family has been riding up Highwood Pass in the spring just before the highway opens up to cars. In the first year, we made it only about 1/3 of the way up and Kira was attached to me with a bungie cord! On the second year, we made it about 2/3 of the way up. And on the third year, when the girls were 9, we made it the entire way. That trip was extra special because my Uncle from Scotland was visiting and he joined us. When we got to the top, all of the people up there were so surprised to see two little kids at the top as well. My pride in their ability and the memory of all the kudos those kind people gave my girls still kind of makes me well up. Being at the top of that pass after working so hard as a (family) team is a memory I’ll keep forever, and hopefully one that will stick with my kids too. Perseverance pays off.

What are three words that tell your biking story?

K: Exercise. Fresh air.

J: Improvement. Pride. Friends.

M: Family. Fitness. Nature.

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