In the world of sports, there are often stories of individuals who, against all odds, rise above challenges to become inspiring leaders. Lisa Baynes, has an inspiring cycling journey that embodies the essence of being brave and standing alone. Her journey in the world of cycling and outdoor adventures began over 30 years ago, and it’s a tale of dedication, leadership, and overcoming obstacles which proves that if you show up, others will follow.
A Humble Beginning
Lisa’s fitness journey started with casual running and hiking in her teens. But it was a significant turning point when she purchased road bikes after her father-in-law’s passing. Cycling became a way for her husband to cope with grief, and Lisa realized that if she wanted to spend time with him, she needed to embrace the world of cycling.
A Natural Born Leader
Fueled by a natural leadership instinct, Lisa refused to accept the absence of women in the cycling community. She began recruiting women, reaching out to those who she thought might share her passion for riding. But it wasn’t easy. The cycling world, at times, can be intimidating and unwelcoming, with elitism that makes newcomers feel inferior based on their skills or gear.
The Turning Point
Lisa decided to be the change she wanted to see. She embraced the mantra of being brave and standing alone. She knew that if she didn’t show up, neither would others. With unwavering determination, she declared her presence to the male-dominated cycling group, making it clear that she was there to ride.
This bold approach was a turning point. She realized that the intimidation factor was a significant reason why women hesitated to join the group. It would take four to five years of persistent effort before women would consistently show up to ride, but Lisa was ready for the challenge.
A Beacon of Light
From the beginning to the present day, Lisa has witnessed an increase in women participating in cycling. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a large increase and then a noticeable decline in female participation, but it hasn’t deterred Lisa. Her own journey has evolved, and she has branched out to explore other interests, including mountain biking and gravel riding.
Giving Back to the Community
Lisa’s dedication goes beyond the thrill of riding. Her local bike shop recommended her for the Specialized Ambassador program, where she supports events that contribute to local non-profits. Through this, she emphasizes the importance of giving back to the community that has embraced her passion.
One of the remarkable ways she gives back is by hosting trail maintenance courses in her local area. These courses educate people on mountain bike trails while also preserving the natural beauty she cherishes.
Encouraging Others to Push Their Limits
For Lisa, the key to personal growth is to go for it and put yourself out there. She recalls a day when she met a woman during a ride who encouraged her to push her limits. What was intended to be a 25-mile ride turned into a 50-mile journey, proving that we’re often capable of more than we think.
Finding Solace in Mountain Biking
Lisa’s love for mountain biking goes beyond the thrill of speed. It’s a way to escape the hustle and bustle of life, to be fully present in the moment. The woods offer a cleansing for her soul, and riding through them brings a childlike smile to her face.
Lisa’s journey hadn’t been without its hurdles. She battles psoriatic arthritis, an autoimmune disease that makes recovery from endurance sports challenging. Her last half marathon took 6 months of recovery. She believes in the power of movement and balance. Keeping busy is her nature, but she also understands the importance of rest.
A Bright Future
Today, Lisa is on the Board of Directors for Firefly Trail, a rail-to-trail non-profit and is working towards becoming a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach. She wants to provide the same support system to her clients as she experienced when her biking friends followed her into the world of hiking and running.
In a world where obstacles and challenges often deter individuals from pursuing their passions, Lisa Baynes stands as a beacon of courage and leadership. Her inspiring cycling journey showcases the power of overcoming obstacles, showing up regardless of who is there. Through her journey, she encourages others to push their limits, find solace in nature, and give back to their communities. Lisa’s story reminds us that we can be the change we want to see in the world, one pedal stroke at a time.