Rider Profile No. 2: Ashley Hiatt
We first met Ashley at a dinner and bikes event in Oak Cliff in May. Over the past few months I’ve gotten to know her on and off the bike. She is truly an extraordinary person who has a passion for making a difference in her community. Working a full time job, training for bike races 10 hours a week, and volunteering as a board member for Bike Friendly Oak Cliff is no small commitment. She’s a total badass whose wants to improve cycling in Dallas and get more people on bikes. Ashley was kind enough to take a break from her busy life and answer a few questions for us as the 2nd rider to be featured in our rider profile series. Be sure to read all the way down, especially if you are a women interested in racing.
Q. How old were you when you got your first bike and what kind of bike was it?
A. The first bike I started training on was a Specialized hybrid – an old commuter my parents gave me to get back and forth to classes at UT Austin. It was the only bike I had, so I started going to local training rides on a hybrid wearing old hand-me-down jerseys. I wasn’t exactly “styling”. But, hey, everyone’s got to start somewhere! Now I’ve got four wonderful bikes (road, cyclocross, track, commuter), and I’m looking to add at least 1-2 more to the herd. At least.
Q. How has cycling changed your life?
Q. What are the best things about racing competitively? The worst things about racing competitively?
A. Hands down, the community is the best thing. There’s a sense of camaraderie when you’re riding and racing with your fellow cyclists, across all of the disciplines. Everyone is incredibly supportive and almost always willing to help in anyway they can. You can show up to a race anywhere, and everyone immediately has this crazy love of bikes to bond over.
The community can also be one of the worst things about racing competitively. To someone who’s new to an area or just starting out and doesn’t know anyone, it can seem very insular and hard to break into.
But another great thing about racing bikes is the opportunity for personal development and fulfillment. There’s so many different types of racing and skills to learn and improve upon. You’ll never get bored and always have something to challenge yourself with!
You, me, and a panel of amazing local cyclists.
We want to bring more women into the fold. Our goal is to give women the information they need to get started and help them make new connections within the community.
The founders of October 3 Racing, Courtney Bach and Michelle Montoya, are two of the most encouraging and skilled racers in the Dallas peloton. They’ve made a point to empower other women in cycling and create a positive environment in the local race community. The forum is an attempt to further that mission.
A. Two things:
1) I think it’s important to get more people on bikes in general. Aside from being a great form of exercise, it’s a fantastic mode of transportation and a really unique way to explore a city. There’s a certain freedom in riding a bike. You get to slow down and see things you may not have noticed before. It really draws you in and makes you an active participant in the surrounding landscape.
Not to mention, it’s a great tool to socialize with friends over. Beer and taco ride, anyone?
2) In both recreational and competitive cycling, there’s a significant gender gap. Only 14% of registered USA Cycling license holders are female. Granted, not every woman who races has a license, but studies on recreational cycling offer figures of only 25-28% of bike trips being made by women. Women are half of the national population!
If we push for better (safer) cycling infrastructure and create an atmosphere in recreational and competitive cycling that’s friendly and welcoming, I think we can very easily get those numbers up.
Q. Do you ride for exercise, for transportation, or both?
Q. Cycling is a dirty sport. You sweat a lot, ride in the mud and rain, and you have to wear a lot of spandex. How do you stay looking like a girl?
A. Let me start off by saying, be proud and wear that dirt and sweat like a badge of honor! It’s a physical testament to your hard work.
Unfortunately, I still hear a lot of people making assumptions about female athletes based on their appearance. As a community, we should be fostering confidence and promoting healthy body image without taking aesthetics into consideration.
My take on it is this – do what makes you feel good.
Personally, I always put on a little mascara and some stud earrings. Some of the women I’ve raced with in the past wore lipstick – their own form of “war paint”! If I know I’ll be hanging out after a race or ride, I bring a hairbrush, deodorant, and a change of clothes. I’ve got a few friends who swear by wet wipes. The little things go a long way.