Karen Bucholz has come full cycle from her days as a uni student commuting by bike to save money, to becoming a public health educator advocating the benefits of bike riding.
As a former elite Rugby Union footballer, Karen also used cycling for cross training and some weekend adventuring during her training days.
It was only when her injuries caught up with her and she could no longer compete in Rugby or, her other passion, Track and Field, she got a bit serious about cycling buying her first proper road bike in 2007.
She found a great mentor and coach in Blair Stockwell and went on to compete Internationally at master’s level.
However, the legacy of her injuries started to take the enjoyment out of competition and Karen wanted to find a way to be involved in helping people find the joy and benefits in bike riding as she had done.
After qualifying as a coach and taking inspiration from the people who had mentored her in cycling, she decided to start up entry level programs. In particular, she became passionate about inspiring women to get on their bikes, as they will often feel more of the barriers to it than males.
She developed a 4-week learn to ride program, which covers beginner skills, basic bike mechanics and puts the fun back into being on the bike. Generally, Karen will conduct the first session 1:1 to determine the skill level of the participant and ensure the session is flexible to meet their needs. Other programs include group safety and commuting see here.
Seeing people develop a love for riding their bikes is a great motivator for Karen and so, in 2019, a woman who had never been on a bike before turned up to a session it was a big challenge. The first session was a lot about getting right back to basics, but also identifying that the right equipment is important in ensuring riding is enjoyable.
The woman had come on a borrowed bike which was too big for her, so through Karen’s guidance, she went on to purchase a bike suitable for her needs and was able to complete the program.
This type of progress gives Karen as much joy as seeing people who go on to join clubs and take their cycling to the next level.
This entry point allows people to see the breadth of experiences available in cycling. Along with community, Karen is an avid mountain biker taking her adventures off road (albeit at a slower pace than she used to do!). From events to rail trails, Karen’s lived experiences help her to mentor people to find their own joy in their cycling journey.
Karen’s journey has taken her from commuting to save money, to sharing a love of bike riding!
More about Karen's programs here