I get asked a lot “Why project bike love?” and “What is it?” I generally give my one
minute elevator pitch and direct them to the website. It’s never the same elevator
pitch because at any minute I have a completely different answer to “why Project
A few months ago someone asked me what PBL was and I answered
something like “It’s a non-profit I started” and the response I got was an eye roll and
a “everyone seems to be starting a non-profit these days.” Although he seemed to be
annoyed at this, I took it as something great. As he eye-rolled at the idea of starting a
non-profit and how it seemed to be a trend, I was inspired by the trend. “Everyone
seems to be starting a non-profit these days!!” I say that wide-eyed and excited. I
love that so many people are trying to make a positive impact on the world that it’s
becoming an eye-rolling cliché. At the same time I also realized there had to be a
way to reach these eye-rolling haters and it wasn’t with my overly enthusiastic
personality and eternally optimistic thinking. I have so many reasons for starting
PBL and they are all different and evolving. Why it started and why it keeps going
are always different. Over the last year I’ve thought a lot about these reasons.
Reasons I told myself, reasons I told people I was comfortable around, reasons I told
people I was NOT comfortable around, reasons I told potential business partners,
and so on. I have a hard time defining PBL, is it a non-profit, is it a charity, or is it a
project? I have a hard time labeling it because it’s so much more than any of those
I want to share more deeply about PBL, where it came from, why, and what
really motivates and inspires me. I had to take a good hard look at what PBL is and
where it came from. It wasn’t going to grow on it’s own and I’ve generally been the
person that gives up something once the initial motivation fades away. Like who do I
think I am trying to impact the world? I gave up over half of everything I ever tried
when the going got tough. How in the world could I not only inspire others to join
the cause but keep myself in the cause? I haven’t figured out these answers by any
means but it does motivate me to keep going.
Over the last year I had done a lot of “soul searching”. Due to some abrupt
personal changes in my life, I was left feeling extremely purposeless. I knew I wasn’t,
but I was just feeling that way so intensely. I had friends and family try to help but of
course I’m an independent strong woman, so I’ll just do it all by myself, right? I’ll
figure it out on my own… from my dad’s house… crying every morning… working
out everyday by myself… binge watch breaking bad… and barely working. It’s
embarrassing to even admit that but it was the reality of my life at the time.
I chose that reality because the one I was living in before had to change and
this was all I had in front of me. I was completely stuck between not wanting to go
back and not wanting to be where I was. I cried a lot, usually in the morning when I
woke up to the reality that was my life. I hid it well, I did what I normally do, I put a
smile on my face and did what I could to be present in my life but I wasn’t. Not even
close. I was just walking around surviving. I tried to be grateful, I knew I had it good,
I was lucky to have a father that let me come back in an emergency that I created,
that I had food, a job, a bike, friends and family that loved me. Compared to a
majority of the world my life was amazing, but I couldn’t shut up my stupid head
and be grateful.
I’ve probably painted a horrible picture of myself, lying in the dark, with
Kleenex crying myself to sleep but this was far from the truth, there may have been
moments of that but the reality is I got up every day and I fought for my happiness
and for my ability to be less self-involved. I volunteered, I took care of my dad, I got
a coach, I focused on mountain biking, I trained for triathlon, I got an awesome job, I
was surviving and I was doing it well but I did it all with this pit in my stomach. I just
hoped it would go away if I just kept doing life.
I’m a solution-focused person; I don’t want to deal with the problem I just
want to deal with the solution to the problem. It was working, I was surviving, I was
moving on, and I was doing a damn good job of rebuilding my life. However I wanted
more than to survive. I wanted to create a life, a big, purposeful, intentional,
beautiful, exhausting, full life, but I only knew how to survive.
I could probably write a book on how I got from that point in my life to where
I am now but I’ll spare you the novel and give you the cliff notes.
- I had no power in any area of my life.
- I was the only person responsible for how I felt and how I acted.
- I was so focused on myself.
- I was disconnected from other people.
- The pressure I was putting on myself was someone else’s (everybody else’s) idea of what I should be doing.
- The “Fake it till you make it” approach wasn’t working.
What I had to do different…
- I had to give myself a break.
- I had to get how small I really was in this big world to realize how powerful I could really be.
- I had to let go.
- I had to let myself fail.
- I had to be ok with the fact that I couldn’t make everyone happy.
- I had to stop measuring my worth through other people’s eyes.
- I had to stop comparing myself to everyone else.
- I had to get how absolutely important my word was, not just to other people but also to myself.
- Most importantly I had to get that I had this one small, short, amazing life, and I needed to live every minute of it, not just survive.
So how did Project Bike Love come from that? It’s simple, I made a decision that the
most important thing I could do with my one life was leave the world better than I
found it. It may seem kind of cheesy but by changing my perception I really changed
my world. I fell in love with people in a way I never had, I felt connected in a way I
never had, I realized that we need people to make an impact, I realized I didn’t need
to worry so much about what everyone thought, I realized it didn’t matter if you
didn’t like me, I realized so much more than I can write in one blog.
I’ve learned first hand that believing in something so much that failing isn’t
an option changed who I was; It gave me self confidence I never had, it allowed me
to walk through self doubt and fear with courage, not that I would succeed but that
it was ok if I didn’t; it teaches me how to let go, how powerful a community is, that if
I don’t ask the answers always no, that my problem with you is me, and that we can
only empower others by lifting them up! In the most basic sense my perception
changed from I could get from the world into what I could give it.
I chose bikes because of the huge impact the sport has made on my life in so
many ways and I chose to empower women because that’s what I felt passionate
about, absolutely EVERYTHING else was created from the community I invited in my
world, my amazing partner Belen, the beneficiaries, our amazing partners Kara and
Jesse at Hello Possibilities, my best friends, my cycling buddies, my work, my family,
and awesome people I share PBL with everyday. Those people are “Why Project
Bike Love”, it’s about them, and Project Bike Love is for the community to create. I’m
just the one who will do any and all work necessary to make those visions become
reality. It isn’t about me, and that’s why I can stay committed, hold myself
accountable and keep my word because Project Bike Love is for everyone.
Over the last few months I’ve really taken this on as serious as I need to breathe. I
took “if” out of my vocabulary and everything became possible. This is happening
and I will fail and I will struggle but it won’t change the reality that this is