TaNisha Browne (1975) Atlanta, GA USA
How it all began:
My husband and I owned very low end childhood-like bicycles which we rode around the neighborhood just for the sake of being outdoors. He was introduced to cycling as a sport first. Months of being left alone on Saturday mornings while he met up with his new cycling friends had prompted me to ask him “can you take me to a store to buy a bike with skinny tires too?”
In 2009, we bought my first road bike. It was truly a beginners bike in every sense; ill fitted and extremely heavy. But make no mistake about it, I fell in love instantaneously. My first ride was only 11 miles and it felt good. So good, I felt like going further. And so I did.
Within two months, I was purchasing an upgraded red and white bike, whom became named Peppermint Patty. In 2010, I began wandering about the metro Atlanta area in search of any and all group rides. I was riding with total strangers at what my non-cycling friends deemed odd hours and too far. They called me “crazy”. “Certifiably crazy”, to be exact. But again, I was in love and love makes you do crazy things.
My style of competitive riding was an indication of an upcoming graduation. My need for speed encouraged the purchase of advancement. June 20, 2013 was an unforgettable day. I had graduated to a white, blue and black carbon road bike with electronic shifting and carbon wheels, named Sailor. Time to rock the waves. I was ready to sail for sure.
Where it left me:
I was riding the strongest I had ever imagined possible. I was traveling wherever with whomever to “ride with the animals”. To my utter disbelief, I was participating in road races and crits. I had grown totally fearless of obstacles. I was in need of something more. More adventurous, more challenging. In September 2014, I stumbled upon Haute Route and felt my blood rush from head to toe. Without hesitation, I registered for the Alps and gradually ramped up my training. Ride my bike from Nice to Geneva in 7 days? I could not believe it. In just a matter of months, I was going to conquer the Swiss Alps. What an accomplishment.
I planned, prepped and prayed but fate would not allow me to be great. On January 25, 2015, I had a terrible crash that not only knocked me unconscious, wrecked my face and left knee, but it crushed my desire to ride a bicycle. Hearing grown men/fellow cyclists tell me how afraid they were for me because they thought I was not going to open my eyes, seeing the looks on the faces of my family as they gazed at my bandaged face was too much to bear. I was no longer obsessed or captivated by cycling. Weeks after being given the green light to ride again, I still did not have an ounce of interest in it. After getting over the fear of nearly losing me, my family was honestly thrilled to see me doing absolutely nothing.
Prior to my accident, the longest I had gone without riding a bike might have been a week and that was only due to being on vacation. Even then, I found a bicycle to borrow, if only for a simple joy ride. Forty seven days had passed and still no cycling. Sailor waited patiently for me. Then it happened. Boredom pinched me and a bit of jealousy slapped me and I was back at it like I had never quit.
Months later, fate tempted to alter my dedication to the sport once again. I was out on a leisure ride with my husband, unusually overdressed. I took my vest off and did not realize that it was not fully tucked into my back pocket. It slid out, got wrapped in my wheels and caused my derailleur to hit and crack my frame. I was devastated. Sailor was laid to rest and on July1, 2015, Ethel was born.
I undeniably adore everything about cycling – the fierce competition, the endless quest for the next great purchase to increase speed, the newfound friendships made on the roads, the health benefits, the agony and torture…everything.
My current expectations:
I just want to ride my bike. It’s a must. Because it just feels.