'Less than fit' cycling club seeks new Edmonton recruits
'I don't want to spend the whole time huffing and puffing'
Twyla Lapointe is creating a spandex-free, "less-than-fit" cycling club targeted exclusively at Edmonton's couch potatoes.
"I want to enjoy my bike ride," Lapointe said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.
"I want to go and become fit but I don't want to spend the whole time huffing and puffing and feeling like I'm going to die."
Lapointe posted on Reddit last week, hoping to gauge interest among out-of-shape Edmontonians for a casual river valley bike-riding group.
She was overwhelmed with messages and will hit the streets with her new cycling crew later this month.
Lapointe said her idea for the club came out of a personal struggle with obesity. Overweight from a young age, she was diagnosed with an eating disorder as a teenager.
In recent years, Lapointe has been trying to find a form of exercise that she loves, but found most gyms and conventional exercise clubs intimidating.
Lapointe is passionate about cycling but said she felt she didn't fit in. She wanted to enjoy a leisurely ride, not sweat buckets climbing the city's steepest inclines.
"Most of the people that do these 'by the river' things, they want to go on the mountain-bike paths," she said. "Those are the people that I see cycling on a regular basis — people that seem really fit and have these really expensive bicycles.
"I just want to go for a bike ride by the river. I want it to be really casual.
"When you say it's a no-spandex, no-padding zone, that's actually something that I really wanted. It's not to say that I won't become that person one day, but I'm not that person today."
'Slow and steady wins the race'
Lapointe didn't let her trepidations stop her from riding the river valley on her own, but figured there were others out there with a fear of spandex and a lonely bicycle gathering dust.
She wants her club to be a safe space for people who may be reluctant to exercise in a group.
The routes will be selected so people of all fitness levels can participate, and there will be minimal rules.
"I feel like there is that slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kind of attitude for me, in terms of how to get fit," she said.
"For those of us that aren't fit, there's always that kind of desire for the big, magic pill that will fix everything.
"I haven't felt like that's the case for me. I want to develop a lifestyle."
The group will hold its first meet-ups on June 19 and June 24, but event details are still being worked out. Anyone interested in joining the ride can find out more online.
Lapointe is excited to hit the trails with her new friends from the internet.
"It is going to take a little bit of finagling to get everyone together," she said.
"Let's make this easy enough that we actually can dust off the bike, get out of the house and go."