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Member Profile: Jennifer Laurita
Joining the League is a way to share the love of bicycling. As a longtime member, League Cycling Instructor and an LCI coach, Laurita exemplifies that desire to share the joy and freedom of bicycling, traveling all over the country to teach bike education.
Hamzat Sani, a former League staff member, interviewed Laurita about her passion for bicycling in 2013.
Why is bicycling important to you?
For almost every possible reason: It keeps me healthy, it’s good for the environment, it gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment and pride, and it has brought me exclusively good things in life. Cycling has created friendships I’d never otherwise have developed. It has given me a fun and meaningful way to participate and raise money and help people. It allows me to inspire people and more importantly, to BE inspired.
What’s your favorite part about being an LCI /coach?
I absolutely love to empower cyclists with knowledge. Using objective data that removes fears and assumptions, I find I can really genuinely affect positive change in people’s behaviors and attitudes toward cycling. And when my former students and the LCIs I’ve trained contact me and let me know their successes, I’m incredibly joyful that this is my job and that I have even a small impact on their lives. I’m humbled by it and deeply grateful for the opportunities.
What’s your favorite place to bike?
I love to ride to a destination. Some of my favorites have been RAGBRAI [seven-day ride across Iowa], Seattle to Portland, and, most recently, 220 miles of the California coast in three days for the Young Survivors Coalition’s Tour de Pink. But If I had to pick just one destination, I love to ride to my mother’s house. It’s about 10 miles one-way, with one really great long climb and beautiful houses along the way. I enjoy the work out getting there, and seeing my amazing mom, but then I know I will break land speed records on the net-downhill ride home.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
I just finished my first book, tentatively titled The Anatomy of Cycling, and I’m so excited for its release in the U.S. and Europe. I’m also developing a program, generously aided by Xtracycle, to teach people how to use bicycles in times of disaster. I live outside of New York City, an area hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, and, having experienced the gas shortages and frustration, I’d love to lend my expertise and teach folks that bicycles can do a heck of a lot more than just get you to the library!
What’s your bike’s name?
My bike’s name is Bodhi, which means the understanding possessed by a Buddha regarding the nature of things. When I remember the meaning of the name it helps me connect with my purpose in life, to help people. In fact, on my top tube of my beautiful custom Sweetpea I’ve got written, “May all beings be free.” we should all have that feeling, especially on our bikes.
What’s the most fun you ever had in the saddle?
The time I beat Marla Streb, a world champion mountain biker, in a sprint. Granted, it was while I was training her to become an LCI — and she didn’t know we were sprinting — but I’ll still take the win!