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Member Profile: Kellie Morris

Joining the League is a way to share the love of bicycling. League member Kellie Morris was profiled in our September-October 2013 American Bicyclist magazine, a member benefit, by Melissa Balmer, founder of Women on Bikes SoCal.

In June 2012, Kellie Morris created a dream board with a group of friends from church and hung the inspirational reminder above her desk at home. But after the adhesive slipped, the board fell hidden behind the furniture for months, as Kellie stayed busy launching an entrepreneurial venture and the daily duties of being a mom and grandmother. Before long, she’d forgotten entirely what was on the board.

This June she made an amazing discovery: Though dust had gathered on the board, one of her dreams had come true. When she created the board, one of her aspirations had been to start a career that had something to do with bicycling. She had no idea how that might happen; she just knew she loved riding her bike. 

Last summer, Kellie’s husband encouraged her to reach out to Women on Bikes SoCal, the organization I run in their hometown of Long Beach, Calif. She was preparing for a crosscountry bike tour and sent me an e-mail wondering if I’d be interested in the story of her ride. I was intrigued; especially when I found out that, in 2010, Kellie was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease — Mixed Connective Tissue disease — that left her so weak she could barely dress herself. Through medication, dietary changes and exercise she was able to recover much of her strength.

Replacing her LeMond with a recumbent trike, as her hands were  too weak to bear her weight, she was able to resume the long rides she loved so much. Now she goes everywhere on her trike, from running errands to attending church — and inspires others they can do the same. 

While her cross-country ride was cut short by a spider bite, Kellie came back to Long Beach eager to put her personal and professional talents toward volunteering for Women on Bikes SoCal, including becoming a regular blogger for us with her “We All Ride Bikes” column. When an opportunity came up for our organization to sponsor another woman to become a League Cycling Instructor (LCI), Kellie was the obvious choice. Lucky for all of us, she was ready to jump right in.

Kellie’s background as an IT Systems Analyst and trainer, who was invited to travel the world to teach, meant she was well-prepared to step into teaching bike education — and even helped Charlie Gandy and Krista Leaders hone the short, hands-on, “Street Savvy” bike education program developed for Bike Long Beach.

Now this grandmother teaches “Street Savvy” for Women on Bikes SoCal, as well as free “Traffic 101” classes hosted by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition throughout the L.A. region, including Watts. “I’m impressed with Kellie’s can-do spirit and enthusiasm as an instructor,” says Colin Bogart, LACBC’s Education Director. “Coupled with her background and experience, I think she’s a major asset to the LCI community.” We feel the same about her at Women on Bikes SoCal and are excited she’ll play an active role as we launch our new project in September: “Women on Bikes California.” 

Learn more about the Street Savvy program — based on the League’s eight “need to know” bike education concepts — at www.womenonbikessocal.org/about-streetsavvy- classes. Melissa Balmer is the founder of Women on Bike SoCal and on the Advisory Board for the League’s Women Bike program.

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