By Linh Ta
When people first see our fun-loving, pink posse team, they may be intimidated and think we’re professional, speed-demon racers.
Others may assume we’re a social riding team that just likes partying and having fun.
The truth? We are all those things — and more.
That’s why the 2022 slogan for the team is #iamvelorosa — an all-encompassing phrase that captures what truly makes the group special, which is each and every one of us.
“We do have some of the top female cycling athletes in the country on our team,” said Kim Hopkins, one of the founders of the Velorosa Cycling Team “But then, on the other side, we also know how to have fun and are building a community of cycling events that are very inclusive.”
To get a better sense of the inclusive nature of Velorosa — it helps to learn how the team first started.
It all first started thanks to some spin classes taught by Dave Mable at the YMCA. Hopkins, Karolyn Zeller, and Dalena Elliot were given pink jerseys by Mable.
They started out by signing up for a small race in Waterworks Park. And they’d ride in groups and do small clinics and learn how to race. More people wanted to join, like Kristin Reese. And more jerseys were made. Then pretty soon in 2009 the small group of women grew into a large group of cyclists, and formal memberships were offered. And by 2017 the team incorporated as a non-profit.
But the idea of being inclusive was always there, even in the beginning. Many of the women were all young moms at the time and having racing requirements wouldn’t work for them. Through Velorosa they were able to be a part of a team and join in competitions without feeling the burden of training a certain amount of time or miles or cycling at a fast speed.
Pictured from left to right: Kristin Rinderknecht, Joanne Schmidt, Kim Hopkins, Dee Mable, Dalena Elliott, Kristin Reese
“Women are busy,” Hopkins said. “We want cycling to be an escape or a refuge from your stressful life.”
Now 15 years later, as some cycling teams have come and gone, Velorosa is still as strong as ever with the goal of helping empower and provide resources to women who want to go out and ride their bikes in whatever way they feel most comfortable.
So, the next time you’re out biking, make sure to let everybody know you’re loud and proud by using the #iamvelorosa hashtag for those selfies on your rides and when you’re out having fun.
Pictured from left to right: Joanne Schmidt, Amy Lynch, Beth Montpas, Maria Ruhtenberg, Kim Hopkins