SHE’S NOT YOUR AVERAGE OLYMPIAN: EVELYN STEVENS’ AMAZING RIDE | Evelyn Stevens

When did you start biking?

In February of 2008, I went to Sid’s Bikes and bought my first road bike. They were nice and helpful. I wheeled it back to my apartment. Then it sat in the corner for a while.

Were you too busy to ride?

Actually, I was intimidated to ride on the streets. Eventually, I started walking my bike to the Hudson River Greenway, and then I finally got comfortable there, and I started going to Central Park. After that, I figured out how to ride over the George Washington Bridge, and I signed up for a women’s racing clinic put on by the Century Road Club Association.

So that’s how you went from a career in finance to the Olympics and pro cycling?

There was a lot more to it, but that was the start. I like to tell people that the biggest difference between banking and biking is that I would never have road rash if I stayed in finance.

Now that you’re a professional, travelling the world training and competing, do you make it back to New York City often?

October is our month off. I spend it in the city, visiting friends, doing a few fundraisers, and enjoying time away from my 80 racing days and all the training. This spring, I’m trying to figure out a way back to New York for the launch of Citi Bike. That’s going to be so great.

What’s your favorite place to bike in New York City?

It’s definitely Central Park. At 8pm on a weekday, it’s not as hectic, but there are still lots of people out riding. It’s beautiful and stimulating, and I’ve never been much of a morning person.

How about outside of the City?

I love to go over the George Washington Bridge to Nyack, and if you come back through Piermont this particular way, you can go off-roading. It’s a little dirt-path adventure in the shadow of New York. You know, riding a bike really opens up the city. You meet new people, you see new things, and there’s all this fun that’s more accessible.

What was it like to ride in the Olympics?

The Olympics are still something I’m getting my head around. In 2008, I was working at a desk watching the Olympics on TV, so to go and represent my country four years later was totally surreal. To be surrounded by the world’s best. The Olympics are more than just competition: They’re a celebration of sport. It was one of the most special things I’ve ever experienced. That’s one of the reasons I want to go back and win in 2016.

Do you have any tips for new cyclists?

Always wear a helmet, act like a car, follow the rules of the road, and don’t ride with headphones. New York City is a place we share, so we have to be aware and mindful.

On May 29thEvelyn Stevens and the Specialized – lululemon team joined more than 70 female riders and New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan to celebrate the launch of the Citi Bike Share Program. The group of women rode through Central Park before finishing the day in Chelsea for an after-party.

Photo by lululemon