I Bike Kansas City

Meet local folks who enjoy traveling on two wheels

Mari Ruck, 56
Commissioner of revenue

Mari-Ruck-Why-I-RideMari has never stopped riding a bike since the time she first learned, though the frequency has ebbed and flowed. While a student at Oregon State University, Mari used her bike in place of a car. Whether it was piling on friends and riding to the movies, or running an errand to the grocery store, it was a lifestyle she enjoyed. Her bike was her hobby, entertainment and transportation.

She continues to ride as an adult because it clears her mind, and she experiences things you wouldn’t when behind the wheel of a car. Today, Mari rides many places, including to work and the farmers market.

While she has tried a mountain bike and a folding bike, her trusted steed is a 1986 touring bike with a rear rack and panniers.

Her words of advice: “Do not wear underwear with bike shorts, and invest in a comfortable saddle!”

Jeriea Mitchell, 38
Senior administrative assistant and BikeLife Kansas City’s cover model

Jeriea-Mitchell-Why-I-RideJeriea started riding three years ago because she was looking for something different from her normal workout and running routine. One day while on the bus she noticed people bicycling and thought, “I can do that.”

She signed up to bike in Kansas City’s Corporate Challenge. She enjoyed the experience and decided to try riding her bike to work. After that, she was hooked.

Jeriea finds cycling fun and exciting. “You always see something different, and it is great exercise,” she says. Jeriea’s average ride is 15 to 20 miles. She loves to ride to work and around neighborhoods in the KC metro.

Her words of advice: “Start with a used bike and make sure it is something you enjoy before investing in a new bike. Start out on a local trail and don’t be afraid to try new routes.”

Kevin Evans, 45
Parks maintenance supervisor

Kevin-Evans-Why-I-RideTen years ago, Kevin struggled with his cholesterol, weight and high blood pressure. Medication helped, but he needed to start exercising. In 2010, Kevin decided to try cycling.

He recalls the first time he rode, he barely made one mile. But by the second week, he was riding 10 miles. The longer he rode, the better he felt. His stamina improved, and he had more energy and slept better. Because he felt better, he started eating better.

His blood pressure and cholesterol are now in a healthy range, thanks to medication, exercise and a healthy diet. “Cycling has improved my bowling game by 10 pins on average because I have better balance,” Kevin shared. He’s also started playing basketball.

He rides twice a week in the spring and summer, averaging 10–20 miles per ride. Kevin’s favorite places to ride are Indian Creek and Little Blue Trace trails.

His words of advice: “Don’t be afraid to go into a local bike shop. Talk with the people who work there. They are there to help you make the best purchase for you at the right price for you. They also teach you basic riding skills and how to fix a flat tire.”

Jennings Family, Lee’s Summit, Mo.

Dave age 42, Kim age 42, Sterling age 16, Marianne age 14

Jennings-FamilyBicycling is one of many outdoor activities this fun-loving crew enjoys. When asked why they bike, responses include cheap transportation, good exercise, fitness and fun.

The Riverfront Heritage Trail along the Missouri River at Berkeley Park is one of many area trails they enjoy.  If you are thinking of getting on a bike, they advise to start in your neighborhood and try local trails. If you are young, the “sidewalks are a great place to start,” Sterling offered. All agreed that it’s good to start slow and to always wear a helmet when you ride—kids and adults. “You are never too old to take on a new adventure,” Kim added.

Also of note, Dave is a police officer with the City of Leawood, Kan., and for more than seven years he served on the bike patrol unit. He loved the opportunity to be on his bike daily and conduct youth bike rodeos and helmet fittings.