Name: Shyra Holden-Allen
Lives in: Columbus, East Side
Works in: Downtown Columbus
“The ride hooked me!”
In 2014, Shyra rode Bike the Cbus with her husband. They pedaled throughout the city, eventually jumping off the route a little early because the weather was scorching. As they walked their bikes to their cars, a man – then Yay Bikes! Board President Ray George - ran after them. He wanted to know whether they enjoyed the ride and if they had any feedback. “I thought it was so cool he considered our feelings,” Shyra said.
Not knowing the organization behind Bike the Cbus, Shyra scoped out her swag bag finding a brochure for Yay Bikes! After that ride, Shyra was enamored with both bicycling and Yay Bikes! Though she was a little worried about being accepted, she decided to check out a Year of Yay! ride.
“I remember thinking, I’m just jumping into this and I’m not an athlete. I was worried that I wasn’t the rider I felt I needed to be to ride the roads.” Shyra said. “But, the ride hooked me. It was so exhilarating!”
“After that first ride, I couldn’t wait for the next one.”
Soon after her first Year of Yay! experience, Shyra became a regular at the monthly rides. She loved exploring the city by bike and the different approach ride leaders take to highlight different areas and businesses around Columbus. “It’s exciting to see what they come up with!” Shyra said.
Year of Yay! leaders are hand selected individuals whose passion and enthusiasm for riding has caught the eye of Yay Bikes! leadership. From their own imagination, they create the themes, routes and stops on our monthly bike rides. A few months after her first Year of Yay!, Shyra was invited to lead a ride of her own.
While she was nervous, she was inspired by the confidence Yay Bikes! leadership had in her. “I became a cheerleader! I just kept getting called back to support Yay Bikes!” Shyra said.
“I was starting to feel like superwoman.”
Quickly, Shyra became immersed in; not only the Yay Bikes! community, but also Columbus biking community. As she learned more, her confidence skyrocketed and she felt inspired to begin commuting to-and-from work by bike. For three weeks she rode the 7+ miles from her home on Columbus’ East Side to Downtown. “I was starting to feel like superwoman,” Shyra said.
Then one-day bad weather struck. It was raining, pouring actually, as Shyra rode home at dusk. Untethered, Shyra was committed to get all the way home on her bike. But her concerned husband showed up in the car halfway through her commute home and pleaded her to load up her bike and take the ride home.
This sentiment was shared by her concerned father who Shyra later recalled the incident to. She and her father are close and he is very supportive of Shyra’s passion for biking. In fact, her father was the one to teach Shyra to ride a bike. One of seven children in her family, Shyra was the last to learn to ride a bike. She was eight-years-old and already her younger brother was pedaling up and down the streets of their neighborhood. “I remember my dad being behind me and I told him to let go. After getting the courage to look back, I realized he had let go about three blocks prior.”
Despite his desire to see Shyra happy doing this thing she loves, her father begged Shyra to only commute by bike in the daylight and when the weather is good. Very reluctantly, Shyra made the commitment to PAUSE her solo winter commuting. “But I miss feeling like Superwoman.” Shyra looks forward to the return of longer daylight hours when she will start commuting to work by bike again, and is determined to figure out how to address her husband and father's fear about her safety before next winter.
“What I really want is to see more bikes on the street!”
Shyra talks to friends, family, neighbors and even strangers about the about the rules of the road and ease of getting place to place on a bike. She invites new people to ride with Yay Bikes! regularly, going as far to travel door-to-door through her neighborhood to do so. On another occasion, she struck up conversation with strangers out to lunch. “My husband and I were at Easton and I saw some people with bikes sitting on a patio at a restaurant so I marched right up to tell them about Year of Yay!” she said. “My husband said I was scaring people!”
“What I really want is to see more bikes on the street!” Shyra said. While she eagerly awaits the end of daylight savings time and the return to her regular bike commute, Shyra will continue to share her passion and knowledge with everyone she comes across as she pedals throughout Columbus.