It was very rewarding for me to meet Janae Noble the head of Noble Pursuit celebratory bike rides just for women and the host of the upcoming sold out "Beach Babe Bicycling Classic" here in Long Beach on July 15, as well as the "Princess Promenade Bike Festival" in Sacramento on Oct. 14, 2012 and the "Senorita Century" in San Diego March 3, 2013. Janae and I first met a couple of years ago over the phone as she was preparing to host her first "Beach Babe Bicycling Classic" in Long Beach and it was such a fun meeting of the minds, of speaking to someone who knows your language. We clicked over our feelings on how to successfully market the concept of bicycling to a broader female audience and I have enjoyed watching how beautifully Janae's rides have unfolded.
We finally had the chance to meet in person last December during the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade, and I am very appreciative to say she was one of our very early Women On Bikes SoCal supporters. I am thrilled at the success this dynamic and talented woman is experiencing with her three rides, and cheer her on to new heights with exciting new rides on the horizon.
MAB: You have created three amazingly successful themed bike-rides for women in three different areas of California: Sacramento, Long Beach and now San Diego. Share with us your vision of why
it was so important to create rides just for women. What does this help accomplish that other rides simply don't?
JN: I thought it was important to reach out to women in a nonthreatening, noncompetitive way because of the market I wanted to reach. I wanted to reach the on-the-couch exerciser - and also I like to call her the woman who "was never picked at recess," so to speak, who got sidelined from sports - and create an atmosphere where sh felt comfortable, where she wouldn't be intimidated, where it wouldn't be a race, where you could bring your girlfriends and have some fun and relax.
MAB: Your Beach Babe Bicycling Classic in Long Beach is sold out! Congratulations! At the time that you came up with the idea to bring a ride back to your home town you were living in Sacramento and doing quite well as fitness expert and running your Princess Promenade Bicycle Festival at Discovery Park. Did you have an "aha" moment when you realized it was time to create a ride for Long Beach?
JN: Actually, I felt like Sacramento was a test market for a larger city like Long Beach and once we saw the success in Sacramento, we knew it was time to carve out the recreational cycling market for women in Southern California. Now we have been asked to put up ten more women's rides across the country with our charity partner HealthCorps, founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz.
But back to Long Beach, I do remember quite vividly as a young woman trying to negotiate my way from North Long Beach to the beach on a bike. It was very difficult. Now that Long Beach is on track to become the most bike-friendly urban city, it is my pleasure to help the city reach its goal. Our events are like a kick-start to get women riding again or for the first time.
MAB: You have been a passionate life-long fitness focused person. How did this happen? Did you know in college you wanted to dedicate your life to helping others be fit, or was there a slower realization of how important this was to you?
While in the corporate world, our team worked hard and played hard, and playing hard included training for the Ironman distance triathlons. After completing my first Ironman in Canada, I crossed the finish line thinking "that wasn't so hard at all." The "aha" moment hit me then, that I could train other women to go at least as far as I had been able to bring myself. I left the corporate world soon thereafter and started my first fitness company in 1996.
MAB: You went to Jordan High School here in Long Beach and through your partner non-profit Health Corps Jordan will benefit from your Beach Babe ride - can you share with us some of those details? What ideally would you like to help make happen?
JN: Yes, I went to Jordan and we do have our sites on helping Jordan raise the funds to have the HealthCorps wellness program on campus. However, Jordan is still working on getting the program approved with LB Unified School District. In the meantime, our friends from the California Endowment granted HealthCorps with funds to start a program this year at Cabrillo High School in Long Beach, along with a few other schools in California.
It is taking much longer than I had hoped because our community is still learning about HeathCorps' program and certainly fundraising requests are everywhere you turn. Ideally, I would like to shorten the learning curve and fund Jordan this year, but the awareness and desire has to be there first. Sadly, teaching kids to prevent childhood obesity, prevent diabetes, prevent heart disease, or prevent cancer is not as emotional as fundraising for a medical "cure." But we believe the bike is part of the lifestyle "cure" so we feel we have a great solution.
MAB: What's the most important message you want a woman who participates in one of your rides to ride away with from the event. They are fun, certainly, but what for you is at the heart of the matter?
JN: The main message is a call for action through what I call "sustainable exercise." You don't have to go out and do a marathon, a triathlon or climb a tall mountain. All you need to do is take your bike instead of your car for those short trips around town, ditch the processed, engineered foods and eat food that doesn't come in packages, and realize that these small changes add up to big results in your fitness, your health, your city streets, and our world together.