“Friendship is the single most important factor influencing our health, well-being, and happiness.” according to Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at Oxford University. No one has to tell that to the members of Ladies on Spokes, a local not-for-profit Christian women’s cycling group. The Ladies on Spokes women stay healthy and happy while they pedal the smooth roads of Fayette and Coweta counties.
Founded in 2008 by Tyrone resident Barbara Aldred and a group of her friends, Ladies on Spokes exists to “enrich lives of women by uniting them together to support one another with love and acceptance, encouraging each other to become physically fit, sharing the love of Christ with all those around them, and meeting needs of others whenever possible.” As founder Barbara says, “LOS is simply a gift from God. I prayed for a few ladies to ride with; He gave us many!”
The members of LOS are a diverse group of women riders. The youngest are young moms and career women in their 30s and 40s, the oldest are moms of teens or empty nesters. Some are still in the workforce and ride when they can, others have retired from the working world and ride between community service volunteer duties and vacations to see grandchildren and the world at large. LOS proudly boasts a regular rider who is 77 years old.
“There are older women than me in the club who are better athletes than me and this inspires me to be more active so I can be more like them,” says Penny Beatty of Fayette county. “And these are women with a strong faith in God, which inspires me even more!”
Local cycling takes up a big part of the Ladies on Spokes calendar, but many of the ladies also enjoy participating in organized long distance rides, often taking them to other parts of Georgia, or even out of state. This past year several of the riders participated in the C2C ride from one coast of Florida to the other, a three-day ride. An overnight ride along the Silver Comet Trail is also a group favorite.
While cycling is the main activity of LOS, many of the ladies also enjoy walking, hiking, kayaking, and whitewater rafting together. During the winter months when it’s too chilly for cycling, a group of women will walk laps around the lake near the library in Peachtree City, in an outing called “Walk, Talk and Shiver.”
When asked why she participates with Ladies on Spokes, Della Riemersma of Fayetteville said, “Becoming a part of this club has been a life changing blessing: the friendships, caring people, all accepting, encouraging, fun, and love the biking, but also the hiking, kayaking, and the bonds of friendship that have developed within the group.”
The ladies of Ladies on Spokes realize how fortunate they are to enjoy many blessings, including their good health and the precious friendships of the group. They believe in sharing their good fortune. At the end of each year, the group chooses local charities to bless with donations. Last year, Backpack Buddies of Coweta County, the Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center and the Fayette Care Clinic were all beneficiaries of the ladies’ generosity.
Terri Sarine, a former member of LOS, when she lived in Fayetteville, loves to share how important her Ladies on Spokes friendships have been to her in the past, and still are now, even though she currently lives in Indiana.
“I joined LOS when I was at a low point, and these women became my dear dear friends,” Terri says. “They were my mentors. And let me tell you, they are still my friends. I can still call upon them anytime and they are there for me in a heartbeat. LOS friends are eternal.”
The Ladies on Spokes are preparing to welcome new members on April 14 with their annual “Spring Spinoff.” Potential members are invited to learn more about the club and to participate in either a 9-mile, 22-mile or 30-mile ride. The spinoff starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Seavy Street Park in Senoia. The park is located at 418 Seavy Street. For more information about Ladies on Spokes please visit the group’s website.