Nurse by day, and tenacious bike advocate by night! Get to know May’s bike raffle winner, Denise Showalter Martin, a little bit better in this Q&A.
Can you give me a quick background about yourself?
I work in the RMH Critical Care and Cardiothoracic Care units. I’m a member of the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition [SVBC], Rockingham County BAC, and also do some advocacy work. I primarily road ride and I like to go on longer trips.
When did you find out you won the raffle?
On Facebook. I was scrolling down and saw it. I made my son come look at it to make sure, I said ‘That is my name, right?’ And it was!
When did you first start biking?
When I was a kid; I had a used yellow banana seat. I really like it and began [biking] more. I can remember the excitement of getting a 10-speed. Then one summer I worked and bought a mountain bike, because they were the big thing back then. I just kept biking further and further on my rides!
How and Why did you get involved with bicycle advocacy?
I started in advocacy when I had an accident on Route 11. I slid on the train tracks and ended up having to get stitches. When I talked other people around town about it there were so many others who had been injured in the same spot. I just thought ‘why should this keep happening?’ I talked to the city planners about it, and ended up having to clear things with the railroad company. I called over there so often that one day I got a call from the head engineer who said, ‘What will it take for you to stop calling?’ I simply said ‘fix it.’
What excites you most about the Northend Greenway?
The best thing about the Greenway is that it gives people who want to ride their bikes but don’t feel safe a place to go. A lot of people are afraid of traffic, and don’t want to be on the roads. Greenways are the best spot for people to give riding a try. You have to
start somewhere and the Greenway can give you that introduction.
What are your plans for your brand new bike?
The feel when I got on it was wonderful. I almost immediately knew that it was the one. It was very responsive and comfortable and an absolute joy to ride. I’m eager to see if there’s an effect on what I can do [when I ride]. I know a bike’s not everything when riding, but I’m curious if there will be a difference. I’m definitely going to challenge myself with some mountains. I’ve got to keep pushing!
How do you recommend people get involved with biking, or organizations like NeG in the ‘burg?
You’ve just got to bring it back to cycling. Remember that thing you did as a kid? That feeling you loved when you’d ride your bike? Everyone should try and remember those childhood memories and get back into it!
Congratulations once again, Denise! We hope you enjoy your new wheels.