Kecia McCullough, a lifelong Rochesterian, is passionate about bringing people together. Kecia did just that in 2016 when she created the Rochester chapter of Black Girls Do Bike. The local group is part of a national initiative to create a comfortable space for new and seasoned female cyclists. Members of Black Girls Do Bike organize rides and support each other as they pursue their passion for cycling.
Kecia brings people together in other ways, too. She’s created other local support groups, such as a Facebook group, Women Lifting Women, which is exclusively for women. At her day job, she serves as a Mobile Crisis Mental Health Intervention Specialist in Orleans County and a Recovery Care Manager in Monroe County. Kecia, a mother of three adult children, holds a master’s degree in social work.
How did you get started with Black Girls Do Bike?
I often found myself riding alone after purchasing ‘Lady Pearl’ (a lady’s Trek 7.4 bike) in 2014 as a 50th birthday gift to myself. I hardly saw women who looked like me (women of color) riding bikes. I wanted to rediscover a childhood activity with other like-minded ladies. I searched online for a woman’s cycling group and stumbled across a Black Girls Do Bike Facebook post. I reached out to the founder of the national organization, who helped me set up a chapter in Rochester.
What do you want people to know about Black Girls Do Bike?
Black Girls Do Bike (BGDB) is a friendly, non-intimidating, relaxed cycling space for women. We embrace and welcome all shades on BGDB rides, but especially black women and girls. Women of color are hungry for images that reflect them. We seek to share positive images of ladies and their bikes to affirm the truth that black girls DO indeed bike!
We also join with and support the many other bicycling events and activities in Rochester. In May 2017, we expanded our horizons and traveled as a group to New York City to meet our sisters from other chapters and enjoyed the 40-mile Five Boro Bike Tour!
Where are your favorite places to go cycling?
I’m always looking for a reason to eat ice cream! Some of my favorite places to ride definitely include a stop at any of the local ice cream parlors. We make these stops guilt free because we’re burning the extra calories with muscle power!
I like riding to my granddaughter’s house, where I model the joy of cycling to a six year old as we ride around her neighborhood.
I frequently ride around downtown Rochester, especially the area around High Falls and the Genesee Riverway Trail, which are both very beautiful areas to visit on night rides. Other favorites include trails around Seneca Park and the Erie Canal.
Since taking the League Cycling Instruction safety training earlier this year, I have grown more comfortable cycling in and around the city streets of Rochester. I’ve enjoyed the chance to help other women understand how to safely share our roads with cars and pedestrians.
You must bike – a lot. Do you do anything else to stay active?
I stay active by doing the things I enjoy. I love being outdoors during the summer. This summer, I experienced my first (although, not my last) weekend-long bike camping trip in Canada. I had a fantastic time, riding almost 60 miles and exploring a variety of trails and landmarks.
I coordinate monthly hiking trips exclusively for women and I enjoy recreational swimming. I learned to swim when I was 46 years old! During the winter, I typically stay active by taking aqua spinning classes, indoor spinning classes at Exercise Express, dancing and some winter hiking. I wholeheartedly believe self-care is an extension of self-love, which is why engaging in and having fun with physical activities that I like is a top priority for me and a way of life.
Any healthy eating tips?
At 53 years old, I’m fortunate that my primary care physician is quite pleased with my health!
Being an empty nester, I barely turn on the stove, although I do make oatmeal and eggs! I keep meals simple and easy, yet healthy and wholesome. I eat several, small meals throughout the day. I regularly eat a diet high in protein and fiber and low in carbs and sugar. I never, ever skip breakfast. I keep my breakfast light, although filling. Most days, you’ll find me eating two boiled eggs, one small banana with natural peanut butter (from Abundance Food Co-Op), Greek yogurt with granola, oatmeal and water.
I usually eat fresh fruits daily, including apples, grapes, strawberries and oranges. For dinner, I’ll indulge in a spinach salad packed with avocados, blueberries, walnuts, carrots, and mushrooms. I have a friend who is on a personal quest to transition my diet solely to vegetarian and he’s not hearing any complaints from me.
My drink of choice is water with lime, although I do drink a glass of red wine at least three times a week.
You seem very busy. How do you juggle it all?
My organizational skills are some of my strongest attributes! I tend to do pretty well balancing all of the varied hats that I wear.
I would consider myself ‘old school’ since I still keep a traditional paper calendar and write a weekly ‘to do’ list which helps to keep my life in order. I tend to listen to my body, especially when she says, “Kecia, you are tired and need rest.”
I’m a stickler for sleeping seven to eight hours a night, which keeps me focused and productive throughout my day. I set aside time to be alone and to be with my granddaughter and close family and friends. Most importantly, I’m very careful about not taking on too much. I am also not afraid to use the powerful two letter word, “no”.
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