Hello, my name is Gina Utegg. I am a proud new member of TEAM BACCHETTA.
My story is that of challenge, disability, cancer survivorship, and moving on in a positive way. My Bacchetta Corsa S/S is an important part of my journey and my recovery.
Not Your Average B
I am not the typical TEAM B cyclist. Cycling makes me happy, healthy, and allows me to defy the odds by showing people around the United States of America that a disabled, cancer survivor can enjoy a great sport, and come back from despair, obesity, depression and being told that they can never ride a two-wheeled bike again.
Some Life of My Life Trials and Celebrations
I am proud to say that I ride a two-wheel bike again. I was injured in an automobile accident 2001, and then injured again (trauma again). I have some serious and disabling results from these traumas.
Living With Disability
To make a long story short, I have a traumatic brain injur(ies) (TBI), post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), spinal cord injuries, and serious damage to my central nervous system. But I’m ALIVE. That is what motivates and focuses me. I am a survivor! I am also a mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, recreational cyclist, techno-geek, science afficianado, artist, public speaker, disabled-competitive and endurance cyclist, and a productive member of the disability, cancer and my community. It is my pleasure to represent my communities, ride my Bacchetta Corsa S/S, succeed, and raise money for multiple great charitable events. The Face of America ride from DC to Gettysburg (World T.E.A.M. Sports-T.E.A.M. is an acronym for THE EXCEPTIONAL ATHLETE MATTERS) and the Adventure T.E.A.M. Challenge https://www.kintera.org/faf/search/searchTeam.asp?ievent=1006300&lis=1&kntae1006300=737C075DB2DD4A01B20D97C446450DC8&supld=172777438&team=5068292 (pffeewwww, that was a long URL).
Living With Cancer
I am also a breast cancer survivor. Yes, another community that I embrace and fund raise for. I am living with cancer, have been through a lot, and enjoy the positive networking of the Pan Mass Challenge http://www.pmc.org/egifts/GU0004 and LiveStrong http://laf.livestrong.org/goto/HeckCancer and really want to raise money to find better treatments, cures and hope that others do not have to go through what I have been through. Here is a short list of events that I have planned for this year (all events are 501c3-donations are tax deductible):
Response To My Bacchaetta Corsa S/S
What amazes me most about my Bacchetta is how much of a conversation starter it is. Whether I’m on a training ride, or at fund-raising events, people (young and old) love to stop me and ask me questions about my bike. I take the time and answer the questions. Why? Because recumbent cycling gave me my life back. When I ride, my troubles do not come with me. I am free, just another cyclist. If someone starts exercising and getting healthier because they see me out there having fun and just trying my best, well, that is a great day!
Bacchetta Corsa S/S Face of America 2012
Things that make you go hhmmmmnnnnn?
After the first utterance of, “WOW…. That is a cool bike. What is it called?” I look at the person and can see the excitement in their face and a smile. People love to look and talk about cool things and quality things. My Bacchetta is both, so it is flattering and a pleasure to talk to people. I tell them about Bacchetta and the various recumbents, and I say with a smile that this is a high racer. Many people have seen recumbents. They are extremely curious about the various styles, how they work, what they ride like, components, and why I ride one. I do my best to explain the various styles.
Bacchetta Corsa S/S full view
What is the bike like?
I have owned many trikes and recumbents. I have also test ridden various styles. Each recumbent I have owned has been for a purpose and has suited my needs very well. I now own only one recumbent, my Bacchetta Corsa S/S. Why this one? The answer from my heart is it makes me happy and I love it. The more technical answer is that it is lightweight, performs well, it’s a formidable hilling bike, it’s fast, I can ride with my road-bike friends, and the positioning helps reduce the pain in my back, cervical spine and legs. Lastly, it is light enough to put on a bike rack or in my car after a ride.
Why Is Your Chain So Long and How Many Gears Do You Have?
The next question for most people is usually about the chain. People are intrigued by the length of the chain and how many gears (27) that I have. Now, I am not an Engineer, but I do explain in the best way possible how the longer the chain, the center of gravity, and how the drive train of the recumbent works. People are amazed.
Bacchetta Corsa S/S high-end components
The next observation for most people is the high-quality components that the Corsa S/S has and how well the bike is designed and made. That makes me very happy. I see many cool bikes on my rides. When you see a well-made bike of any kind, complimenting craftsmanship and beautiful design is part of the biking community. I am lucky part of this community also and am honored to answer questions about a bike I am proud to ride.
Bacchetta Corsa S/S crank and pedals
Bacchetta Corsa S/S front fork
Is It “Comfy” or “Hard To Ride”
The last questions are actually funny to me. People see me riding, and either say, “That looks comfy” or “”Wow, it must be hard to ride that?” The reason why I find it funny, is that it does not matter what bike you are riding (road, recumbent, trike, mountain, hybrid etc.). In order for you to enjoy cycling, you need proper fit, which in turn would make any bike “comfy.” So, yes my bike is very comfy.
The question on, “is it a bit hard to ride,” is also relative. Cycling is a fabulous sport. Just as in life, you need to crawl before you can walk. So, is there a learning curve? The answer is, of course! There is also in learning curve for every other type and style of bike and cycling. With my injuries, I was actually probably more conservative than most in learning how to cycle safely. I had professional instruction for rehabilitation specialists at first. I also train almost daily (cycling/weights etc) with medical oversight. I gained experience riding with groups on trails. I also gained confidence in my balance, riding and ability. My riding experience improved and so did my bike. I would suggest to anyone that they learn to ride a bike in a nice, step-wise fashion regardless of their life situation. The bottom line is that my Bacchetta Corsa S/S is a high quality, high racer, and yes, you do need to spend some time learning how to ride safely and confidently. That is not “hard,” that is the process called emerging as a formidable recreational, endurance or competitive cyclist.
I will be doing the events listed above and will write (ok, dictate with assistive technology) blogs of the rides. My hope is to share awareness for some great charitable causes. I also appreciate donations or reblogging, for donations and awareness. Additionally, I proudly represent Bacchetta bikes and TEAM BACCHETTA. I would like to that Rich and Mike and the TEAM for your great advice, support and for making a bike I enjoy.
The adventures that I embark on will show how much can be done in the disability, cancer and cycling communities while riding a great bike-a Bacchetta. I am not a sales person. I’m just a person, who is glad to be ALIVE, loves to bike, is fortunate to have a great family and friends, and would like to make some positive impact in this crazy world. Come follow my adventures.
Be well and ride safely,
If you are interested in learning more about my story, here are two articles. Thank you!