Entering its ninth year, the Wellness Revolution is a program developed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont and Terry to get more women riding bikes safely and comfortably. This special program promotes healthier lifestyles and riding confidence over the course of a 4-6 week training period. In 2022, following a pandemic hiatus, the program came back stronger than ever introducing a third chapter in the Northeast Kingdom alongside the Burlington and Rutland chapters.
Beyond great exercise and camaraderie, the Wellness Revolution includes sessions on bike maintenance, mindfulness, urban and gravel riding techniques, cross training and more. Through this program we have experienced firsthand the effect that having a supportive group, all seeking to thrive via cycling, can have. In celebration of the New Year, new chapter, and new outlooks gained, Wellness graduates, program leaders, and instructors shared how the Wellness Revolution has impacted them.
“I have ridden bikes all my life, but consider myself a casual rider. I learned so much from this program; my confidence has soared! I even learned things that I didn’t know I needed to know. Thank you again for this life enhancing opportunity!” – Sandi R.
Wellness Coordinator Speaks On Opening New Chapter
“With the community rallying behind us, we moved quickly to launch the program at the end of September. We knew we were pushing the limits, as shorter daylight hours and cooler temps would soon be upon us. And yet, within days of opening registration, we had a full roster of women excited to join us and a group of exceptional coaches ready to lend support.“
“Our hopes and dreams were realized very early on. Within minutes of meeting each other, in a round-table activity, the women opened to the process, exposing their vulnerability, as one by one they shared the fears, concerns, hopes and dreams cycling held for them. From that moment, a culture of empowerment, support and compassion became rooted in the ties that brought us all together. Leading this group, I was reminded about what I love most about cycling and what became a shared connection within the group: enjoying the scenic byways and beauty of Vermont, the power of a supportive cycling community, the process of overcoming obstacles and fears that live within us and emerging feeling more confident and ready to take on that next adventure, and knowing at the end of the day I could feel (hello, legs and lungs!) that we are stronger than we imagined we could be.“
“The educational pieces of the program are a fundamental component, evidenced on our very first group ride, when one cyclist declared she had experienced a spiritual awakening to learn her bike had gears! That in itself, was a life changing experience. The Wellness Revolution program set the foundation for this incredible experience, building on fundamental skills and instilling a love for cycling and outdoor recreation. There were tears of joy shed and hugs shared, as everyone celebrated each others’ victories. Nothing speaks more to this than our final group ride which provided our cyclists with two mileage options: a 15 or 20 mile loop. In the spirit of their strong connection as a group, the women who planned to do the longer loop, declared at the last moment that they wished to do the shorter route so they could all ride together. And so it continues, well beyond the end of the program. “
-Jennifer Grant, Community Health Lead, Northern Counties Health Care & Wellness Revolution Coordinator
For some participants, it had been a long time since they last took to the saddle. Bethany Yon, hadn’t been on a bike in more than 25 years when she joined the Revolution “You know that old adage, ‘it’s like riding a bike?’ Well, not for me,” she says. “I was close to walking away because I was so intimidated. Program instructors made all the difference, though, breaking down each part of riding—from how to kick off to when to shift gears—until every woman felt confident enough to ride on the road.”
From The Mouths of Bike Babes: Wellness Alumni Quotes
“Such excellent thought and planning went into developing this program. I didn’t expect the extra classes designed to help you maintain your bike, or to learn specific stretches & strength exercises to help with biking. The class with a certified gravel/MTB trainer was awesome. The mindfulness class and just the overall encouragement throughout that I could do this was so confidence building. I have certain goals in riding and how I approach them now will be totally different than I originally thought because of what I learned in class and from just being out there doing it and learning from other riders.”
“The Wellness Revolution came into my life just when I needed it most. I am so grateful for the wonderful and welcoming group of leaders and participants in the program for not only reassuring me that I’m not alone in my trepidation after an accident but that I am also more than capable of reclaiming my love of cycling.“
“It has had such a positive impact on my outlook and motivation for getting out”
“This was a well run, well organized event. Everyone was very encouraging, cheerful and supportive to all riders no matter their ability level. It was a great kick start especially for people who hadn’t ridden in a long time.”
Many spoke on a not-so-unexpected benefit of the Wellness Revolution: the friendships they found with fellow riders.
“This was an unexpected late summer opportunity to meet new people, get outside and rekindle a love for cycling, and learn and become more confident in taking care of my bicycle on my own! It was also fun seeing and re-connecting with a few women I hadn’t seen in years… All in all, I am energized to continue cycling and perhaps even upgrading my old Hybrid Mountain Bike!”
“I was so happy to build connection with other like-minded women who enjoy the out of doors and exercising for our health and well being.”
“Finding a group of ladies to ride with!! I love it. I am looking toward pursuing winter biking with them.”
“The program introduced me to women, of all levels, who want to get out riding.”
“I think this group of women will continue to gather for biking but there was also mention of cross country skiing, hiking or other outdoor activities. So exciting!”
“Safety in numbers! Love this group and all of the support”
The bonds built during the Wellness Revolution have gone far beyond the bike, yet always return to it. By providing access to this encouraging environment, Terry and BCBSVT have also created a space for Vermont women to grow and be uplifted in other arenas in their life.
Dynamic Duo Behind It All
“We encourage women across the spectrum of cycling comfort levels to join us. Whether you are just starting out or are looking to get exercise in a supported way, this free program advances women’s cycling abilities, builds confidence, and provides an opportunity to connect in a fun, supportive environment.”
-Megan Peek, Community Relations and Health Education Manager at Blue Cross
“The Wellness Revolution program reminds me of all the things cycling has done for me. It provides the grit and determination to try new things, the confidence in knowing you’re stronger than you think, and develops new friendships that can last a lifetime. My eight-year affiliation with the Wellness Revolution, BCBS of Vermont and Megan Peek is great example of this.”
–Lisa Wilkes, Customer Service, Ambassador, Sponsorship and Events Manager at Terry
If you’re in our neck of the woods (Vermont) and are ready to join the revolution in 2023, please connect with us. It’s never too late to set a new goal for yourself or help someone else change her life through cycling. Sessions will be held in Burlington, Rutland, and the Northeast Kingdom.
To learn more about the Wellness Revolution and other great community events, visit Blue Cross’ community events page.
Connect with Terry Bicycles:
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/terrybikes
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Connect with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont:
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/bluecrossvt
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- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/bluecrossvt/
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