Based out of Anchorage, Alaska, Cait Rodriguez and Lael Wilcox are passionate about getting more people on bikes. In 2016 they teamed up to provide 35 donated bikes to two low-income third grade classes at Russian Jack Elementary in Anchorage. This spring, while riding together on the Baja Divide in Baja, Mexico, they hatched a plan to organize bike mentorship program for middle school girls.
Cait Rodriguez has been volunteering time at bicycle coops for many years and is currently a volunteer manager at Off The Chain Bicycle Coop in Anchorage. She loves participating in youth bike programs, bike to work days and bicycle infrastructure advocacy activities– she just can’t say no to a chance to get more people excited about bikes. She has been commuting by bicycle for over ten years, loves riding dirt and snow and has toured in Europe, Mexico and all over the US. In her own words, “Riding has opened me up to the best and worst parts of my personality. I have learned so much about myself by riding hour after hour on a fully loaded bike. The bike has taught me that I have the power to work through most problems in life, and the process is usually so fun and rewarding!” At the end of the six week GRIT program, Cait hopes the participants feel that the bike is a tool for exploring the world. She hopes they feel empowered to ride to school, bike for fun and go on to volunteer at the many opportunities in Anchorage. She can’t wait to see their smiles.
Lael Wilcox was born and raised in Anchorage. She began riding in earnest when she was 20 to get to work in Tacoma, Washington. What started as a commute to work, grew into riding all over town, across the country and all over the world. In the past 10 years, she has traveled over 100,000 miles in 30 countries. In 2015, Lael began self-supported ultra-endurance racing. She currently holds the women’s records in the Tour Divide, a 2750 mile route from Canada to Mexico, and the Trans Am Bike Race, a 4300 mile route from coast to coast across America. Lael loves living on her bike. Cycling long distances is the way she learns about the world and she is endlessly curious to see more places. She is motivated to encourage more people to ride and consider the bicycle as a real form of transportation. For Lael, riding is a way of life.