DIRT GrandFather Meets MIRT Mother in Indiana.
Foreword by the DIRT Grandfather Douglas Mastroaianni.
Cecelia Taggart is an outstanding representative of DIRT (Dads Inside Riding Trainers) and MIRT (Moms Inside Riding Trainers) on so many levels. Her unique presence as a DIRT group ride leader and sweeper is encouraging.
She has a positive, upbeat attitude in DIRT group rides, from what I have observed. Some people don’t know the bike advocacy work she does with “We Ride Bikes” in Shelbyville, IN.
And coincidentally, a story in Cecelia’s hometown paper in Shelbyville, IN, published a report literally as we met IRL concerning her We Ride Bikes organization.
I wanted to meet the dynamo behind the C. Taggart avatar. We did not ride together, preferring to do the “pre and post-ride social” all in one shot minus the actual ride at a coffee shop in Batesville, IN. Batesville is about halfway between Cecelia’s Shelbyville, IN, and where I was visiting my grandkids in southern Aurora, Indiana.
We had an engaging and enlightening conversation that flew by. We were the only people in the shop when it opened. The owner took a picture of us after he photobombed the shot I took of Cecelia (see background).
The next block over featured an umbrella artwork installation explained in the photos attached. Batesville is a unique little town in Indiana!
Note: The meetup with Cecelia was the first of two IRL DIRT meetings I did this summer. Read about the second one I had with Jason Stern here.
The DIRT MIRT story is more significant than any one of us, i.e., the DIRT effect. But sometimes, we need to see the individuals contributing to this social effect. Cecelia is one of many faces of that story.
She spends a lot of time on the bike, especially in the early mornings. When not riding, Cecelia is homeschooling her four children.
She found DIRT rides to be inclusive and friendly. She was there for the in-game release of the MIRT jersey and also had an IRL MIRT cycling kit.
Ride On Cecelia Taggart! You are an inspiration to us all!
Mom, Cyclist, Philanthropist, and an Inspiration
In the words of CeCe herself.
I am a (perhaps Zwift-addicted) wife of Don Taggart and Mom of four: Claire—21, Camden—19, Sada—11, and Simeon—7 and (still homeschooling two).
I love everything bicycle and find pedaling extremely therapeutic on many levels. I formed ‘We Ride Bikes’ with the mission of making safe bike rides accessible to all of those around me.
I Rediscovered a Love of Bikes
I rediscovered my love of bicycles as an adult when I could put my two youngest kids in a trailer behind my husband’s mountain bike. I was taking them on 15 plus mile rides out through the country and then found myself (still on his mountain bike, mine was out of order, and my only other bike at the time was a beach cruiser) regularly putting in 30 miles on my own just for fun.
He suggested we get a bike for me, which sounded like a good idea, although there was absolutely no way I would get one of those bikes with those horrible skinny seats, lol.
I Was Hooked!
We went to our local bike shop in the fall of 2017, and I tried out a couple of hybrids. They really wanted to put me on a road bike, so finally, I agreed. It hooked me! I went home with an entry-level 2016 Specialized Allez.
I love riding outside and was riding solo throughout the winter. In late spring 2018, we heard about Zwift and bought a Kick Snap to check it out.
I Began Riding as My Husband, With No Fan
For the first month, I rode as my husband, in the kitchen, with no fan (somehow, it didn’t occur to me how helpful a fan might be, lol). Eventually, I created my own Zwift account and was riding on Zwift more and more.
I had a lot of good experiences. I also had a few unpleasant encounters in a row and wondered if Zwift was for me. I joined a DIRT Monday Morning Blues ride led by Chris White when I thought it wasn’t.
The Game Changer For Me
That was a game-changer. Chris was always cheerful, always kind, and I really enjoyed myself.
During this time, I was still riding more and more outside on my road bike solo with a friend, my husband, and my kids. With them, I was in this glorious phase where I was on my cruiser, my daughter was on a tag-a-long bike attached to mine, and my son was in a trailer attached to her tag-a-long.
I Need Cycling in My Life
Pedaling was good for me in so many ways. I was having fun, getting exercise, enjoying my kids and the people I was riding with in real life and Zwift.
I am one of those people whose spouse will look at them in the middle of a rough day and say, “Why don’t you go get on your bike for a little while?” 😉
Fast Forward to the Summer of 2019
I had a great time riding with friends and my kids on the road. Now my friends are on Zwift, my DIRT friends.
If anyone had ever told me that I’d be doing an indoor workout or group ride on a trainer engaging in group chat with virtual people, I had never met. Or riding with five guys in bibs, heavy breathing on discord video or chat, I would have said they were crazy.
I’m Proud to Be a MIRT
DIRT is an incredible community. Not only have I had a tremendous amount of fun, but so many great conversations with amazing people (and my fitness isn’t too bad for a homeschooling mom my age!) 😉
And for me, riding inside on a trainer early in the morning is conducive to being a parent, and being a MIRT is conducive to being a person.
I Created a Non-Profit Foundation to Love Well Through Bikes
At different points in my life, I have found myself struggling to figure out how to love a family foster kid with severe disabilities, my aging grandparents, and my drug-addicted brother—and love them well. I would love to be able to share a bike ride with each of them, but I can’t, so I started We Ride Bikes to be able to do it in my community.
After receiving generous donations through fundraising and grant writing, we have the bikes, trishaw, and trailer we need to do it.
Despite the challenge of Covid, we have been able to give several senior citizens trishaw rides on our local bike trails. It enables them to enjoy many of the benefits of a bike ride as they explore areas they wouldn’t ordinarily get to experience. The time we get to spend with them and the conversation we share has been great fun for all.
We Give Mobility to the Local Community
We have partnered with our local senior center to help those who struggle with mobility. The seniors can participate in their weekly group walk by riding along with us. We Ride Bikes works with a women’s home to provide social group rides.
We have connected with local assisted living centers to offer rides to their residents, and (when they can get past lockdown) we have plans to ride with a local residence home that provides services to children and young adults with mental and physical disabilities.
What better way to share a love of bicycles, especially after an early morning of getting DIRTy on Zwift?
Cecelia’s local community has taken notice and is appreciative as is clear in this article featured in The Shelbyville News.
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!