ARKIE PROFILE | Kyla Templeton
I first met Kyla some years back (10 years ago!). She was new to cycling and you could tell she had the bug. I didn’t see her much after she moved to Bentonville until I started following Bike Bentonville on Facebook. My curiosity was peaked when I saw pictures of large groups of ladies about to go for a ride in their matching kits. The group calls themselves Girls Bike Bentonville. Because cycling is often portrayed as a male sport or hobby it was super interesting to see a well attended women’s specific ride. As it turns out Kyla is the organizer of this bunch.
OCA: What is your day job?
Kyla: I am a stay at home mom to my two sons, Karsten, 3.5, and Klay, 1.5.
OCA: How/When did you get started in cycling?
Kyla: I bought my first mountain bike just before graduating college in 2004. Within a month I realized that I really wanted to be going faster and riding on the roads so I bought a road bike a month later. I grew up a swimmer and then started running in college and knew that bicycling was the missing link of the triathlon, so that was probably part of the motivation. I moved to Arkansas in 2005 and riding on the hilly roads in the country definitely got me hooked to the sport.
OCA: What inspires you to turn the pedals?
Kyla: I love to be outside in God’s creation – fields, hills, sunshine, cows, etc. I love to work hard and push myself to go faster. I love to spend time with people connecting them to each other, to the sport, and to creation.
OCA: What is your favorite route?
Kyla: In Girls Bike Bentonville, we call it the Llama loop. Some variation of going out Punkin Hollow or Peach Orchard, Ford Springs Road, Price Coffee, and maybe up Rocky Ridge and back through Little Flock. I really like to see the llamas, peacocks, sheep, goats, ducks, etc. at a little hobby farm off Ford Springs Road.
OCA: What is your favorite thing to eat/drink after a long ride?
Kyla: Watermelon! Refreshing and re-hydrating!
OCA: How did you get involved with Girls Bike Bentonville?
Kyla: I started a Bentonville girls ride in 2012 with a little prodding from some of the bike shop guys and others in the cycling community. The first summer we only averaged about 5-10 people most weeks but that second summer we had rides with up to 25 girls or so and it started to have its own identity – Girls Bike Bentonville. We made jerseys that second summer and it’s just exploded from there.
OCA: What is Girls Bike Bentonville all about?
Kyla: Inclusion is something I value a lot. I want Girls Bike Bentonville to be a place where any girl – young or old, fast or slow, happy or sad – can come and have a place to ride and people to ride with. Lots of women ride on their own because they are either intimidated by the big coed group rides or because they ride at odd times because of family obligations. We work on teaching the girls how to ride together and build their skills.
OCA: Why do you think it’s more difficult for women to get started in cycling?
Kyla: I think group rides with lots of guys is really intimidating because of all the surging. Women seem to have a different style of riding, especially when they aren’t experienced. Many women do their cycling on their own because they just fit it in whenever they can. Without the built-in support network that group activities bring, its harder to get started and keep going.
OCA: Any tips for women interested in cycling but just don’t know how to go about getting started?
Kyla: Get a bike! You could even rent several different bikes to figure out what kind of riding you want to do and then buy a bike. Girls Bike Bentonville offers clinics for road biking and mountain biking periodically also to help build skills.
OCA: How does someone get connected to Girls Bike Bentonville?
Kyla: Like the Bike Bentonville Facebook page, search for the Girls Bike Bentonville Facebook group and ask to join, and sign up for our newsletter (link is below). Come out and ride with us on Thursday nights at the Bentonville Square at 6:05 – we have something for everyone. Click here for the Girls Bike Bentonville Facebook page. Click here for the Bike Bentonville Facebook page.
OCA: There has been quite a bit of buzz about NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association). Can you tell us about it and how you are involved?
Kyla: Arkansas NICA will be the State organization that will provide resources, training and races for every Arkansas student the opportunity to strengthen their body, mind, and character through participation in cycling. With a focus on training, racing, resources and development for student mountain bike training and racing.
Alan Ley and I submitted a bid to NICA to start a league in the fall of 2016 and it has officially been accepted. Junior high and high school kids will race on school teams at 4 races in the season. Alan and I are spearheading the effort to bring this to Arkansas. We are in the process of fundraising and recruiting people to coach and start teams for the junior highs and high schools for our state.
OCA: How does someone get involved with NICA?
Kyla: We are contacting individuals to coach, start school teams, set up and volunteer at races, and to support the league financially. Email Alan Ley (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kyla (email@example.com). Like the Facebook page, click here to go to Arkansas Jr. High and High School Mountain Biking Facebook page.
This is super cool. I mean really cool! Shouldn’t every cycling community have something like this? Kudos to Kyla (far right in above photo) for the time she puts in to getting girls on bikes and sharing her passion for cycling with others. Now go check them out on Facebook!