Courtney Mclaughlin (@courtmclaugh) is our Reid Rider of the Month for June
Courtney from Toronto, Canada has become our Reid Rider of the Month for June on our Granite 1.0 after catching our eye on Instagram riding for charity with #reidbikes! We caught up with Courtney, to find out a little bit more about her and her bike.
My name is Courtney McLaughlin, I’m 28 years old, and I’m from Toronto, Canada. I’m a Manager in Strategy and Technology at a global digital consultancy, with a background in Design and Project Management, and I’m an adventure seeker! I love to travel, explore and photograph new landscapes, and I love to try all local cuisines!
When and how did you get into bike riding?
I learned how to ride a bike as a little kid, but only picked it back up again as an adult this Spring, 2 months before a girlfriend convinced me to join Toronto’s Ride to Conquer Cancer (RTCC) this year with her. Probably took me about 2 weeks to feel confident and comfortable back in the saddle (and let go with one hand long enough to signal that I’m stopping haha). But I’ve quickly fallen into the groove of cycling and definitely feel the love the community when out on the road.
So what made you choose Reid and why the Granite 1.0?
I bought my Granite from a local Toronto bike shop. As my first bike purchase as an adult, I was looking for a quality road-worthy bike set for adventure, but also that would take me 225km across Southern Ontario! I bought with the RRTC as the priority factor. The shop just got their first 2 Reid’s in that week, and I swiped it right out of the storefront window as two other’s behind me had expressed interest! I didn’t like that many other shops and brands were recommended because they were pink or purple (women’s bikes)… I needed a bike to take me the distance and look badass getting there.
Is this your first Gravel Bike?
Sure is! First bike – period.
So, how has the Granite treated you?
Our first weekend out was actually quite rocky on top of my nerves! I was standing close to the gears as my bike slipped and fell over – the gears dug into my ankle and I have a beauty scar to show for it, haha. The following day my chain fell off while away from home – a rider on the path stopped and showed me how to pop it back on easily though. Since then we’ve been real good! I get tons of compliments on her, and several people interested in getting similar tires actually!
What and where have you been with it?
My favourite, and most noteworthy destination, was of course from downtown Toronto to Niagara Falls! 225km through Southern Ontario (day 1 and day 2 routes here). I’ve also gone out to Tommy Thompson Park, the Lower Don River Trail, Humber River Trail and crushed all of the downtown Toronto Waterfront Trail in both directions.
So we saw you’ve been riding to raise money for cancer, how did this come about and what motivated you to do it?
Four years ago, we lost an incredible colleague and close friend, Lucas Peel, to advanced-stage Lymphoma. Lucas was the original Project Manager on my team and taught me everything about being a part of that team and what it means to put in hard work. To celebrate what would be his 30th birthday this year, my friend Monica Chakravarty and I rode in his name with the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. The donation pages are still up and active and I can’t thank everyone enough for the tremendous support we’ve received throughout the journey: www.conquercancer.ca/goto/courtmclaugh
Do you have any other future adventures planned?
I definitely have some day trip’s in mind for this summer, such as heading out the Scarborough Bluffs and biking a bit through some beautiful Ontario cottage country. But having biked for 2 straight days, around 16 hours total on the roads, I’ve caught a bit of a competitive urge to race! I’m thinking perhaps an entry-level Sprint Triathlon? I’ve never been a runner so I’ll have to learn how to do that – but just a few months ago, I also wouldn’t have said I’m a cyclist, yet I can’t believe what I was able to accomplish.
Finally, what advice would you give to those who have never been on a biking adventure or even a bike?
Haha, I would say that when picking it back up as an adult, it is nothing like the phrase my friend’s kept telling me: “it’s just like riding a bike”! But it’s so worth the shaky start – it’s fun, and free-ing, and incredible how far you can go and how much you can push yourself to achieve. It opens up doors to new pockets of a city you thought you knew inside-out, and at a minimum, access to transportation without traffic limitations!
But for real, I actually started my biking journey with spin classes 2 years ago! I had zero cardio endurance for the first several months but this was an amazing and fun way to learn how to ride through the hump of being tired, build cardio strength, core and leg strength… plus wasn’t dependant on nice weather.
And to those who are wanting to, but haven’t raised money for charity?
Just start! Just decide you’re going to do a terrifying thing – and then tell everyone.
You don’t even realize how strong a community of friends and family you have that want you to succeed until you’re head-first into it. I took the approach of regularly posting to social media my training progress as a sense of accountability for both myself and to my supporters that I was working towards this goal that they were helping me fund. It helps you commit and stay focused. Monica and I made a campaign of it for ourselves #rideforlucaspeel and even posts the hilarious training hiccups along the way.
Wanting to Donate to the Cause?
Fancy Riding an All-Road Gravel Bike?