Rider Profile: Allie Smith
Tell me a little about yourself. What’s your background?
I’m a Massachusetts native, spent a large part of my childhood in the ocean, studied photography at a fine arts college in Boston, and lived in Tucson, Arizona for a couple of years before moving back east to New York in 2015. I have a very special, very furry canine companion named Bijou.
How did you get into cycling?
Having a bike at a young age provided a way to hang out with the neighborhood kids, and independence in transportation. I remember falling a lot, getting scuffed up, and shedding quite a few tears over road rash, but I loved that the physicality of it made me feel resilient and tough.
At age 18 I was spending my first college summer in my hometown, without a car, and found myself in need of a way to get around. I started riding a bike to and from work, and eventually took it back to Boston with me and began riding in the city. For over 10 years now, and in three cities, cycling has been my main mode of transportation and recreation.
What was your first bike race like?
My first licensed bike race was on day one of the 2018 6 Days of Kissena series. I felt like I was going to throw up my breakfast as I awkwardly held onto the rail. The thought of being an annoyance—or worse, a safety concern—to the other, more seasoned riders was my biggest fear. But hey, it turned out just fine. I kept up with the pack, didn’t earn any race points for the day, and anxiously spent the next week excited to get back out there.
What is the best moment you have had on a bike?
Too many to count! Most recently: winning the Women’s Cat 5 field during my track debut at 6 Days of Kissena (and placing 4th overall for the W4/5). I also particularly love a late-afternoon summer ride.
How have owning and riding bicycles changed the way you interact with your community?
Hands down, this is the most empowering part of my life. I take an immense amount of pride in having both the physical strength to ride and the mechanical knowledge to perform maintenance and repairs on my bike.
Year-round bike-commuting provides a very physical, unique relationship to the urban infrastructure. The bike has always been a way to see new faces and feel connected to my environment, but it wasn’t until recently that I really got involved in a local cycling community. This far-reaching group of WTF/GNC cyclists has built such a warm, inviting, safe space that I can’t believe it took me so long to say hello!
What kind of racer do you want to be? Who’s your inspiration?
I want to be strong and tactical, but most importantly a positive contribution to my team. I am inspired by the racers out on the track who I get to compete with regularly, who all have a genuine desire to make this sport more accessible and inclusionary.
How would you define success for the 2018 season?
Success would mean that, in addition to improving my riding, my circle of community has grown and I have helped other WTF/GNC riders to empower themselves through cycling.
What superhero power would you have and why?
Superhuman stomach and immune system—so I could eat all the delicious foods, all the time.