We spotted Marina Kaydanova waiting patiently for the start of the 55-mile route at this year’s Twin Lights Ride and decided to find out what led her to want to go for a bike ride in New Jersey at the crack of dawn.
Hi! What route will you be riding today?
Hi. I will be riding the 55.
Are you excited?
Very. I think it’s just going to be a beautiful ride. It’s a beautiful day.
You have a little bit of an accent. Where are you from?
Russia. I was born in Ukraine but I lived in Russia, near Moscow, too. Now I live in Brooklyn, by Manhattan Beach.
Do you ride in New York City?
Yeah, it’s fun. I like riding on the West Side, in Central Park, and in Prospect Park.
Do you ride primarily recreationally in New York, or do you commute as well?
I did the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, but I don’t ever ride to commute. I just ride recreationally. I like riding for pleasure.
Can you tell me about your bike?
It’s a Bianchi. I got it maybe 5 months ago.
Is this the nicest bike you’ve ever had?
Well, I’ve only been biking for a year.
Wow! What got you into biking?
I tried it and liked it. I saw that a lot of times when people go away, to visit different cities, they explore by bike, so I wanted to try it. I tried it, I liked it, and now I bike! It’s also a great activity to do with my son.
That’s great. Did you teach yourself?
Yeah. You just go! It took one day. I mean, it’s harder in the beginning, but it gets better.
Did you know that Bike New York teaches people how to ride bikes?
I just learned that. I think that would be a good thing to do, to take a class.
Have you ridden in other cities yet?
Barcelona. And the last time was Madrid.
How did those cities compare to New York?
There’s less traffic. A lot of other cities are more bike friendly; a lot of people use it as transportation. There are still a lot of cars, but not as many.
Do you go back to Russia?
I haven’t been for years.
Maybe you’ll ride the next tine you go back?
[Laughs] Not in Russia, no.
You never know. So what do you do for work?
I have two pilates studios: one in Brooklyn, one in Manhattan.
Do you think that pilates helps with cycling?
Definitely. Your core is strong. Your hip flexors, hip extensors, and hamstrings are all very strong, so it really helps a lot. A lot of people say that it helps with biking and running; it restores your body.
How often do you go out riding?
I try when the weather is nice. Here and there. I go to the Rockaways sometimes, also. I should have said that earlier. It’s like 15 miles there, 15 miles back… so, 30 miles. I try to ride at least once a week.
Well, I think it’s time for you start the ride! Have fun today.
[Ed. note: We followed up with Marina the day after the ride, and she had this to say about her experience: “I’m so inspired now, I’m thinking of getting a road bike! My next step!”]