Meet Breigh Chadwick: A Woman On Wheels

She’s the 2015 New Jersey Cat 4 State Road Race Champion. She has biked 100 miles in Tennessee to raise money for diabetes research and biked 220 miles along the Shenendoah National Park for fun. Whether she’s educating our future drivers on how to share the road with cyclists, helping organize the Tour de Safety/Bike Rodeo, supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, biking hundreds of miles through Spain, or racing in the criterium, Breigh Chadwick clearly lives life out loud on two wheels.

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Breigh grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Delaware. While in college, her parents relocated to Mullica Hill and eventually she would follow suit, building a home in the same town. She, her husband Mike, and two children (ages 12 and 10) have lived in Mullica Hill for the past three years. She is a Registered Nurse with a former career in sales before she began her new gig as a Stay-At-Home Mom.

Shifting Gears

Although Breigh was an athlete all of her life, ironically biking was not always her thing. In fact, she was not only disinterested, but resistant to it. A competitive Division I collegiate volleyball player, Breigh was always very active and athletic. She ran, worked out, and was pretty outdoorsy. But biking? It was her husband, Mike, who had a history with cycling. When he rekindled his passion for the sport, Breigh was a bit unenthused with this new, expensive, time consuming hobby.

Mike always encouraged her to join him, but she wasn’t feeling it. “I thought it was the stupidest thing ever,” she laughs. “And, I had this irrational fear of getting hit by a car. Then, he immediately got hit by a car.”  Though Mike sustained serious injuries, he recovered completely and was back on the bike again. The whole ordeal confirmed two things in her mind: 1. biking was “dumb,” and 2. you would get hurt.

In 2012, Mike tried a different angle. He encouraged Breigh to check out the new women’s tri club in town. “I don’t swim and I don’t bike,” she thought to herself. So, she resisted the idea of a triathlon. She was a runner however, so she joined the club that year vowing to stick soley with the running events. She did everything from 5Ks to a marathon, but when she ended up suffering from a common running injury it opened the door to try something new. The Tri Club hosted a very popular, weekly group bike ride called The Rhodes’ Rides. She borrowed a quasi defective mountain bike and joined the group one evening. “I did the ride and got a beer after. It was fun,” she said.

Eventually, Breigh stopped riding the broken, borrowed mountain bike and bought a proper road bike. She signed up for our own local Queen of the Hill Sprint Tri and crushed it on the bike with very little training. Breigh may have thought the bike was “dumb,” but the problem was she was good at it. She was fast. Very, very fast.

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Wheels In Action

Next thing Breigh knew, she was joining Mike on the Nashville JDRF 100 mile ride and began doing the group rides with Action Wheels. It was there that she learned things like how to rotate group lines, pull, and follow a wheel. “That’s when I really started liking the whole group ride thing,” she says. By the end of that year, Breigh became a member of the Action Wheels Race Team, competing in road races, time trials, and criterium.

Along with her many cycling accomplishments, including the 2015 title of NJ Cat 4 Road Race State Champ, Briegh won second overall at the 2015 Queen of the Hill Spring Tri, has four Broad Street (10 miler) finishes, four half-marathon finishes, and completed one full marathon. In 2014, she relayed the Challange A.C. Full Ironman distance — a swim, bike, run totaling 140.6 miles. Briegh did the 2.4 mile swim leg, her husband did the bike leg of 112 miles, and a friend ran the marathon leg. Their relay team earned an impressive 2nd place finish!

Mike has since become an Ironman, racing the entire 140.6 miles solo, and Breigh and family were there to cheer him on! Breigh will be competing in the 2016 Half Ironman in A.C. this Fall, a triathlon totaling 70.3 miles.

Racing Forward, Giving Back

You might think that Breigh spends all of her time training and racing, but she devotes an enormous amount of time giving back to the community. She works diligently to empower young girls and women through sports. She is a coach for the Clearview Youth Volleyball organization and was a volunteer coach for several years with Girls on the GLOW. She continues to assist GLOW with special sessions. For instance, she brought the Action Wheels women’s race team to an event last year and spoke both about bike safety and opportunities for women in racing.

A member of the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club, Breigh assists on their Bike Safety Initiative. She and Natalie Matthias co-developed a lesson plan and teach high school Driver’s Ed students about sharing the road with cyclists. Their presentation includes what happens to cyclists when they are hit by a motorized vehicle and they explain the rules of the road for both drivers and cyclists. They have presented to Kingsway and Clearview so far this year, and plan to expand into other school districts. This outreach is critical for educating our next generation of drivers.

Breigh and Mike are also very involved in supporting JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) by raising money and participating in the Ride to Cure annually.

 Bike Safety Awareness: The Tour de Safety and Bike Rodeo

To kick off National Bike Safety Awareness Month, the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club has created an awareness ride and family-friendly bike safety education day. Breigh has been one of the behind-the-scenes forces in the creation and organization of  this incredible event.

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Held Sunday, May 15th at the 4H Fairgrounds right in Mullica Hill, the Tour de Safety and Bike Rodeo will educate families, cyclists, pedestrians and drivers all about safely navigating the roads together. The Bike Rodeo, presented by Safe Routes Mullica Hill, is geared toward young children. This fun activity will give them an opportunity to practice their bike skills and learn about safety in a fun, non-competitive environment. The venue will also have food and apparrel for sale, along with other fun things like helmet decorating.

The Tour de Safety is a non-competitive awareness ride presented by the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club. Riders can choose from three different distances: the 50-mile ride, a 25 mile ride, or a family ride of 5 miles for all adults and kids (no training wheels or big wheels, please).

Both events require registration which can be done through Active.com or at the event (just come about a half-hour in advance of the event in which you wish to participate). The Tour de Safety costs $10-$25 per rider, depending on the distance, but the Bike Rodeo is FREE.

A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the iCanShine Foundation, a non-profit organization providing recreational activities, instruction, and opportunity for individuals with disabilities. The remaining proceeds will be used by The Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club, a 501(c)3 non-profit, for programs and initiatives that improve bike safety in our community.

 

Written by: Alicia J. DiFabio, Psy.D.