The Pacific Northwest is famous for cycling. With its dense lush forests, snow-covered mountains, miles of gorgeous coastline, and outdoor-loving locals, how could it not be? But what happens when one size does not fit all? All Bodies on Bikes (ABOB) co-founders Marley Blonsky and Kailey Kornhauser are here to address that very question, challenging the bike industry to create a more inclusive space for riders. From hosting social group events, to recommending size-inclusive clothing, and safe, up to date equipment, ABOB aims to prove that biking is a sport for everyone, no matter their size, ability, or age. Recovering from an injury? Haven’t been on a bike in years? Do you feel like you look different than most of the other bikers you see around town? You’re not alone! As the ABOB website states, “[With us] Everyone is welcome to move their bodies joyfully and at a pace that is comfortable and safe for them. All are welcome.”
Marley and Kailey have a mission to change the biking industry, creating inclusive bike communities.
ABOB officially began about a year ago, with Marley and Kailey having spent the 2-3 years prior laying the groundwork. They started small, with local workshops and in person rides based on size-inclusivity for all. 2020 then hit, but with determination, Kailey and Marley didn’t let the pandemic stop them from bringing size-inclusivity to the populous. “I was actually able to work on ABOB more,” Marley says. “I got to see the need for this. After that, I quit corporate America and now this is my fulltime job.” Despite missing in person rides, Kailey has also come to realize that a new, even wider camaraderie can be formed through an online platform. “We switched to online events, and then realized how much more inclusive we could be online, throughout this country and others.” Who has access to ABOB has expanded, and one no longer needs to live in the same town to benefit from this organization.
ABOB is all about community, and as Marley points out, “Groups and community are not the same thing. […] To me, community means people who look out for each other and want the best for each other.” That is why their social media platform plays such an important role for the company. People can post their rides, share music, and tell stories of both good moments and challenging ones. Kailey adds, “Just knowing that [other people who look like us] are out there, and that we can share this camaraderie even when it’s not in person, helps you feel supported.” ABOB creates that community and reminds all bikers that they do not need to look a certain way to ride.
The relationships and community spirit created by ABOB is evident!
Cheering on junior riders during a race event.
Happy participants from the Mid South Gravel ride in Oklahoma.
Given this philosophy of “no one right way to ride,” how do Marley and Kailey approach riding themselves? “In the bike industry,” Marley tells us, “there’s so much emphasis on performance and speed, and going epic distances. And if you want to do that, that’s great. […] But we’re here to say it’s also awesome to ride your bike around the block, or with your kids, or go block camping. What the media is telling you– that you have to go X number of miles or X miles per hour or you’re not going fast enough –we just really want to disrupt that narrative and say, No. Any way you want to do this is awesome.”
“We borrow the term joyful movement,” Kailey adds. Whatever that means, however fast, long, or high up in elevation, riding for the joy of riding is enough. We just want to help make the ride safe.” Now the question is, how does ABOB do that? Fortunately, Kailey tells us, “We’ve got a workshop for folks in bigger bodies going into cycling. We talk about wheels, brakes, clothing (some items make biking more comfortable) and we also share online resources on our website.
The exemplification of joyful movement!
Boogie break on the bike trail…..sometimes you just need to “dance it out”!
Both Kailey and Marley respond to personal DMs on Instagram, but their overall goal is not only to help fellow bikers, but to change the bike industry as a whole. Encourage stores to start carrying bigger sizes or provide bikes that support bodies at different ages and abilities. Beyond that, broaden the platform to other voices that need hearing. As Kailey mentions, “Our experience is as able-bodied white cis-women, so we try to recognize our privilege and where we’re coming from, which means now the work is also about sharing the platform and giving a voice to people with different backgrounds, experiences, and needs.” And for Marley and Kailey, this means sharing the platform with those communities directly. “For example,” Marley adds, “I’m going to be on a panel with Meg Fisher, a paracyclist, at Sea Otter. It’s important to let folks in other communities speak for themselves, and for us to share tools, hopefully widening the lens so the industry doesn’t grow oblivious.”
Just two badass co-founders taking a beat to celebrate!
No bike? No problem! ABOB will helps coordinate borrowed bikes!
ABOB recognizes that no two bikers are the same, but beyond that, no two rides are the same. Maybe you have scaled the highest cliffs and travelled hundreds of miles in a ride. That doesn’t mean you have to every time. Even as an advanced expert rider, maybe, one day, you don’t feel up to it. Or maybe, one day, you just plain don’t want to. That’s okay. As Marley says, “We’re trying to dispel the myth that people in larger bodies are always beginners, yet also emphasize the importance of knowing your body and listening to your limits. […] I’m not out there to punish my body or prove anything.” And ABOB doesn’t want that for you. Ride because you love it, if and when you love it, and don’t be afraid to take up space, however that manifests for you.
ABOB hopes to be opening other chapters soon. Right now, it’s still in the “information gathering stage,” which means that whenever they travel, Marley and Kailey host a ride with locals to see who’s interested.” Want to know the best part about that?? As part of that research, they’re planning a trip to Independence and a group ride on April 10th! “We’re planning a 20 mile loop,” Kailey tells us. “It goes on the ferry across the Willamette and into the vineyards.” Then, as any Pacific Northwesterner of dignity would demand, the event will end with a happy hour. Don’t worry if 20 miles seems daunting though. After all, this is ABOB! “A shorter route will also be available, starting and ending in the same location,” Kailey says.
Nearly 75 riders joined the group on the Unbound Gravel race in Emporia, Kansas.
All bodies includes your four-legged friends on bikes too!
Now, if you’re thinking to yourself, “I want to support this organization!” You’re not alone. In fact, for Marley and Kailey, one of the best aspects to starting ABOB has been the response not only from other bikers, but the industry as a whole. “At steamboat gravel,” Marley says, “we were hosting a shakedown ride. We were expecting about 80 bikers, and it ended up being 1000! The power of our movement, the resonance… there was everyone from biking experts to beginners. Even one set of parents in their 70’s came up to me and said, “’This was the first time we have ever felt included in something like this.’”
“For me,” Kailey adds, “one of my best moments was the first time I got to watch our [promo] movie with other people. Getting to see people react to it and hear them share their own experiences, plus the online support of course. But to watch people’s faces and hear how they react… for a lot of people it’s the first time that they’ve thought about this.” That is the power of ABOB. People are coming out to bike for the first time ever, or the first time in years. “As a child,” Kailey says, “I didn’t know I had access to this sport. And already things are changing. Things are going to be different for the generations to come.”
A couple cyclists exploring on their ebikes.
This cyclist is ready to ride!
It’s easy to see why Marley and Kailey make such a good team. In addition to sharing the same goals and determination, they also genuinely love and value each other. “Marley is a powerhouse,” Kailey says. “She does so much. ABOB couldn’t have happened without her, and it’s been really fun because we both came to cycling, we both ride bikes and do the same biking disciplines… and we’re both bigger people… but we ride bikes for different reasons and we ride them differently, so it’s been important for me to unpack that not all fat people ride bikes the same way or do anything the same. We’re all different people. Plus, now it’s fun because we’re friends and we get to travel around together.”
Marley is quick to respond with Kailey’s skill sets as well. “My favorite things about working with Kailey is that she’s a voice of reason for me. We have a weekly check in with each other. Kailey’s a grad student getting her PHD, and she helps me be strategic about things, and not just do the bright shiny thing that came up recently. I feel like we balance each other really well.”
Marley and Kailey sea bound at the end of a rewarding (and a little muddy) ride from Corvallis (in the Willamette Valley) to the Pacific Ocean!
There are many ways in which you can support ABOB, but what’s the best way to get involved? Email Marley and Kailey on the website, check out the interactive Facebook group, and be on the lookout for new chapters starting soon. Marley and Kailey want support “spreading the ethos of it. Any ride is a good ride. You don’t have to look a certain way. And then be an ally as much as possible. If you’re buying a jersey from a brand that only goes up to an XL, ask them to be more size inclusive. The more they hear that, the faster the industry will change, and the easier it’ll be for the rest of us.”
Beyond that, check out their movie and photos just updated from their Independence ride.
The Independence is offering anyone riding with ABOB a 25% discount on their rooms that weekend and beyond (for cyclists wanting to explore the region)! We can’t wait to host you as you get ready to ride!
Update on Post – Photos from ABOB’s Independence Ride
*All Photos of the Independence Ride by Gritchelle Fallesgon, @gritchelle
ABOB took over the Wheatland Ferry!
Exploring the scenic roads around The Independence!
*All photos in this post from the All Bodies on Bikes website and Instagram, Except for the Independence Ride, which are from Gritchelle Fallesgon, social: @gritchelle