By Savanah Bandy
When Rebecca Lomshek purchased a bike in 1989, she never would’ve guessed how much that bike would change her life.
“I just wanted to save money and time getting to college,” she said. “It was great not having to worry about parking!”
Little did she know, her bike would lead her to her husband, her career and to her life’s passion. Rebecca is an artist, and cycling is a theme that comes up often in her work.
“Although our paths had crossed a few times before, my husband Roger and I ‘officially’ met in late 1991 when he repaired my bicycle,” Rebecca said. “Our first date was a bike ride! We dated for four months before our engagement and were married in December 1992. My engagement ring is an early ‘80s Vitus road bike.”
For the next decade, the couple’s lives revolved around bike rides and races. Roger raced in the pro-circuit for a few years in the late ‘80s and into the ‘90s. In 1993, Roger and Rebecca both won the Kansas State Mountain Bike Championship in their respective classes.
In 2000, the couple decided to open a bike shop so they could share their passion with their community of Pittsburg, Kansas. They opened Tailwind Cyclists in spring 2000.
For 22 years, Tailwind was more than a bicycle store – it was the go-to resource in Pittsburg for all things cycling.
“A big reason we opened the shop was to provide quality service to bikes. Roger is an amazing mechanic and really cares for bikes and that they work as they should,” Rebecca said.
“And we loved the people. We are and were blessed to meet wonderful people from all walks of life. Pittsburg is on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail – also known as Bikecentennial – which brings cyclists not only from America but all over the world.”
In 2003, Roger started the Gorilla Century. This annual 100-mile ride started as a nod to Pittsburg State University’s 100th anniversary. Today, it’s a premier cycling event in Pittsburg and beyond. Riders can choose from 38-, 62- or 100-mile paved routes or a 62-mile gravel route.
“PSU’s 100th year happened to coincide with the 100th year of the Tour de France. We’ve found that we love showing off our community to cycling visitors when sponsoring the Gorilla Century and various other road bike events, criteriums, time trials and road races.”
Over the years, the couple have ridden thousands of miles together and have been on tons of family rides with their three kids: Michael (24), Ethan (21) and Ella (9).
“It was fun riding as a family with the boys in their bike seats or ‘chariots.’ I also remember many a fast group ride while pregnant! We get out weekly with Ella. Michael mountain bikes some, but his interests lie in other forms of workout. Ethan is currently working at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico as a program counselor for a mountain bike camp. He also worked a few summers at Camp Arrowhead with their mountain bike program.”
Rebecca said she has enjoyed every ride with her family, from the epic rides to simple toodles around the neighborhood.
“I will say I have many fond memories of our early years when life was simple. We lived in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, for 3 years, and we loved riding on road. It was in the mid ‘90s that Lake Leatherwood trail was being developed for mountain biking, and we were there when it was starting up.”
Last year, the couple decided to enter a new phase and closed Tailwind Cyclists.
“The step back has been bittersweet, that is for sure,” Rebecca said. “We are sad to bring Tailwind to a close but look forward to new opportunities. We are still riding and look forward to many more rides with friends new and old.”
Find artwork by Rebecca Lomshek at VennGirlStudio.com.