A Firsthand Experience – Summer Healing

As we gear up for summer, we’ve got a lot of extra wattage going for us this year. Each May, we begin the Frame Program, which offers a sacred cycle of healing for victims of sexual assault and abuse by providing traditional therapy, mountain bike coaching, and a safe and supportive community. We know you’ve heard this before.  As a former Sacred Cycle volunteer, and now seasonal Participant Clinical Coordinator, today I shine a light on the participant experience so you can know how to support them.

This year’s program holds the largest number of participants we’ve ever had, and I am ready to get to work!


How it Works

The Frame Program is a season-long (five-month) journey each participant embarks upon that provides clinical support and empowerment outdoors so the womxn we work with can reconnect to their minds and bodies as they find healing. The program has three pillars – therapy, mountain biking, and community.

01. Partnering clinical and alternative modality therapists and providers gives our participants a well-rounded path to healing through 2 hour-long therapy sessions and 2 alternative therapy sessions per month. Each participant chooses her own therapist and alternative modality. Our programming committee encourages trying out a variety of options. Alternative therapies that have worked wonders for our participants include:

    • Acupuncture
    • Art Therapy
    • Equine Therapy
    • Nutrition Counseling
    • Massage Therapy
    • Reiki Healing
    • Trauma-Informed Yoga

“I found the program so helpful and empowering. The equine therapy work was so powerful in reminding me about boundaries and giving me a firsthand experience of how it feels to create and have them respected. The yoga therapy taught me about the power of yoga and breathwork to pull myself out of a possible trigger or stressful situation. “ ~Sacred Cycle alumni

art therapy

Art therapy

02. Mountain bike coaches in each of our three regions to allow participants to experience the magic of being in the saddle in a one-on-one learning environment. As our lead mountain bike coach, Erik DaRosa conveys, our focus is, in order of importance is “safety, fun, learning. When you have the first two, the third naturally occurs.” Each participant gets two customized sessions plus a group ride per month, and athletic goods, in addition to the community rides.

Tip: Why do we choose a bike as our healing tool of choice? Watch The Ride Life 20-minute conversation between Liz Koch of The Ride Life and Clare Hefferren of Sacred Cycle. Click to watch.

03. The third pillar – Community – was added in 2019 when it was clear the participants and alumni need friends to ride with and rely on when the program ended. Using the weekly donation-based community rides provided a safe place to feel welcomed and make friends while riding bikes. While the program ends in the Fall, the friends continue on!

Alumni Evolution

Now in our fifth year of programming, we are thrilled to welcome back alumni who want to return to support the active participants. In addition to the public events, alum opportunities to engage (confidentially) with participants may include group therapy, group rides, and mentorship. Continually asking for feedback from willing alumni allow the program to evolve and improve – they are an essential part of our community. Our goal is to provide participants with tools that will ground them and aid them in continued healing for years to come.

“It is not enough to just say thank you. Sacred Cycle is irreplaceable in my life. The women of Sacred Cycle carry such power. Each conversation and story brings me hope and connection to the spirit of thriving through survival. There are such layers within each of us and the bond we hold doesn’t actually need to be spoken. Your words will ground and guide me through the next place in my journey.” ~ Sacred Cycle alumni

The Future is Female

As more womxn get involved in the world of mountain biking, mindfulness is key to utilizing the full healing power of the sport whether for trauma therapy or general personal growth. We love to see womxn like Anita Naidu, Jen Kyle Whalen, and Mirna Valerio creating space for badass gals to get dirty and ride while leading with inclusivity and empathy.
There is room for everyone who wants to experience healing and growth through our sliver of the world in Sacred Cycle. Want to be a part of our community? Join us online now, and then come out to one of our community rides throughout the summer to see the power of Sacred Cycle for yourself.

Picnic table 2020

2020 Final Community Ride & picnic to follow.

“Just remember that you’re doing something avant-garde, something that makes some people probably feel uncomfortable….and you are challenging the status quo…you are change-makers and that takes so much guts and even more time…. In the long term you are making an impact, and I am so impressed”. Fiona Ryan from Caps for a Cause

As we continue to evolve, know that we are doing our best to expand as viable within our allowable budget. We welcome your nationwide ideas to increase our awareness, increase participants and grow our impact. Drop us a comment and let’s chat!

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