Trek Women

Susan Mele

Name:Susan Mele
Hometown:Bel Air, Maryland
Occupation:Stand-Up Comedian/Actress, Teacher and Mother of four

“I’m the One Woman Show”

Susan is best described as a “one woman show” and her talent certainly came to life in her essay where she so poignantly described her bike as her “saving grace” during her 40 months of pregnancy, 210 pound weight gain (and weight loss), 48 months of nursing, and the hormonal battlefield she called her body. Her viewpoint is a laugh a minute and surely something most women can relate to. She’s a bike advocate through and through. Her energy is contagious.

Nickname (and how you got it!):

Ok, so this is a little embarrassing but my nickname is Stinky. My husband likes to call me that because after I ride or workout I like to chill out, relax, have a snack or hang with the kids. He of course likes to jump immediately into the shower after he works out....which I don't do. So as a result he started calling me Stinky and it just stuck for 17 years. Luckily he is the only person that refers to me as Stinky.

Favorite place to ride:

I have done California Aids Rides a couple of times and I have to say LOVED riding along the Pacific Coast Highway. It is absolutely breathtaking. The only problem is that if you get too into the scenery you risk the chance of falling over one of the cliffs!

Describe the day you learned to ride?

I have older siblings that rode their bike and I wanted to do what they were doing. My father taught me how to ride on my brother Brian's bike. He was 20 months older than me so it was pretty darn cool that I was able to ride his bike with no training wheels. I learned right on the sidewalk in front of me house when I was about 5 years old. I had been working on it for a while and one day it just stuck. Once I could do it I was allowed to right back and forth in front of four houses on your block. For the next week or so I think I rode back and forth in front of those houses at lease a hundred times. I thought I was the greatest thing!

Most interesting thing you've seen on your bike:

So I don't know if this is the most interesting but it was definitely the craziest thing I've seen. I was out riding with our bike club, Harford Velo. We were doing a 35-mile ride and it was definitely hilly. It was fairly new route so everyone was not 100 percent familiar with the roads. We were going down a pretty steep long downhill and everyone was flying. The guy in front of me lost control and the next thing I know he is headed straight for a mailbox going super fast. He proceeds to hit it and then does an amazing flip over it. I could barely believe my eyes. I was sure he was dead but when I road up to him he said up and said, "I'm ok". Clearly the shock of it all hadn't hit him yet. He ended up shattering vertabrae or something like that but he was back on the bike in a few weeks. Absolutely nothing can stop some people!

Where you grew up:

I grew up in Chicago, Il... A very flat place to ride your bike.

What is the best part about living in Bel Air, Maryland?

The riding is by far the best part of Maryland. You can roll ride out of your house and in seconds be on one of the most scenic challenging rides. We have very easy access to all kinds of rural roads and parks.

Favorite meal:

All of them...I love to eat! For me riding and eating go hand and hand. If I ride I can eat, if I don't ride and then I eat, I'm in trouble! My all time favorite dish is pasta, preferably with lots of cheese, olive oil and garlic.

When you're not on your bike what are you doing?

Hanging out eating bon-bons watching my four children! The majority of my time is spent with my kids but then in my "free time" I work out, work part-time perform and write theatre.

Most admirable women – famous or not:

I love Lily Tomlin because she is so darn funny and does some incredibly great characters on stage. I also think Sandra Bernhardt in a great writer/performer that holds nothing back when she is on stage. My sister Beth is pretty cool and I admire her because she is 46 years old and is on her fourth career. She finds something she wants to do, does it really well and then moves on to something else that she wants to do. She is a multi-tasking overachiever AND she has 4 children. My friend Meg is also amazing. She has had some medical issues that she has been dealing with for a while but she never lets it get her down. She moves on with a smile and continues to push herself, as an athlete, a mother of four and a fundraiser. She is a dear friend and you would never know that anything was bothering her. These are all women that aspire to be more like every day.

Favorite memory on my bike:

I did a ride in Lancaster, PA and it was called the Nightmare Ride. It was 177 miles and had 11,000 feet of climbing. It was in August and it was about 102 degrees out. We did it in 15 hours and by the end I was delirious and everything was cracking me up. I don't think I ever laughed and worked so hard on my bike in a single day.

If your bike could talk what would it tell you?

My bike would say, "Lose a few pounds fat ass! Can't you see my top tube is bending?"

Who or what motivates you?

There are so many things and people that motivate me. Where to husband, my children, the voice inside my head. Ultimately the desire to be active and feel good on the inside and outside is what motivates me.

If you could pick three superpowers, what would they be and why?

First, I would pick flying. Come on who doesn't want to fly? I could be anywhere in a second and the view would be incredible! Second, I would pick the power to travel through time. I would love to be able to travel to Medieval times as well as into the future. Third, I would pick mind reading. I would always know what was going on with everyone around me. I could make a ton of money on the side being a psychic.