Hobbies are great ways for individuals to spend their hard-earned free time, especially if their work takes them away from home. For Bridget Portier, the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride provided more than just the means for her hobby to do more than just get her to exercise and meet with friends: it gave her a way to support women and families dealing with breast cancer.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a Houston native who has worked in Hospitality/Tourism for over 20 years. I started my hospitality career in Houston, Texas in 1996, then a promotion required a relocation to Dallas in 2005. Ten years later, I moved to Newport Beach, California for another exciting career opportunity. After a year in California, I was ready to head back to Texas. In 2016, I joined the amazing team at Visit Austin, the destination marketing organization for this terrific city. I am single. No kids, but I have two beautiful nieces and two awesome nephews who I adore. My brother and his family live in Spring, Texas, just north of Houston. I am a food and beverage enthusiast, so in my free time I love to try new restaurants, breweries or wineries. I also enjoy hiking, biking and sailing.
Why do you ride?
In 2017, I took a few classes at SoulCycle and I loved it. So, it occurred to me that if I enjoyed riding a stationary bike, I’d really enjoy riding outdoors. I decided I wanted to invest in a good street bike and start exploring Austin. I saw it as a great opportunity to meet people and build a community of friends, especially since I’m still relatively new to the city. I started training with a novice group organized by Performance Bike Shop on South Lamar. One Saturday following a training ride, one of the guys from Performance Bike Shop told me about Texas Mamma Jamma Ride. I have two cousins who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, so I knew immediately that I wanted to join the cause and give my new hobby a higher purpose.
How do you prepare for the ride?
I like training in the morning. I start with a hot breakfast and plenty of water. When I train alone, I usually head over to the Veloway and get in 10–15 miles. I also enjoy riding Southern Walnut Creek trail. I usually take a 1-hour nap after I’ve enjoyed a nice long ride.
What stands out to you personally about Texas Mamma Jamma Ride?
Before completing my first Texas Mamma Jamma Ride, what really stood out to me was how organized the training rides were and how welcomed I felt right from the start. It felt like a community. There is a synergy and camaraderie among the riders that is just so authentic. I looked forward to the training rides week after week because even if I didn’t meet someone new or strike up a great conversation with another rider (which happen during most training rides), I always enjoyed the energy of this group. That energy is passion, perseverance, and persistence all rolled together. It’s simply amazing.
What is one thing you'd say to convince a friend or family member to join you in the ride?
The Texas Mamma Jamma Ride is raising money for breast cancer, which of course is a worthy cause, but riding along survivors was the most inspiring experience because it is proof that early detection is so important. Riding with these men and women inspire hope not just for a cure, but for a better tomorrow when women can get the care they need and the cure they deserve.
By Christian Mariano, Communications Intern