1×10: Hugh Share, Cycle St. Louis, Sustainability/Water Security Advisor

Welcome to 1×10, where we ask 1 inspiring human 10 questions about how they are using cycling as a force for good. Read on to meet Hugh Share, Coordinator for the non-profit Cycle St. Louis, Sustainability/Water Security Advisor, Lover of the Outdoors, and Cycling Enthusiast! Hugh and I met at a sustainability conference and as we got chatting, we both learned we had a love of cycling and that’s where the conversation went! And while I knew he was a sustainability leader, I didn’t know he was so active in the cycling and cycling with disabilities community in his home of St. Louis. Read more to learn about Hugh’s most memorable ride, his favorite bike, how he’s making cycling more inclusive, and more in his 1×10 interview.

1. How / why did you fall in love with cycling?

I remember riding a bike from a very young age in our neighborhood in Syracuse, NY. We had a “bike gang” called the Delray Devils (our street name). It was our mode of transportation and way to explore the area, even in high school. A group of us used to strap fishing poles and other camping equipment to our bikes and ride about 15 miles to a lake and fish all day. The sense of freedom and independence of traveling by bike still excites me.

“A group of us used to strap fishing poles and other camping equipment to our bikes and ride about 15 miles to a lake and fish all day.”

2. Favorite Bike (that you own or covet)?

I have a fleet and ride them all, including a mint condition 1974 Schwinn Paramount. On most days, I find myself riding a homemade single-speed from a late 80s frame. It has beer bottle tops for end-caps and where the shifters used to be, and lots of stickers. It’s my go to and satisfies my hipster tendencies! 

3. What’s the most memorable ride you’ve done, and what happened?

Our first MS 150 with Delta Gamma Center’s Tandem Adventurer team in 2006. We took six blind and visually impaired children to the MS 150 in Columbia, MO for a season-ending challenge ride. We had a blast and were completely wiped out on Sunday when we crossed the finish line, with tears of joy and pride. The “children” are now adults in their mid-20s and still talk about that ride. 

“We had a blast and were completely wiped out on Sunday when we crossed the finish line, with tears of joy and pride.”

4. Who do you admire in the cycling world?

My twin brother, Ike. He is the most courteous cyclist I’ve met – he can hammer but will always ride with the slowest person, cheering them on and helping them fall in with love cycling. He’s a retired special ed teacher and my counselor in working with people with disabilities. He also does a lot of work with the Ride for Missing Children in the Albany, NY area and is a killer mechanic.

“…he can hammer but will always ride with the slowest person, cheering them on and helping them fall in with love cycling.”

5. Top tip for a new rider, or a cyclist about to take on a new challenge?

Keep it simple. Don’t worry about looking good or your equipment, just focus on feeling good and enjoying the beauty of cycling. IT’S ALL CYCLING.

6. Favorite trend or innovation in cycling?

There are now so many adapted cycle options, people with disabilities have a better chance of finding something that works for them. E-cycles and E-adapted cycles take that to another level.

7. What are you doing to use cycling as a force for good?

I’m the Coordinator of Cycle St. Louis, a partnership of organizations and individuals committed to creating cycling opportunities for people with disabilities in the St. Louis Metro area. I’m also a tandem captain for Delta Gamma Center’s Tandem Adventurer’s program, riding weekly with blind and visually impaired children. Experiencing the joy people feel when cycling is magical. 

I also believe that being an ambassador is important, which to me means: moving by my own power whenever I can, following the rules of the rode, being welcoming to all I encounter along the way, and trying to stay level-headed (work in progress).

“I’m the Coordinator of Cycle St. Louis, a partnership of organizations and individuals committed to creating cycling opportunities for people with disabilities in the St. Louis Metro area.”

8. Thinking about the work you’re doing, what do you see as the potential change for people or the planet? If you are successful, what impact will you have?

Often, people with disabilities face a number of challenges in realizing the amazing benefits that cycling provides. About 15-20% of our population has a disability so there is a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of all people and our communities through cycling. How great would it be if the cycling demographics represented the demographics of our communities? 

“About 15-20% of our population has a disability so there is a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of all people and our communities through cycling.”

9. What’s your biggest challenge/obstacle to success?

Just financing an adapted cycle is difficult and because they’re so big, transporting them to safe places to ride can be a challenge. Cycle St. Louis is confident it can overcome these challenges but we also need to engage on infrastructure and transportation policy. Generally, infrastructure is poor for all of us but people with disabilities who ride adapted cycles face extra challenges.

“Generally, infrastructure is poor for all of us but people with disabilities who ride adapted cycles face extra challenges.”

10. How can people help? Where can they learn more about your work?

We need to wear a people-with-disability hat and bring representatives from that community into cycling and transportation discussions and planning. The attitudes of others have the greatest impact on access to recreation and cycling as a mode of transportation for people with disabilities. As cyclists we need to embrace inclusion, paving the way for others to do so as well.  For those interested in helping Cycle St. Louis, please visit our website.

“We need to wear a people-with-disability hat and bring representatives from that community into cycling and transportation discussions and planning.”

Hugh Share is a coordinator for non-profit, Cycle St. Louis. He is also a sustainability/water security advisor, lover of the outdoors, and cycling enthusiast. When not advocating for more inclusive cycling you can find him cruising the streets of St. Louis, MO!

Edited by John Kim. When he’s not out for a ride, John uses his expertise in Corporate Social Responsibility to help companies do well by doing good. Find him at virtcyc@gmail.com or VirtCyc on twitter or instagram.

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