Beyond the bike: Facebook group creates inclusive cyber community

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Last year when social distancing and stay at home orders took over our lives, many of us felt disconnected.

From Zoom happy hours to virtual group workouts, we as humans did as we always do: adjust. Whether it’s a global pandemic or an unexpected challenge, we adapt.

Lindsay Gurbacki and Amanda Newton created an online community that began as a way to connect with like-minded people in Nashville, but turned into a virtual support group she never envisioned would be so badly needed.

“All of this outpouring of love and hope were extended and I couldn’t get over it and I was like, “oh my gosh, this community is amazing,” said Gurbacki.

The online community was a Facebook Group by the name of “Nashville Peloton Tribe” for fellow at-home cyclers to come together.

“Here’s a community of people who just love loving on people and love supporting their tribe members.”

But the support goes well beyond the bike. Despite having nearly two thousand members, the group is close-nit. The Nashville Peloton Tribe is fairly new so members are still getting comfortable with one another, but in other Facebook Peloton groups, Gurbacki says the conversation can get heavy.

“People share very personal things, like, I’m getting divorced or I lost my mom.”

It was no different when she shared her own personal struggles. Gurbacki’s neighbor’s son, Atticus, was suffering from childhood cancer and although powerless, she felt strength in sharing and the power of virtual arms wrapping around her.

“I would say at least a thousand people commented and 18 people rode with me twice that day. They rode with me at 9:30 on a live ride when he was going into surgery and they rode again with me at 6:30 because he was getting out of surgery around that time. I mean, these people don’t know me from Adam.”

They weren’t there in person, but the impact still left a mark.

“I was blown away. Here are people who are home, their kids are probably at home, they’re trying to work, and they took the 30 minutes out of their day to do this with me just to be supportive. I don’t know what people that don’t have this do.”

Although we can’t always be there for one another physically, this group creates a space to be there virtually. With a physical element of course.

“No judgement. It’s, I’ve started my fitness journey ten years ago and then I had two babies and I just can’t get back on the bike. Or, I’m struggling with this personal thing in my life and I just don’t want to exercise. I just don’t want to. Or, I’m starting a New Years resolution and I need an accountability buddy. Everywhere you go, in every part of this community, it’s about being supportive of your fitness journey.”

The internet sometimes (rightfully) gets a bad rap, but the Nashville Peloton Tribe aims to be of the bright spots.

“You know, obviously the last couple of months online has been a very hateful place to be and it’s just another reminder of how supportive and loving it can be.”

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