“Every moment is a fresh beginning.”- T. S. ELIOT
Who is Leigh Donovan?
Leigh is a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mom, a friend, a bike racer, an entrepreneur, a coach, a business owner, a passionate bike enthusiast, and possibly a few other things, but we will stop there. With her love of dancing and singing and a voice that can carry through a football stadium, Leigh has been known to be the life of the party with a memorable laugh, known to make someone’s day or totally annoy them :-).
At age 11, Leigh fell in love with the bike. Back then it was a BMX bike, today it is a mountain bike. As a youth, in addition to being a BMX national champion, she was a competitive runner, roller-skater and softball player.
During middle school she was voted “class clown” which bothered her, as she felt she was more of the “best athlete,” yet school sports were not her forte and she never did win the “best athlete” award. After years of focusing on being better than the award, she figured it out and began to focus on her results, not the awards.
By age 20, she found mountain biking and felt like she was “home”. Winning many races, championships and traveling around the world for almost a decade was such a huge “gift” as she called it. The racing turned into a successful career (with lots of awards) helping Leigh launch ichoosebikes, a place where riders can find their best; their best on the bike and possibly in their own lives.
After her racing career, Leigh proved she could be successful off the bike too, opening a retail ‘Contemporary fashion’ clothing boutique (her other passion is shopping and fashion) with friend Jennifer Gabrielli, naming it Tangerine. The store was a space where Leigh feels she grew up…or as she would put it, “The first day we opened the store I was calling each customer DUDE and I quickly realized I may have to grow my vocabulary a little, it was humbling to say the least.” Tangerine was a place where both women and men were welcomed and they came for great conversation, fabulous clothes and some of the best customer service you’ll ever find. After almost 9 years of owning the store, Leigh and Jenn were tired of the unstable retail environment and the stress had began to effect their health. They both decided to change directions and closed Tangerine in 2011. Leigh was saddened to say goodby to her retail life, but she also missed her friends in the bike industry and wanted to get back to her roots. Today, ichoosebikes works with over 1200 riders a year and Leigh feels so lucky to do what she does. Come join Leigh out on the trails and come “home”.
Here are some pictures of our team at Tangerine. This was a beautiful family of women, who changed my life, I will forever be grateful for the experience.
This is Leigh’s family. The are small but mighty and have figured one thing out on their journey of life, which Leigh tells her daughter often, “Don’t compare your life to anyone else’s and do what you love, then you’ll always be exactly where you are meant to be.” Enjoy the ride!
- 2014-Launched ichoosebikes with a goal to get more women riding bikes.
- 2002-Current: Bike instructor and event organizer for Ray’s MTB women’s events
- 2004-2016: Camp Del Corazon sponsor and volunteer for the DAVI golf tournament
- 2012-Current: Ride Leader ‘Saturday group rides’ at Troy Lee Designs boutique – Laguna Beach, CA
- 1997-2002: NORBA (USA Cycling) Board member “Athlete Representative”
- Nominated in 2001 for Richard Long Sportsmanship award
- 1996 Grand Marshall “Tour de Cure”, Charity ride in L.A. for Diabetes
- 1996 Grand Marshall of “American Heart Association” Ride in L.A. to benefit Heart disease studies
- 1995 Nominated as “Female Cyclist of The Year” for Korbel Night of Champions