When you meet Ann Tardy, you will have no doubt that she is up for the challenge of a six week, 70-mile-a-day bike tour. Bubbly and genuine, Tardy talks not just with her hands, but with her whole body, as she shifts her weight from foot to foot with a little hop, reliving stories of the people she met the last time she jumped on a bike for a few thousand miles for what she has dubbed, the Moxie Ride.
The last time it was from California to New Jersey to combine a lifelong dream of cross country cycling and a business built on motivating managers. Life Moxie is Tardy's company that teaches business leaders how to mentor their employees - through Tardy's own software, books and speaking engagements.
She first hit the road in search of people who love their jobs, but there she came up empty. Then she realized the right question to ask was, "What is it about your job that you love?"
Turns out, people had a lot to say to that question. And answers tended to fall into two categories: "I love helping people with my work," and "I love to help my team."
That was true for the flagger in Nevada and the garbage collector in New Jersey.
This time Tardy will ride from Key West, FL to Bar Harbor, ME, armed with that same question. The ride will start May 26 and end on July 4.
When she talks about her research, interviewing average working Americans about what motivates them at work, and what gets them through the obstacles of life, you can hear that she can't wait to get back on the road again.
The former Silicon Valley attorney launched her company about seven years ago, and put into practice her passion for building teams and motivating people to success. But it wasn't until she turned 40 that Tardy finally got the moxie to put foot to pedal to achieve her own cross country dream. It wasn't just hardships like a knee injury and bike accident that delayed the idea she hatched in law school, but also the inertia of normal work-a-day life.
"I got busy," she said, "and 20 years flew by."
When Tardy realized she could cycle, promote her business and do research in one six-week journey, she was off pedaling. "It's exactly what I talk about," she said, "having the courage to create your own circumstances."
From the cross country ride, Tardy and a filmmaker created a documentary of what she calls America's work moxie. But that effort took nine months. This time around the Moxie Ride team will post a YouTube video every night from one of the day's interviews.
This time she's also added a virtual ride where you can create your own video to become part of Tardy's research, and because everybody loves prizes, it will qualify you to win an iPad.
Every day, Tardy will ride 70 miles with her law school friend Jeff Furnia and interview folks along the way. Tardy's support team is busy lining up public events where Tardy can pull in with her RV wrapped in the MoxieRide2 logo and also businesses to partner with along the way.
Here at home, Cliff Wittenberg of Bike Haven will lend his support, and also his wrenches and inner tubes. This shop owner built a custom Serrota bike for Tardy for her last trek. Bike Haven will also hold a media launch party for the Moxie Ride 2 team on Friday May 11 at 6 p.m. Customers, friends, media and curious onlookers are invited to meet Tardy and watch the Moxie Ride trailer.
The decidedly more mellow Wittenberg likes to tease Tardy about her boundless energy. "You're exhausting," he says. But the truth, is he and Tardy have been riding friends for years. Tardy says that Wittenberg likes to pass on the cycling moxie more than he does selling bikes to people. "Cliff cheers people on to biking."
In two years, to celebrate his 60th birthday, Tardy plans to get him out from behind the bike counter with a northern cross country ride. To that, Wittenberg gives a silent nod. He knows there's no getting out of this one.
Check out the Moxie Ride blog on Patch.