Jen and Kaya, the mother-daughter duo, who ride often at StarCycle Cedar Mill, are two women whom anyone would be lucky to be friends with.
Jen gave birth to Kaya at 20 years old, leading both women to grow into best friends, Kaya heading to Kindergarten while her mother went back to school, the two used to work on homework together at their dining room table.
Now a 16-year-old enthusiastic yet humble teenager, Kaya serves as a reminder to many of us parents how level-headed and inspirational even our kids can become. Clare, her 6-year-old younger sister, enjoys accompanying both women to StarCycle as well.
Both Jen and Kaya started riding shortly after the Cedar Mill studio opened in 2015. A fitness enthusiast and massage therapist for over 10 years, Jen sees clients that “have that thing they love” and decided she too wanted that one physical activity she could love.
“I tried running,” she says. “I didn’t love it.”
“I tried pilates,” she says. “I didn’t love it.
Being a person who works with athletes every day, Jen says, “I’ve always worked out. I love hiking but you can’t hike trails every day with two kids, realistically. Naturally, being a massage therapist I do yoga too,” she says, “but that couldn’t be the only fitness thing I was doing, it wasn’t maintaining my strength enough.”
And then Jen went to help support her friend, Molly, as she was setting up shop at the new StarCycle studio in Cedar Mill.
“I didn’t think in a million years I’d like riding. But now, it’s that thing I love. I wake up and think ‘God, I hope I can find time to ride today!’”
“Lots of times it’s something inspirational the instructor says that keeps me going and helps me push myself on the bike,” says Jen. “They remind you to be fierce. To be primal. I love moments like that in life. I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie, jumping out of planes and stuff. You just don’t get that in your nine to five job.”
At StarCycle,” says Jen, “it’s like bringing out my adrenaline junkie again!”
Kaya says her inspiration stems from her mother. “She’s the mother of two really stubborn girls,” she laughs. “And she works so hard already and to hear her have time to get out and do something else that’s so challenging, yet fulfilling, is amazing.”
Kaya says she loves all the instructors she rides with but “Keelie just goes for it. She’s kinda hardcore and I like that.” Jen’s always raised her children to view health and wellness as a lifestyle. “I tell them, if you’re putting good things in your body, treating your body well, then you’ll be happy,” she says. “Wellness and happiness go together in every way and are engrained in everything.”
For Kaya, “it depends on who you hang out with. I just got back from Sunriver with a friend and we biked for an hour every day and we’d come back and eat a salad,” she says. “You depend on each other to keep you in the right space and remind you why you’re being healthy.”
With school coming up Kaya hopes she’s able to find time to continue to ride at StarCycle with her mom weekly.
And Jen’s not slowing down anytime soon. “I feel really darn lucky. I’m joining a team at a fitness studio in NW Portland to help assist the owner and bring my massage practice,” she says. “I’m kinda in that place where I’m just super thankful.”
Jen goes on to say she’d love to get property (and goats!) someday, and put the whole rat race aside.
Kaya shares her long list of dreams as well. But ultimately, “I just want to live happily,” she says. “I have this philosophy that I don’t need a lot to be happy. I mean I want success of course, but not at the expense of being humble,” she continues. “I’ve never needed a lot to be happy. I grew up being a really happy kid and I’ve seen so many other kids that just ask for so much and I don’t know, they’re never satisfied. School is a goal, to stay educated. And to take advantage of of everything at my fingertips.”
And to Kaya, that includes places like StarCycle.
“I go to StarCycle because I get to release all that pent up stress,” she says. “I just feel so good afterward.”
And let’s not forget 6-year-old Clare, Jen’s second daughter. What makes her happy? “My wonderful mother,” she says. “And StarCycle. I like to take care of the younger children when I go there.”
Hey Jen. You’re doing awesome. You’re a true Rockstar. Being a mother, massage therapist, rider and lover of life. You can’t do much better than that.
Jen sums up her feelings about how StarCycle helped complete that “love” of a puzzle piece she was looking for shape how she feels today: “I just want my family to stay healthy and keep enjoying abundance,” she says. “We don’t have much but our lives are super full.”