Autumn Wade of Island Ride
Full of spunk and laughter, Autumn is one of the most refreshing people to be around. She holds nothing back and is as raw and honest as they come. Its this authenticity in her, where she shares the good with the bad, that inspires a response of the same vulnerability. It empowers anyone in her midst to own their story and not be afraid of what they face - even if its just their first spin class. Island Ride just turned 2 and here's what Autumn has to say about the journey that brought her to this point.
Launching an Indoor Cycling Studio is quite different from your "Day Job" - tell us about what you did (and still do part-time) before launching Island Ride? Do these relate at all?
I have worked as an aviation insurance agent for 19 years and counting. It's been a job that offers stability and consistency and I’ve learned so much over all these years. Opening the indoor cycling studio was a complete 180 -- from a job where the whole goal is to minimize risk, to an endeavor that’s all risk! But with that risk comes so much opportunity for creativity, something I’ve never had doing insurance. The job and my business are actually the complete opposite of each other - one is mind numbing and repetitive and the other is exhilarating and life giving.
What was the spark that made you decide to take the risk and launch Island Ride? Originally I attended college with the intent of being a small business owner. My very first boss was a woman who completely inspired me. Working for her encouraged me to pursue my Associates Degree in Small Business Management. But somewhere along the way I lost track of my goals and I began to just follow the steps of the job I accepted after graduating, aviation insurance. I was just going through the motions without really thinking about whether or not I was working in a business I truly had any interest in. I lost my passion along the way and became almost robotic, mechanical.
I remember the day my friend and colleague quit after more than 20 years with the company. I watched as the company just let her go and the machine kept moving along without her. There was no recognition of her contributions or honoring her work. It was a huge wake up call and I realized I needed to take a second look at what I was pouring my heart and soul into and if it was actually worth it. I was investing all this time into something that wasn’t mine.
I had been working remotely for such a long time and the isolation was starting to wear on me. I have always loved indoor cycling so I bought a Peloton and thought, this is really fun but still very lonely. I wanted to ride with others and feel that sense of community. This is what sparked Island Ride - a desire to stay healthy within a positive community of support.
Do you enjoy taking risks? What is your typical approach to trying new/different things?
I guess I’m a closet risk taker - it terrifies me but I love it at the same time. I love the challenge of thinking, can I make this work? It forces me to be creative and the pressure shows me what I am capable of - I feel alive! In order to take a risk I need a “safety net”. For me this has meant running a studio while still doing aviation insurance. I need reassurance that I can make it work before making a bigger transition.
For you, what makes something worth taking a risk?
It has to be for something that I can see, the result being visible and tangible. It also has to engage my creative side. Risk is more fun when it requires creativity. It exercises that creative muscle I never knew I had before and I become better at it over time.
What has been a memorable or milestone moment that stands out from the last 2 years of running this business?
The first time that we had back to back completely booked evening classes. I felt in awe and full of gratitude that people were showing up to be here with us. In a way it proved my worthiness. I knew I was creating something valuable by the response we were receiving.
What do you love most about being on Rice street in Lihue?
I feel like Rice Street is in this exciting transition, it’s like the quiet before the storm. Things are happening and Rice Street has so much potential to be something entirely unique on the island. I love the camaraderie of being a small business right now in Lihue too - there will be a time 10 years from now when we will all look back and say, “remember when . . . .”. I love that!
What is your hidden super power in being an indoor cycling studio owner?
At times it seems like I have this unlimited amount of energy and truly believe it comes from my riders!
How does being a redhead make risk taking easier?
I was made fun of as a kid for having red hair and got used to standing out. It gave me an attitude of oh well, here goes.
What are you excited about for this coming year?
Finally transitioning out of the “safety net” of having my insurance job - and having more space and time to really make Island Ride even more amazing!
Favorite song lyric to get ramped up?
Skrillex Recess -- the beat really pushes me
But as far as inspiring lyrics…. I love the song Flames by Sia and David Guetta
Really the entire song is inspiring but especially the chorus speaks to me:
“Go, go, go
Figure it out, figure it out, but don't stop moving
Go, go, go
Figure it out, figure it out, you can do this”
Thank you Autumn for sharing your journey with us!
Check out class schedule and all the happenings at Island Ride HERE