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Rider Spotlight: Aurora Straus

Hi, everyone! My name is Aurora Straus. I am a professional race car driver and a Harvard student – and the most excited new partner with the Handle Bar.

Almost a full year ago, I stumbled into The Handle Bar at Harvard Square for the first time. I had just had a rewarding (but very long) day at work in Boston, and the commute home was chilly, and plagued with delays from the T. I was desperate for a way to quickly blow off steam, and the hint of blasting music as I walked by drew me in. I ended up on a spare bike.

I’ve never been more pleasantly surprised in my life. A year later, I go to the Handle almost every day. It’s an amazing way to cross-train, have some fun, and do what I love with the people I love!

The Handle Bar may seem too fun to be an effective workout, but trust me – coming from a professional athlete, it will kick your butt every single day. I’ve noticed a distinct difference in my ability to stay sharp in the racecar for as long as possible. Just when you think you’re out of steam, the amazing instructors at the Handle Bar (shoutout to Raisa!) will push you one song longer. I walk out of every 45-minute session almost as sweaty as I am when I jump out of the car. Going early in the morning jumpstarts my day, helps me cross-train effectively, and reminds me to have fun sometimes. After all, each class kind of feels like stepping into a nightclub – except it’s much more productive, and acceptable at 7 am.

One of my short-term goals here at Harvard is to establish a consistent routine. My life is (apologizing in advance for the cringeworthy analogy) a little bit Hannah Montana right now, in a good but stressful way. As a first-year student here after taking time off of school, I’m trying to take advantage of every resource at my disposal on campus. I’m studying English and Government, writing on the Crimson, and frequent the Starbucks in Harvard Square (it’s a good bet that you’ll find me there at 6 am or midnight – pick your poison). While adjusting to student life, I’m also trying to maintain a rigorous workout routine for racing, a busy traveling schedule, unsuccessfully to separate my racing and my school (hence the Hannah Montana reference) – but thanks to the Handle Bar, it’s been easier than ever for me to combine the two. The Handle Bar is the only thing that will get me out of bed at 6 am, and the best fix I have to a bad day. It makes cross-training fun, my mornings productive, and gets me moving with hours to spare for work!

One of my long-term goals is to empower girls to pursue difficult careers (particularly in male-dominated sports), push through adversity, and aim high. As an athlete in an extremely male-dominated field, I can speak firsthand to the value of good female role models. The Handle Bar has introduced me to some of the most motivating women I could possible ask for. Frequent riders are students, businesswomen, professors – you name it. The Handle Bar brings together a community of powerhouse Bostonians together for a fun-filled, stress-free 45 minutes.

If you’re looking to find me at the Handle Bar, check out 8:00 am (and the occasional afternoon) classes at Harvard Square or message me on Instagram at @aurorastraus! I’ll be on one of the bikes in the front, cheering my butt off and already looking forward to the next ride.

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