TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Juli Derry-Worthington is a Pennsylvania transplant who wanted to keep up her exercise regime of bike riding, but couldn’t get accustomed to riding in the Florida heat. However, she didn’t feel safe riding her bike at night, even with standard safety equipment. She turned to her husband, Dan, for help, asking him to put as many lights as possible on her bike.
“The more lights. the merrier for me,” Juli laughs.
Together, the couple covered her bicycle in LED lights, and soon Juli was hitting the road. Her sparkling bike made her feel safer, and came with an unexpected benefit: she was peddling happiness!
“If I don’t ride for a week, people will say to me ‘you haven’t come down my street,'” she said. “I didn’t realize people were waiting for me!”
Soon other “night riders” wanted their bikes to “get lit” too. Juli, who had been laid off from her longtime job, started researching lighting kits and showing other cyclists how to apply them. Sometimes, she’d offer to spruce up bikes, too.
Now, dozens of bicyclists roll with Juli on her evening rides, and on the weekends upwards of 50 cyclists get together for special rides. The riders coordinate trips through a Facebook group that Juli set up, called Let’s Glow Riding. Recently, the group went on a tour of St. Petersburg’s murals.
Juli says she’s still not used to the reaction her “biker gang” gets from people.
“One time, I heard all of this noise in front of us, clapping and screaming,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on, and then I realized people were clapping for us!”
Juli welcomes the positive reactions because she says it accomplishes what she’d hoped for all along.
“This is about safety, and we do safety in a fun way,” she said.
Juli hopes to grow the group, and wants to expand her message about bike safety, particularly focusing on young people.
Anyone is welcome to ride with the Let’s Glow Riding group. Join the Facebook page, here. And Juli, who is no longer unemployed, still maintains her side job of decorating bicycles with LED lights. Learn more about that, at this link.