Interview with Teresa Disessa

In celebration of Women’s Month, we caught up with Squirt Cycling ambassador Teresa Disessa, also known as Piccola Ciclista. A lady who unselfishly dedicates almost all her free time to cycling ensuring continued growth and development in her community. Her passion for the sport is as infectious as her smile.

Let’s find out more about Teresa and where this passion comes from.


Who is Teresa Disessa?

I am someone that loves the sport and community of cycling, and because of this love, I dedicate much of my non-professional life to it. In 2004, I created Riptide-Cawes Cycling, to which I have been the owner and manager since. Riptide-Cawes Cycling is the platform which enables me to support other riders and racers as they pursue their bike racing dreams, while also enabling me to provide mentorship and support aspiring riders in the region. I am also a Level 3 National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) coach ensuring the future of cycling remains to grow and run my own cycling coaching business to help athletes conquer new goals and achieve new levels of fitness. I actively give back to the cycling community by hosting rides and non-riding educational and social events. Also, since 2004, I have been an ambassador for Brielle Cyclery.

Where is home?

Cream Ridge, NJ

When did you fall in love with bikes?

I’ve always had a love for bikes since childhood, mainly as a means of transportation to get to school, sport practices, and work. However, my true love of bikes really came during a difficult period following the tragic loss of my sister. Biking became a source of comfort and connection.  Riding allowed me to meet new people and find a sense of joy and purpose when I needed it most. It’s due to this experience that I found an even deeper love for cycling, realizing its power to not only me but also found the love of helping others get into this amazing sport.

What is it that attracts you to the sport?

I was drawn in by the sense of freedom and adventure it offers. As I immersed myself deeper into the cycling community, I discovered the amazing connections and friendships that formed along the way. Cycling became more than just a hobby; it became a passion fueled by the camaraderie, support, and the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

You are a passionate cycling coach and focus mainly on women and young riders. Is this correct?

This is correct, I am the owner and manager of a cycling team that predominantly focuses on women and youth riders. I am also a personal cycling coach, and a Level 3 NICA coach.

Why coaching and how did this come about?

Having been coached myself in the past, I learned good and bad practices of others, and I saw an opportunity to provide a service that I never received. Ultimately, I love to help people and I get a lot of satisfaction in witnessing the success and growth of others. There's nothing quite like seeing individuals work hard to achieve their personal goals and knowing that I played a role in supporting and guiding them along the way. Whether it's helping someone improve their skills, overcome fitness challenges, achieve racing results, just being a part of their journey and seeing them grow brings me a sense of fulfillment.

 A highlight of being a coach?

A highlight of being a team owner and coach is witnessing the growth and development of riders of all ages, fitness levels and skill levels. It's incredibly rewarding to see riders progress not only in their skills and abilities on the bike but also in their confidence and leadership. Watching people overcome challenges, set and achieve goals, and support each other along the way is truly inspiring. Being a part of their journey from beginners to seasoned riders is a privilege and reminds me of the positive impact that cycling can have on individuals of all ages.

 Are there any downsides to being a coach?

Being a team owner and coach comes with its challenges, especially when balancing it with a demanding career and my own personal cycling goals, it’s a constant juggling act between my professional career outside of cycling and my commitments to the team/coaching. There are moments when I wish I had more time to dedicate to coaching, mentoring, and supporting my riders, but the demands of my career sometimes take precedence. However, despite these challenges, I remain deeply committed to fostering a positive and supportive environment for my team, even if it means finding creative ways to manage my time effectively.

Favorite Food?

As a self-proclaimed foodie, it’s tough one to choose just one. But if I had to pick one nothing beats a good authentic Mexican dish.

Strangest food you were thinking of while riding?

Potato Chips I have a thing for chips and feel like they give me superpowers when I need it.

Lucky charm?

My lucky charm is undoubtedly my husband Jeff. He consistently supports me through all my cycling endeavors and beyond, providing encouragement and support in all that I do including coaching, owning and managing a team, and community give back.

What do you always take on a trip?

Epi Pen, I never know when I am going to come across a nut. Tree nuts that is due to my severe allergy.

You’re favorite Squirt Cycling Product?

The natural answer is the drip wax chain lube, but I also love the bike wash!

 The best tip for MTB beginners?

The best tip for MTB beginners is to start slow, focus on building fundamental skills, and don't be afraid to ask for help or guidance from experienced riders. Practice proper body positioning, braking, and shifting techniques in a controlled environment before tackling more challenging trails and recognize that it's okay to take breaks and walk sections that feel too difficult. Most importantly, always prioritize safety and have fun exploring as much as you can as there is a whole world of out there!

I like my coffee… black.

I would love to go ride with… I would love to go riding with Jolanda Neff. Her passion for women's cycling is truly inspiring, and I believe she is an amazing role model for women, especially for our youth in cycling. It aligns perfectly with my focus on mentoring women and youth in cycling.

The secret to happiness… is experiencing amazing things with good company, whether that be family or friends.

 My greatest exhilaration… comes from helping others, especially helping younger riders discover their potential and overcome obstacles.

I fear… heights.

 Passion… fostering a community where riders of all levels can thrive and grow.

When I wake up… I like to lay in bed and wait for my husband to make coffee and cook me the best breakfast to fuel my ride :)

I wish… for every rider to experience the transformative power of cycling and use it to become a better person.

I rage… against self-doubt and lack of confidence.

Rider Profile’s

  • Name: Teresa DiSessa
  • Nickname: Piccola
  • Age: 49
  • Birthdate: 1/31
  • Birthplace: Ridgewood, NJ
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Shoe size: 8