BIKE NOPA & Bikes and The City have spun out a new collaborative bike series, Women Who Bike. Each Monday and Wednesday, we will feature San Francisco women and their bicycles. Check both our blogs for the experiences, stories, and ideas that women who bike the city want to share with you.
Let us know your thoughts and leave comments for the featured riders!
All photos provided by Katie
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Women Who Bike: Katie Styer
How would you characterize your bicycling style? assertive, carefree, cautious, competitive, law abiding, slow and steady:
K. Since I’m on my bike for most of my waking hours, I’d say I employ most of these styles regularly however one might call me an assertive and competitive rider at first glance. As of late my favored style has been the law-abiding, slow and steady; affording me time to smell the roses, smile at passers-by and enjoy the initial virtues of bicycle riding which go oft unnoticed while riding hard and fast. It’s just a different journeyed goal.
Something basic: how often do you bike and what for?
K. I bike about six days a week, five of which are for work as a bike messenger and one (sometimes two) to race with the Early Birds Women’s Developmental Cycling Team.
What could be done in SF to encourage more women, including teens and younger, to bike?
K. Friends and necessity are the mothers of habitual bicycle riding. You need to get somewhere and you have friends to ride with. Provided those friends are considerate and don’t race off after a couple blocks, leaving you all to your “nervsy” lonesome! One of those SF Biking and Walking maps helps for folks new to getting around the City by bike, also. Because they have all the bike routes labeled and graded. Super bueno.
• From the album: 2010 Wente Criterium by Jeff Namba
• From the album: Santa Cruz Criterium, Part 1, Apr 18, 2010 by Steven Woo
How many of your best dates/friendships started with biking?
___ still working on that; ____1 -5; ….., more than 25: I bike a lot!
K. Atleast 87 percent of the time I have found many beautiful and omni-awesome friendships and romances to be catalyzed by biking or the love of biking. It becomes way easier to find friends who think the sometimes monster effort put forth to climb huge hills, are totally worth the thrill of descending. But seriously, bikes are an incredible conversation starter that it’s no wonder the cycling community in the Bay Area is so tightly knit; where everyone will eventually talk to everyone, probably initiating with something pertaining to cycling. And from there on, you begin to understand how cycling has impacted your sense of interconnectedness in an extraordinarily positive way.
As far as dates go, the truth I find to be self-evident is that the best dates are always pedal powered because they somehow begin to resemble a choose-your-own-adventure where opportunity for excitement seems to lie around every corner and beyond the crest of every hill. Give me a bike ride over a movie house any day.
I surprise people when I bike by (or with):
K. – Another bike. People still can’t get enough of a girl ghost riding the whip. Like it’s magic or something.
Other little things
-My favorite meal after a long ride (or in between) is:
K. Tasty sourdough bread with some cheese, a hard-boiled egg, fruit and chocolate. This is usually my lunch during the workday but usually on the spartan side of fancy.
The best way to hydrate in between rides is: (coffee, beer, tea etc.) + where
K. Tea. I’m a sucker for yerba mate. The preparation and gourd are so fun and once prepared it’s totally portable. Did I mention tasty? However, if you have deep aversions to bitter things, you’d probably be grossed out. __ at place: _Anywhere! (Mate gourds fit nicely in a properly sized jersey pocket.) But usually steeped and enjoyed at home. Samovar, on 18th and Sanchez brews some nice mates and Lucca’s on 22nd and Valencia has an excellent selection of kilos and accoutrement for sale. _
A personal item I must have or bring while riding my bike?
K. A small notebook and pen. Sometimes a great idea or poetic verse will strike me on the road or I’ll happen upon a funny scene and want to record it for later because I would probably forget due to the ridiculous things I think of and see everyday. Also, it helps for being able to draw out directions, make sketches or share contact information with neat folks.
My message to women who want to try biking:
K. I was once told by a very wise woman that though the roads and cars might seem frightening and intimidating it is imperative to command your space and assert your place in the lane—whichever it is you choose to negotiate. Thus the bundle of feelings and realizations that come to you as you begin this odyssey into the realm of biking are inimitable: the first time you realize you can go anywhere your heart desires until you run out of land or leg, the first time you get to work or school quicker than any car or mode of public transportation could fathom, the first time your trusty companion breaks down (as they are won’t to do if you’re doing it right) and you learn to fix them to life—all these and many more are reason worth jumping off the precipice of worry into the depth of uncertainty because you will surely land blissfully on the saddle of delight and pedal off gloriously into the sunset. You might fall from time to time and there’s a chance you’ll get hurt—but with the proper protection and a sense of awareness, it’ll all be okay. I promise.
• From the album: 42 Below Ride by Brian Matthew Van Fleet
When I first met Katie, I was very impressed and very inspired by her all-around energy of badasse-ness. Later on I found out about her long journey around the south of the country (with42), her racing expertise and her presence and involvement in the local/bicycle community. Rock on, woman!
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♥ Gracias Katie!! ♥
Don’t forget to check out BIKE NOPA for more Women Who Bike profiles.
Women who bike: Take the Writing Women Back into Bicycling survey online by May 15th. More than 7300 women already have. Survey conducted by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP). See survey here: link
If you or someone you know would like to participate email me at bikesandthecity +at+ gmail
For women in the NOPA area, contact Michael at BIKE NOPA
See previous Bikes & The City profiles here: Women Who Bike Series