"My life motto is chill harder."
1. What is the goal/mission of Friends on Bikes?
We have two main goals:
Our first goal is to encourage more women of color to get rad on bikes! This includes trans, femme and non-binary people of color, as well. We’re hoping to achieve this by planning a variety of rides that will cater to different skill levels from social city rides around Portland to adventure rides on dirt! One of our big ride goals this fall is to do an all women of color bikepacking trip.
Our second goal is to build a platform that highlights people of color doing interesting work in the cycling community. There aren’t a lot of resources to find fellow people of color doing cool stuff in cycling so we’re hoping to change that. We hope our platform will not only bring more awareness and exposure but also be a useful tool for cyclists of color. By building a presence, we’re hoping it will inspire other women and people of color to want to get out and ride bikes!
2. What is your backstory?
I started riding bikes around 2005 in the hilly streets of San Francisco. It started out as commuting. But like many other cyclists, it eventually evolved into wearing spandex and discovering my inner athlete. One of my first big rides was a 50 miler called Paradise Loop in the North Bay on my little singlespeed Fuji Feather track bike (ridden freewheel not fixed). Being new to this type of riding, it was definitely a tough day on the bike. I remember a roadie commenting on mine and my husband’s singlespeed as he flew by us. It was hard to tell if he was being facetious or not but I didn’t care. I was feeling pretty damn accomplished for doing a 50 mile ride! From there, I was hooked, and it became this little obsession. (Between my husband and I, we accumulated 10 bikes in our tiny one bedroom apartment.) It’s probably important to note I didn’t play sports growing up nor had any interest anything “sporty”. As cheesy as this might sound, riding bikes helped me build up my confidence and made me feel like I can pretty much do anything. Around 2012 or so I gave road racing a shot and wasn’t to into it. Later that year, I tried out cyclocross and fell in love! I tried racing cross country mountain biking once but gave that up immediately. I’d rather stop to hangout and take photos in an epic landscape than speed by it on a bike. These days I still race CX, but I’m not as competitive as I use to be. I just enjoy riding off road and keeping it fun and chill. My life motto is chill harder.
3. What is your favorite cycling route in the NW and why?
I moved to Portland a little over two years ago, and still have a bunch to explore. It’s hard to narrow down a favorite route just yet. I mean there are some pretty RAD rides here in Oregon! I can say that my favorite areas to ride in is the Painted Hills and, though it’s been a while, the Dalles, too. Both areas have this sort of old west vibe that I find really fascinating. In the Painted Hills in particular, you can do a gravel or road ride and feel like you’ve stepped into the past. Then there are gravel routes that take you right into Ochoco National Forest. So you get this mix of desert and forest in one area!
4. What is the go-to bike in your personal lineup and why?
That would be my Specialized CruX Elite EVO. It’s a carbon cx/gravel bike with hydraulic disc brakes, and it’s pretty versatile. I could probably get rid of my road bike and put slicks on it and be just as happy on it on the road as I am on dirt. It's lightweight, and I feel safe on it. Plus, it has a sexy matte black finish! All my other bikes are glossy.
5. What does the next year look like for Friends on Bikes?
Ha, we just launched a month ago! We’re still focusing on 2017. Ideally, in 2018, we’ll have more events that include workshops and ride clinics, partnerships with nonprofits that align with our values as well as more bike trips. So stay tuned!