Meet the Team with BKC!

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Our partner Brooklyn Bicycle Co asked us questions to get to know us - and our new BKC bikes - better!

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Becca Book

Rides: the Roebling

BECCA BOOK

How did you get into cycling? How do you navigate such a male-dominated sport?

I started racing bikes when I joined the Triathlon team at UC Berkeley. After a knee injury and the realization that I don’t actually like swimming that much, it was all bikes all the time! The vibrant cycling community in the Bay Area and now New York City has always been what keeps me coming to rides, races and events. There are no shortage of supportive groups that want to encourage new riders to learn and grow. New York City has the honor of hosting a variety of really inspiring, lady powered groups that are excited to get more women involved in riding, racing and fixing bikes. The increased visibility of women cycling over the past decade has made the community much more welcoming to new folks interested in joining the fun. One thing that being one of the founding members of a women’s development team has helped me realize is that if you are looking for a supportive crew in your area, and can’t find one that fits your interests, you are almost certainly not the only one! Reach out to other women in your area, ask a local bike shop or coffee house if they would be interested in hosting a ride or supporting your team, and you are almost certain to make a bunch of friendships and gain invaluable knowledge and support. Passion is contagious!

How have owning and riding bicycles changed the way you interact with your community?

So much! I love the freedom that riding gives me - from the time I started riding regularly around the Bay to doing longer tours, cycling has expanded my access to and knowledge of the world. You are always moving at the perfect speed (except for maybe when you are trying to go crosstown in Manhattan during morning rush hour…) and have the ability to hop off and check out whatever is going on that interests you, but can hop back on and get where you are going well before that Uber. Cycling expanded my knowledge of the city from a few points around different subway stops to a network of neighborhoods and parks just waiting to be explored.

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How do your bike(s) reflect your personality? How do you make them your own?

I like my bikes fast yet practical, with just a little bit of snazzy bling - Which I guess is something I would be flattered if someone said about me. I’ve got a few numbers done up with all sorts of racks hanging off them (I’d be less flattered if someone said this about me). From ripping the derailleur off the poor Peugeot I had when I was 18 to turn it into a fixie to selecting the right gear for touring, personalizing my trusty steeds has let me learn a little bit of bike mechanics, but perhaps more importantly its let me figure out what kind of rider I am, what's comfortable for me, and allowed me to add various holders for beer and whiskey onto my bikes :).

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What are your favorite rides in the city/country/world?

South County Trail North to Captain Lawrence Brewery and anything along the Pacific Coast Highway - especially the stretch South of Redwood National/ CORSICA is beautiful and made for bikes (except for the fact that they don’t really grade their roads…)

Any advice for new riders?

Just do it!! I have definitely spent a significant amount of time worrying about whether I am fast enough or have the right type of bike to go on rides with a particular group, but overwhelmingly I have found that most cyclists want to grow the community and get more people on the road. Find a local shop that is patient with any questions you might have about choosing the right bike or fixing up your old one. Then get a few friends together and choose some spot around the city to bike to that you’ve never explored before. It's a simple recipe for a really amazing day.

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Leah Goldberg

Rides: the Lorimer

How did you get into cycling?

I won my first bike in a trivia contest when I was eight and grew up riding it and occasionally crashing it all over neighborhood. I loved the sense of freedom and self-sufficiency that it gave me at a time when I was too young to really do much else on my own. When I moved to New York, I stopped riding for a long time, because as a West Coaster used to wide-open roads and slow drivers, the crazy traffic situation seemed pretty intimidating. Eventually, though, I started to miss that sense of freedom that comes from owning and riding a bike. My fear of riding in traffic started to fade when I realized how awesome it would be to get from one neighborhood in Brooklyn to another in only ten minutes, instead of 45 on two buses and a train. So I bought my first road bike and haven’t looked back since — there’s nothing quite like being out in nature, early in the morning, going so fast that the world around you becomes a silent blur.

How do you navigate such a male-dominated sport?

Joining Formula Femme has been my first introduction to the world of competitive cycling, so many of the cyclists I hang out with right now are female. I’m sure that will change as I become more involved in the community, and if I do start to feel a sense of being in the minority, I’ll use the tactics I’ve picked up from working in a fairly male-dominated field  — act like you belong (because you do!), speak with confidence, and surround yourself with strong, awesome, supportive women.  

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How have owning and riding bicycles changed the way you interact with your community?

I found taking public transportation in New York to be a pretty isolating experience — it took you from point A to B (usually not very efficiently) and discouraged any kind of social interaction. Once I started riding a bike everywhere, I discovered neighborhoods that I never knew existed, and became friends with people that I met just riding down the street. I started to feel a sense of community with people in my neighborhood and fellow cyclists around the city, and much more of a sense of ownership and responsibility for my surroundings than I had felt before.

How do(es) your bike(s) reflect your personality? How do you make it (them) your own?

I’m a pretty small person, so I tend to have fewer bike options (true story: I bought my current road bike from a 13 year old boy after he outgrew it), but luckily I like tiny, weird bikes! It’s always fun to switch it up with some neon bar tape and stickers, throw on a rack and panniers for commuting, or repaint the whole thing with some spray paint. I'm up to four bikes now and they're all crazy colorful. 

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What are your favorite rides in the city/country/world?

I commute almost every day from Crown Heights to Chelsea, but just riding around Brooklyn feels like home. I love riding through Prospect Park in the fall when it’s starting to get a little bit cold, and along the Belt Parkway down to the Rockaways in the summer. My favorite ride in the country is probably the Burke-Gilman trail in Seattle, mainly for the trees and lakes and very cute dogs, but also for the nostalgia factor — I grew up riding it all the time, and try to ride it whenever I go back to visit. As for my favorite ride in the world — the mountains in northern Thailand!  The scenery and steep hills are insane.

Any advice for new riders?

Learn how to fix a flat and always carry a multitool! And convince your non-bike riding friends to start riding with you -- learning to ride the streets of New York or race the velodrome is less intimidating when you do it with friends!


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Angela Sorensen

Rides: the Roebling

How did you get into cycling? How do you navigate such a male-dominated sport?

About 3 years ago I working in a place that had a lot of bike messengers doing delivery, after becoming close friends with some I got a bike and started commuting to work. The atmosphere of the community quickly had me, and cycling has been a major part of my life since.

While I have to be aware of my presence in a male dominate sport I just can't let that affect me. Just because I don't get to see as many women doing what I'm aspiring to I won't let that make me think I can't or stop me. It really helps weed out the people you don't want in your life -- there is no space or attention to be paid to anyone who treats you differently as a rider or athlete for being a woman!

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How have owning and riding bicycles changed the way you interact with your community?

Riding has completely changed my relationship to my city. Living in Brooklyn, riding makes everything more accessible. Public transport is miserable and impossible to get around certain areas so riding allows me live here on my terms and enjoy my day every day. It has introduced me to an entirely new community of cyclists and it just so embedded in how I live every day; I truly can't imagine life with out riding.

How do your bikes reflect your personality? How do you make it (them) your own?

I generally choose to ride fixed. I like that need to keep moving and the rush of weaving through traffic -- I think that style of riding suits my personality. Any custom build will reflect your personality, and there's a bike for each mood and occasion: the commuter with wide bars and fun galaxy straps and stickers, the race bike is aggressive, sleek and minimal with some nerd pleasing components,  and my awesome new BKC that's decked out for utility -- rack for pizza, big tires for adventures, and maybe even a trailer so the pup can enjoy the ride and adventures with me!

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What are your favorite rides in the city/country/world?

My favorites rides are the ones shared with good company!

Any advice for new riders?

Don't let anything intimidate you, get involved in your local cycling community, and enjoy the ride and everywhere it takes you!

PARTNERSFormula Femme