Monday, June 7, 2010

Women Who Bike: Reese

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!

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Women Who Bike: Reese
How would you characterize your bicycling style? assertive, carefree, cautious, competitive, law abiding, slow and steady
R. For the most part, I'm law-abiding, but also assertive. I try to establish a place on the road and I'll ride steadily so there are no surprises to cars that are sharing the road with me. I don't want to surprise cars because what if they get flustered and lose control! Oh and I can get competitive with other bikers too and race them down the street, but don't we all do that once in a while? Everyone does that, right? Right?

Something basic: how often do you bike and what for?
R. My bike is my main mode of transportation, so I take my bike on the Caltrain with me everyday to get to and from work on the peninsula. I bike to meet friends and to attend events, and often, I'll just ride around after work, exploring SF. My favourite place to ride after work right now is the Presidio for all the challenging hills, the greenery, and the gorgeous sunsets.

You're it.

What could be done in SF to encourage more women, including teens and younger, to bike?
R. It sounds like a chicken-and-egg solution, but I think one way to encourage more women to bike is to have women out there on bikes. It seems like it's pretty fashionable to have a bike right now, and I think that just seeing other women out on the road encourages people to ride their bikes more. The more common it is, the more accessible it will seem to people who don't yet use their bikes. Oh, and it helps to have encouraging girlfriends!

How many of your best dates/friendships started with biking?
R. A good number of the people I hang out with also use their bikes to get around. I didn't really plan it that way, but that's how it seems to have worked out. I've met a number of really good people through local bike groups and in the bikecar on the Caltrain. It seems so easy to start a conversation with people when you can start talking about bikes or routes around town.

The best thing about having friends who bike is that we can go out and ride instead of sitting down to dinner and drinks. We may not talk a lot, but I love sharing our time on a bike. It's not the typical way to bond with people, but it makes me feel very close to friends.
The radest camera.

I surprise people when I bike by (or with) -
R. ... in a skirt or dress! Sometimes I can see drivers look at me in the sideview or rearview mirrors when they can't believe I'm dressed in my normal clothes on my bike! It sure seems like people are so used to seeing people kitted up in spandex that seeing someone in regular clothes is an oddity, especially down on the peninsula where I work. I think biking in normal clothing is much more common up in SF.

Other little things:
- My favorite meal after a long ride (or in between) is:
R. Some kind of grilled meat and vegetables over rice. I try not to eat a real meal until after I'm done with a ride, but I do eat plenty of snacks like Lara Bars and drink lots of water during a ride.

- The best way to hydrate in between rides is: (coffee, beer, tea etc.)__________ at place: _____________

R. Water!! It's just so easy to carry a bottle and just fill it up wherever I go.

- A personal item I must have or bring while riding my bike

R. If I'm wearing a skirt, I always have my skirt clip with me. It's a garter that goes around my thigh with a little clip to hold down the hem of my skirt. I like to call it my modesty clip.

My message to women who want to try biking:
R. Hey ladies, get out and ride! You can totally do it! Biking is what you make of it. You can be ladylike and show up smelling like roses. You can be competitive and smoke all the boys (while they stare gaping at your fine self passing them). Get out there and try it. You might be surprised at how good it feels.
I was first introduced to Reese via the interwebs, on a post she wrote about commuting to work in San José over a year ago. We connected and occasionally meet for coffee and chat over bikes, the Siliconvallenians and farmer's market. She has great stories about Caltrain and I am happy that she is in love with her beautiful Raleigh mixte: Blue.
She blogs here: left eyed girl

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Gracias Reesie!!

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
Like all photographs posted in this blog: ©Photos taken by meligrosa
unless otherwise stated and if so, always credited.


  1. Excellent...and I just found out about skirt clips.

    I truly had no idea before this moment...I will now have to make one or hunt one down so I'm not always faffing around to keep my skirt/dress down.

    Thank you. :)

  2. Hey Reesie! Small world... Cool interview and pix!


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