Hometown: Grand Rapids, Minnesota
Current City: Portland, OR
Occupation: Account Coordinator / Aspiring Product Designer
Bicycle(s): Holy Crap, there’s a lot and I name them. There’s the Fox (road), Popsicle (city bike), Wixie the Fixie (self explanatory), Tomassini (a steel road bike and a gift from the man who taught me to race bikes) Valentino (a TT bike), the Race Fox…. you get the idea.
How does cycling fit into your life? How would you explain your relationship with cycling?
Cycling is my lifestyle and it has been for about a decade now. I use my bike for transportation, to get groceries, go to work, go out to dinner, all of it. It started as something that made a lot more sense to me than driving a car to get around the city. I often trip just walking down the sidewalk. I also feel strangely naked if I go somewhere and don’t have a bike with me. It almost feels like I forgot my shoes at home, or my pants.
Favorite places to ride and why.
I really love riding in Oregon. Some of my favorite places to ride are on tiny gravel mountain forest roads. My boyfriend, Trevor and I started a Thanksgiving Day tradition of exploring these roads to work up an appetite and gratitude. We go to a place we’ve never ridden before and see what we can find. Last Thanksgiving, it was a 12-18% gravel climb with views of St. Helens that dead-ended.
For close-in Portland rides, I think climbing Montgomery to the Fairmount Loop and then up to Council Crest is a favorite.
The Bull Run ride is really rolly and pretty and there is an Alpaca farm along the way, I love their fuzzy heads on top of their long necks!
Favorite races to ride and why.
Stage races are my favorite. I like how much team strategy and tactics come into play over multi-day races. I had a lot of fun at my first two NRC races last year, Nature Valley Grand Prix and Cascade Cycling Classic. They were perfectly challenging, dynamic, and long.
There is a race in Eastern Oregon that is called the Baker City Cycling Classic. It’s unique because all categories race the same distances (i.e. Cat 4/5 women and men do the same distances as the Pro 1/2 fields). The last day is intense. It’s 102 mile stage ending on an 8 mile climb. Actually, the first road stage is actually the most difficult stage, it just doesn’t sound as epic.
Who do you admire in cycling?
The person I admire the most in cycling is Dave Aldersebaes. Dave has dedicated the last 8 years (4 of which I’ve known him) of his life to a little racing team in Portland, Oregon, with a large focus on women’s development. His relentless passion for teaching the sport of road racing is why I am on the bike today. His strategy is spot on for turning fresh new beginners into racers who ride with integrity, heart, passion, and grit. He taught me the true beauty of the team sport and crossing the line first was never a focus, but something that would inevitably come if the focus was on 100% effort, racing as one, and treating the race and all the riders with genuine respect.
What does the future hold for your cycling?
Cycling will always be a big part of my life. It’s my chosen vehicle for navigating and experiencing my days. As for racing, I plan to keep doing it until I’ve pushed myself to my limit and feel I have learned and experienced everything I can from it, and then it will be time for the next great thing. I’d also like to do some long bike touring trips. I’m not sure where yet, but riding across the States is on my bucket list for sure. Beyond that, crazy long gravel rides, using my bike to get all the places I need to go, getting good at mountain biking are all goals.
What does advocacy mean to you? How do you share cycling?
Advocacy has a lot of meaning for me and I try to share cycling in as many formats as possible.
I remember having a brief conversation with a professor from Augsburg College in Minneapolis about 5 or 6 years ago. He was writing a book about urban planning or cycling in cities or something (I don’t quite remember). During our chat I told him that I always wear a helmet, even if it’s just a few blocks from home. I don’t do this because I think it’s absolutely necessary for my safety and wellbeing, but I believe in being a healthy image for cycling. If a young kid sees me in a skirt and cute summer top on a rad city bike wearing a helmet, they will, hopefully, associate helmets with something positive rather than something nerdy or uncool. I know that helmets are not mainstream in some other cultures, but, for the most part, bike infrastructure was not a retrofit for those cities, but an integral part of city planning as the cities were built and continue to change (such as in the Netherlands). That is not the case in the US.
More specific to Velocio, being an advocate for a company that is as thoughtful and detail oriented as this one is an honor. The focus on women’s designs, quality material and craftsmanship, and responsible manufacturing processes make me proud to be associated with the brand and the founders. Having studied Architecture, I have a keen appreciation for thoughtful, well-made objects and am constantly critiquing the world around me through a design filter. I am genuinely impressed by the apparel lineup and it brings me joy to be able to promote a brand I believe in.
There is a huge need for better cycling apparel that is focused on women rather than women being an afterthought or in the shadow of men’s designs. Velocio is on point with solving the problem the right way.
Design or artistic influences. Who compels you?
Sigeru Ban is one of my favorite architects. His work with paper is especially interesting to me. The way he uses such an everyday, low-tech material as paper in unexpected and beautiful ways is a perfect illustration of the power of design. Many of his solutions also have a certain modularity to them that makes a lot of sense and makes for easy construction. He has uses paper tube architecture to provide shelter and begin rebuilding relatively quickly and inexpensively after natural and humanitarian disasters. He does really good work and has good ethics in his design and practice.
I recently stumbled upon Apak Studio. Their characters and use of color has a life and personality that is really attractive to me.
Snow Peak is my favorite outdoor designer. Their product line has only the most thoughtful, well made objects and simply feel really good in the hand and/or perform their duty well. They understand and practice how function and beauty are better together.
I also keep an eye on performance apparel companies and what they are doing.
Last book read: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Soundtrack to your next ride: I listen to a lot of podcasts when I ride/commute: This American Life, The Moth, Radio Lab, Professor Blastoff, and TED radio hour are my favorites. I LOVE short stories.
Must have media (TV, film, etc.) : I don’t watch a ton of stuff, but Trevor has gotten me hooked on a few TV series: Bobs Burgers and House of Cards are the main ones. We also got into Game of Thrones last year. For film, anything by Wes Anderson is a winner. I also like well done horror films (not pop horror films), like Let The Right One In.
Three things you think folks should know about you:
1. Since I come from hearty midwestern stock, I am inherently a little bit country.
2. I really like to wear wool clothing (even underwear) because it’s flame retardant (you can never be too prepared). It’s also great at temperature regulation and keeping you warm when wet and all, but really, can you argue with flame retardant?
3. I love to eat. I eat eggs for breakfast every day, usually with kale, rice, and other pretty veggies. I also eat multiple breakfasts, it’s my favorite meal! I often plan meals around how they will look on a plate.
Most liked Velocio piece so far:
WOOL JERSEY! I love wool and this piece is perfectly cozy for Portland weather. Although the red Light Long Sleeve is such an awesome color. And the detailing on the bibs is superb. AND the Herringbone Wind Vest…
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