Women Bike: Women who Inspire

“I love the challenge of dirt riding.”

Gritchelle began biking in 2005, while living in San Francisco; first as a form of commuting and, like many women, evolving into other types of biking. Gritchelle is a very active person and she loves all forms of biking: road riding, bike touring, cyclocross, and mountain biking. Cyclocross is Gritchelle’s favorite and main sport, and she also especially loves the challenge off-road riding in gravel and dirt. She and her husband moved to Portland because the cyclocross scene is bigger here!

Gritchelle values independence, so biking is her freedom. She doesn’t like to depend on anyone else; from the bus schedule to other people driving. She loves to feel free riding her bike around town and first felt that freedom the first time she rode her bike in the hills of San Francisco. Once she rode those 20 miles, she realized that biking empowers women to become independent and to accomplish anything they set your mind to.

Outside of biking, Gritchelle is an adventure lifestyle photographer and manages Friends on Bikes, a new cycling group for women of color. This year, she plans to take a couple of cycling trips, including a bikepacking trip to Alaska in June. She also plans to do a some overnight trips with Friends on Bikes and hopefully another bikepacking trip in September. Gritchelle combines both of her passionsbiking and photography—into one when she goes on outdoor adventures.

“The Best World is a world which all of us have access to all the possibilities. We have access to a car if we want to drive. We have access to a bike if we want to bike. And we don’t feel constrained to our choices by economics.”

April started biking when she was a little girl. Her first experience as an adult biker was unpleasant. Her first boyfriend was a road biker and took her on a couple of road biking trips that were miserable. After those six or eight times, she started to dislike biking altogether. She regained her love of biking when she met her Swedish husband and moved to Sweden. There, April began to integrated biking into her everyday life. When April moved back to Portland, she realized that biking is still way different in Sweden.

April is a busy lady. Apart from biking, she is a freelance writer (mostly for sustainability companies), but she is currently working on two books. Her first book is a second revision of Women on Wheels, and her second book is a novel. When not working on her books, April organizes Portland’s annual CycloFemme Ride on Mother’s Day (recently took place on May 14). CycloFemme is a ride honoring women who bike. 

To April, biking is the absolutely the best way to get anywhere, and therefore lives a car-free lifestyle by choice. Her love of biking has grown. It has evolved. Biking has help April balance her workload and also outweighs any negative aspects (like being stuck in traffic) by the positive physical and mental benefits biking gives her. Aside from biking in Portland, April loves to test out the bike shares of the different cities she visits.

“I am most me when I am on my bike.”

Maria started biking as a mode of transportation, but throughout the years, she got hooked on ultra-endurance riding. Many years of doing centuries and randonneuring culminated last year, when she participated in the Steens Mazama 1000 bike race around Oregon. The Steens Mazama 1000 was her adventure of the lifetime, until something more or equally amazing comes her way. Maria completed the race in nine and a half days. To survive, Maria carefully planned every detail—from where to stay to writing everything down in little book. Although Maria loved her experience with the Steens Mazama 1000, she plans to find the next big thrill ride. Every year, Maria sets a goal on a big bike event, and this year is no different. This year, Maria is planning to bike in the Swift Summit at the end of August. In the meantime, she has many bikes trips planned.

Maria truly loves to bike. She feels most like herself when her tush is on a saddle, feet on the pedals, hands on the bars and she is biking. Maria arrived at this exact feeling when she experience her first ever Critical Mass bike ride in San Francisco. Her social space on a bike has morphed into solo on a bike. She likes to make herself present wherever she bikes, so everyone knows she is there on her bike.

As a marketing maven, Maria currently works for Islabikes. She oversees all things marketing, including event planning and managing the website. Aside from her work, she also plans and leads bike rides throughout Portland and the surrounding areas. Biking is truly her passion.

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