Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Women Who Bike: Dawn D'Onofrio

Sunday Streets: Bayview...sunny day for Dawn and Smoky

Energized at Bike to Work Day Station; Smoky's All Powered Up

Dawn ready for the NOPA VELO "Climb Every Mountain" ride with Smoky in basket

Women Who Bike is a collaborative effort by BIKE NOPA and Bikes And The City that features San Francisco women and their bicycles. Each Monday and Wednesday check both blogs for the experiences, stories, and ideas that women who bike the city want to share.

Sixth in a series: Dawn D'Onofrio

How do you characterize your bicycling style?
I would have to say "respectful." So many people complain about cars, cyclists, and pedestrians -- but I'm sure we are all a little guilty of some infraction. As cyclists we are in some middle ground and many take that as the right to have our own set of rules - or not have to abide by "others." But being a cyclist, I can't complain about cars running stop signs or red lights if I do the same. So I try not to. It's really scary when another cyclists zips through an intersection as I am turning or a pedestrian runs in front of me. I try to be cautious and aware, but mostly I just try to respect the right we all have to a piece of the road, and hope that by doing my part I make it a little easier for all to coexist.

How often do you bike and what for?
I sold my car before I moved here 2+ years ago, so biking is about it for everything. Although at times, I really do enjoy the walk and adverse weather forces me onto public transportation.

What could be done in San Francisco to encourage more women to bike?
I think it's being done. More bike shops are offering women's nights for simple maintenance, better fitting, lighter women's bikes, better looking fashion and accessories. We tote around a lot more stuff than guys, and we need a good way to take it with us other than a huge messenger bag.

Have any great dates or friendships started with bicycling?
I hadn't ridden a bike for over eight years after a van hit me while I was riding. One guy I met became a good friend, and he took me out to pick out a new bike. His philosophy was "just do it" (I think I have heard that somewhere before!). He was fairly new to the area, and he didn't know anyone else as into bikes as I was. We became super bike buddies and went riding almost every day after work. He showed me a lot on mechanics and maintenance. In about six months I was back to speed and we were doing century rides. I bought a mountain bike and fell in love with the sport. There was an awesome place near my house we hit on the weekends. Soon others started joining and the encouragement spread from one to another. One guy lost about 50 pounds and another quit some unhealthy habits. The funniest part was at first one guy was intimidated about joining the group because he didn't want a girl riding better than him! I could do all the hills and trails without a slip! It was a great couple of years with some really great and special friends. Since moving to SF, almost everyone I know I met through cycling and most of my social activities revolve around it.

I surprise people when I bike by ...
riding in 3-inch heels, and with my dog.

My message to women who want to start biking:
Why not?Look good, feel good. What's more appealing than that? And it's fun.


Dawn lives in NOPA on Broderick at Fulton. She bikes with NOPA VELO and so does her dog Smokey.

Check out the previous posts in this series.

For even more stories, see Bikes And The City's Women Who Bike.

If you or someone you know would like to be part of this series, please contact me at

1 comment:

  1. "why not" love it
    thanks for sharing your thoughts dawn - and oh my that dos is so *cute*
    see you on the bike lane :D

    cheers -meli <3