Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Women Who Bike: Lenore McDonald

This week BIKE NOPA and Bikes And The City continue their 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.
Lenore as Maria for NOPA VELO's Sound of Music ride

And as Tania/Patty Hearst for NOPA VELO's inaugural ride

Fourth in a series: Lenore McDonald

How would you describe your bicycling style?
I am an experienced, confident cyclist and I'm becoming more savvy as a commuter cyclist. And I am happiest when I am riding my bike. No exageration.

How often do you bike?
Since getting my commuter bike at the beginning of this year, I ride almost daily to work from my apartment in NOPA to downtown taking Golden Gate Ave to Market Street -- a straight fast shot to the financial district. It's just under three miles each direction. I ride at least once on the weekend or one evening after work. I also have a road bike (Litespeed) for recreational riding over the bridge and out to Marin.

What could San Francisco do to encourage more women to bike, including teens and younger?
I think organized rides or group riding is really helpful to get comfortable riding different types of roads, distances, and conditions. The rides are well-marked and usually cover some pretty terrain and they usually include emergency health and roadside services. Our NOPA VELO bike rides welcome all levels of riders, including kids riding their own bikes if accompanied by a parent.

Perhaps a place where women can meet to ride to work together would encourage more women to commute by bike. Having a bike suitable for the type of riding you do helps also. I am so much more comfortable riding to work since getting my Giant commuter bike. I can wear my regular work clothes and shoes on the bike, and it's heavier and feels safer.

How many of your best dates or best friendships started with biking?
I yearned to have a riding partner for many years. I insisted that my next partner had to ride. A mutual friend fixed me up with Rick and I agreed to meet him only after learning that he rode. I pinch myself when we're out riding together. Ours is a tried and true cycling relationship.

I surprise people when I bike by ...
dressing up in costume for our NOPA VELO rides. Sometimes folks are surprised by some of my riding experiences, like the Bike Tour of Colorado in 2008 was 450 miles at elevations up to 12,000 feet and a total of 39,000 feet of climbing over five days.

My message to women who want to try biking:
Biking feels good, especially on the way to work. Wind and fresh air. I always enter my office with a big smile and feel great. For a pretty modest investment ($500-$750) you can purchase a good bike to get around the city. You don't have to dress down or get too sweaty with the right equipment. Plus it makes you independent!

Read more about Lenore here in a previous BIKE NOPA story. (Lenore is one of the NOPA VELO ride organizers).

Read the other profiles in the series of Women Who Bike.

If you bike and live in NOPA or bike through NOPA and would like to participate in the series, contact me at

Be sure to check Bikes And The City for more Women Who Bike profiles.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - Who is that girl??? I truly invite any woman who wants to ride to work and is looking for a partner or motivation to e-mail me. We're there!