Monday, May 24, 2010

Women Who Bike: Rose Johnson

Rose Johnson: another day of biking

Women Who BIKE!: Rose (2nd from left)

Photos by Rose

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 with you.

What's your style of biking?
Efficient. Depending on my mood, how late I am, and my energy level, I choose routes that accommodate my needs. On a sunny day there is nothing I love more than a cruise down the Wiggle. When I am tired, I avoid the hills and enjoy the granny gear. On a sunny Saturday morning the Sausalito hill is nothing. But most of the time, I bike standing up.

How often do you bike and what for?
I ride my bike everyday, almost everywhere I go. I bike because I can and because I believe in alternative forms of transportation, a low-cost life style, and participation. My bicycle is not only my main form of sustainable travel, but it is also my load wagon. I like to see how much stuff I can fit on the back. By using busted tubes creatively, I am able to carry all of my supplies for my small bike-powered business, Apothocurious, my camping gear for bike tours, and for my bike-less friends.

What can San Francisco do to encourage more women, including teens and younger, to bike?
I think with proper education to EVERYONE (cyclists, car drivers, and youth) we can share the road safely and enjoyably. When we prove that "it can be done," we empower everyone in being able to live a low-cost, low-impact, and low-stress life style.

I think when someone is able to experience bicycling around the city in a safe, fun, and supported environment, within a few rides they are hip to the ease, the possibility, and the new-found freedom that comes with bicycles.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I lead an all-girl bike club at Hoover Middle School. The group is not a place without boys, but a place where females can express their uniquely feminine experiences without judgment of misunderstanding. They can ride slow, walk up hills, or ask questions that might otherwise have have overlooked or unheard in a bike club comprised mostly of boys. The group is unique in the way that the pace is more calm, the leadership is fluid, and, when I look back to check on the riders behind me, every rider is doing exactly what she should should be: riding safely.

What's one of your best times bicycling?
I live on my bicycle, and most of my friends do too! So much is shared, experienced, and grown when we travel together. For the past three years I have trained for the AIDS Life Cycle ride. I have only ridden once, but the training is what is special to me. Year One, my friend Nicole convinced me to jump on for an 80 mile trip to Occidental. This was when I was first getting into long distance cycling, and the feeling of accomplishment I got at the end of that trip was enough to know it was true love. Year Two I decided to do the ride, and I convinced my two besties to join me. It was the greatest thing to spend a Saturday riding 80 miles, catching up, preparing and appreciating each other. This two more besties have decided to do the ride. Watching them preparing, helping fundraise, and riding the Headlands has been full of so much beautiful quality time.

I surprise people when I bike when ...
I'm in my yellow vest with ten kids in tow.

My message to women who want to try biking:
We can do it!

Rose lives in NOPA and, as she says, "I heart the hard."

For more great stories, take a look at these previous Women Who Bike posts:

And stop by Bikes And The City every Monday and Wednesday for Meli's Women Who Bike. (Treat yourself and visit her site every day!)

If you or someone you know might like to join this series, please ask them to contact me at

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