Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Women Who Bike: Constance Cavallas

Her bike takes her everywhere. Photo: Andrew Rogers

"Why rent a truck to move 3 blocks when you can borrow a bike trailer?" Photo: Jeff Enlow

How do you characterize your bicycling style?
I am a confident rider. I am cautious and aware of my own skill level, and I don't have too much pride to give an oblivious driver my right of way if it becomes a matter of my safety. I'm also a very sweaty rider. I guess I could slow down but there is something really rewarding about getting off my bike out of breath sometimes.

How often do you bike and what for?
I bike for everything, all the time. Work, errands, shopping, meeting friends, riding just to ride -- everywhere I need to go in the city (and sometimes out of the city in combination with public transit), my bike takes me there.

What can San Francisco do to encourage more women and girls to bike?
First, more women would ride if they felt safe and comfortable, so of course continuing to make additions and improvements to the bike infrastructure is a must. For me personally, having an experienced friend show me easy routes and patiently let me develop my own pace made a world of difference. I was very nervous and intimidated when I first tried riding a bike in SF and now I look back and laugh at what I considered "hills" so I think sharing knowledge and finding a mentor can really make a difference. Lastly, normalizing bikes in the media. Media influence is huge, especially for teens and younger. So it would be great to see more main characters riding bikes, to get less biased news coverage (no more associating everything bike-related to Critical Mass or danger), and to have far fewer car commercials. (I'm talking to you, Hulu).

Have any of your best dates or friendships begun with biking?
The same week I bought my first bike, my best friend, Nick, and I rode to Golden Gate Park to have a picnic. We had been friends for awhile, but that day romantic feelings blossomed. We agree it was the bike! It changed things! From that day forward bf meant best friend and boyfriend. That was three years ago. Now we are planning to go on a long distance bike tour this fall.

I get upset when I'm biking when ...
Someone intentionally passes me (to boost their ego?) and then they go slow in front of me.

My message to women who to try biking:
Do it! It's fun, it's easy, it's healthy, and you will feel great inside and out.

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 sites for the experiences, stories, and ideas of women who bike the city. For previous posts in the series check here.

1 comment:

  1. Constance is a great rider!! happy to see her so often riding around town
    I second her comment on car commercials-media biased