Monday, June 21, 2010

Women Who Bike: Jenny Oh Hatfield

Jenny Oh Hatfield and Shawn Hatfield: Wedding Day on the Beach Photo: Trevor Hartsell

Keep Up With the Bride: Wedding Party Ride Photo: Shawn Hatfield

Jenny Oh Hatfield Photo: Steve Anderson

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

How do you describe your biking style?
My style is a mix of approaches depending on the situation. When I'm commuting, I'm slow and steady, cautious and law-abiding. If I'm on a training ride or racing, then I try to push myself. If I'm touring, bike camping, or riding with friends, I'm relaxed and carefree.

How often do you bike?
I wear a variety of cycling caps: commuter, racer (track and cyclocross), and just for fun. I'd say that I have to bike at least several times a week or I start to feel deep pangs of withdrawal.

What can San Francisco do to encourage more women and girls to bike?
  • Providing more opportunities to kids and teenagers would foster the development of more women cyclists
  • Creating more youth cycling leagues developed in partnership with schools and non-profit organizations
  • Offering free bike demonstrations and race registrations at events
  • Working with cycling advocacy groups to promote and organize more family-oriented cycling events throughout the Bay Area
  • Supporting non-profits to host classes on how to ride, repair and safely bike in urban areas
How many of your best dates and friendships started with biking?
Most of my friendships in the Bay Area stemmed from my love of cycling, but the best one of all is with my husband, Shawn Hatfield. We met back in 2006 when I first moved to San Francisco. We eventually fell in love and had a bicycle wedding last October. Over 60 guests rode over the Golden Gate Bridge to Rodeo Beach in Marin for our ceremony, and then we biked to our picnic reception in nearby Ft. Barry Parade Grounds. It was truly one of the best days of my life!

I've also founded a charity bike race called Supermarket Street Sweep which has been running for four years. It was inspired by a similar event Cranksgiving in New York City -- where I lived for 13 years -- that benefits a local food bank. The sweep is basically a food drive on wheels. Participants ride to grocery stores all over the city and bring back food that is donated to the San Francisco Food Bank. They compete by returning first with a specific list of items or by bringing back the most food overall. Last year's big winner brought in 962 pounds of food with a cargo bike! We plan to host the 5th event in December.

I surprise people when I bike by ...
I don't know if I surprise other people, but I've definitely surprised myself. Prior to moving here in 2006, I was more of a commuter and casual cyclist. Then I moved here and started track racing at Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose. Now I ride a fixed gear for commuting, and I began racing cyclocross last fall. I went on my first bike camping trip, and I plan on getting a mountain bike in the near future.

I never imagined myself becoming a competitive cyclist, much less with disciplines I had never heard of until I became a Bay Area resident. It's been great for me to push myself to confront my fears, and I look forward to more challenges that lie ahead.

I get most upset when I'm biking when...
I try not to get upset when I'm biking these days, but I wish there was more mutual respect between cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians when it comes to sharing the road. There's definitely room for improvement for everyone.

My message to women who want to try biking:
Keep at it: you'll get better.

Check here for previous posts in this series and stop by Bikes And The City every Monday and Wednesday for even more Women Who Bike.

1 comment:

  1. YEAAAAA Jenny!!!
    love her interview - very genuine :D
    ride on woman <3