All photos of Pamela Palma by Jenny Oh Hatfield
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 bicycling style?
I am carefree, confident, and cautious. Even while riding through the busiest streets in Santiago, Chile recently, I moved through traffic confidently. But I'm also very cautious, after riding in the city for more than 20 years. You have to be cautious around cars and people. Cars will run you over.
How often do you bike and what for?
I bike as often as I can unless I'm sick or traveling without my bike or have to work outside of my immediate area.
What can San Francisco do to encourage more women and girls to bike?
Education starts with the young on how to ride safely in this urban environment.
How much of your social life revolves around bicycling?
When I first moved to San Francisco in 1990, the cycling scene was mainly dominated by bike messengers, and it was hard to penetrate their circle. Luckily through a few cycling events that Erik Zo organized -- like rides to the airport, crits in the park, and other rides -- I met a lot of different folks who are still my friends today.
I surprise people when I bike by ...
Most people are surprised when I describe my bike camping trips. Or riding 50 plus miles with gear on your bike. We live in a car-obsessed society and it seems impossible to some folks to understand how easily one can ride long distances without a car.
I get most upset when I'm biking when...
When drivers try to run me off the road. It happens less that it used to, but I still have to defend myself against moving vehicles.
My message to women who want to try biking:
It's the best way to get your daily exercise, stay healthy in a shorter amount of time than public transportation. Also, find girlfriends who ride or join women biking clubs -- there are many in the area. I know Pushbike has a ladies ride every Thursday night. Meet other cool women and learn to get around on a bike. This blog is another great way to read and learn about women who cope in this man-driven sport.
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.