Anny Vera, I’m from Santiago de Cali, Colombia. I’m urban cyclist, fixed gear racer, bike courier and pro bike activist. I breathe bicycle at all times of my life.
What does riding mean to you?
It is an indescribable freedom, it has changed my life completely.
Riding a bicycle gives me power, desire, joy, I feel that I have lost my fear of mobilizing alone over time, because it is not easy to be a cycling woman in a country like mine, but the bicycle took away my fears and put courage on my way.
What is your favourite set up?
Since I started in this dream I have been riding a mountain bike, a road bike, and finally a fixed gear, the latter became my favorite. I started using fixed about 3 years, and since then I have not stopped. I use it to compete, work, train, explore, have fun. With it I have experimented in the criteriums [fixed gear race on closed streets], I have won many alleycats [usually fixed gear race in the normal street traffic], and now I am starting to train tracklocross [usually fixed gear bikes set up to race in dirt].
Do you think the environment is male dominated?
Well, yes, like almost everything in the world. I think it is a matter of history in which women have been subject to certain rules, and where we have been banned from certain things. Women began to use the bicycle many years after men, and at first it was taken as a way of revolution and freedom, women was judged, pointed out, violated. It has been a process of years of incorporating ourselves into society making use of the bicycle, especially if it is used as a means of transport, the streets and people are aggressive and dangerous, and more for women, it takes time, falls and bad times to get used to mobilize alone and losing our fear.
Women go through different processes with the bicycle. I know stories of women who stop using the bike because they are tired of sexual harassment, or because they don’t feel safe, they prefer to stop than to expose themselves. And it is a reality that occurs in many countries of the world.
On the other hand, in the competitive field we also see fewer women than men, much less sport activities for women, and less economic support.
But it makes me very happy to see how everything is changing today, and there are more women who decide to get on the bike and change their lives. The bike is only one in general, but there are many possible paths to travel, you just have to take risks and decide which path you like best.
Any riding plans for the future?
Many, for now I plan to resume my bike training in January, continue competing in alleycats, urban races and messenger competitions that take place throughout Colombia.
As a big and important plan, I plan to travel to Basel, Switzerland in 2020, to attend the European Cycling Messengers Championships. And of course from September 21 to 26 the ride and parties are in Bogotá during the World Championship, CMWC. Great projects and plans are coming with the bicycle.
Ride like a girl is a series of interviews with WTF (women *trans femme) riders from around the world. If you would like to be contributed drop us an email.