Name: Karolina Grzybowska / Principessa on the bike
Location: Barcelona / Spain
Discipline: road/ fixed gear/ track
I’m from Warsaw, but since May 2019, I have been living in Barcelona. I mainly do road, but I also love my fixie, which I use for city rides and commuting. My track bike is for velodrome rides – I sometimes do track races.
What does riding mean to you?
It means A LOT 😀
I don’t often think about what a bicycle means to me, but I often wonder why I ride – probably because a lot of people outside of the cycling community ask about that.
I ride because it’s a pure pleasure for me. I ride to feel the wind in my hair and the sun on my skin. I ride to breathe, to clear my mind. I ride to work to avoid traffic jams. I ride to escape from the world when it’s driving me crazy. I ride because riding gives me moments of excitement and wonder. I ride for fun, for training and scary moments. Sometimes I ride to impress somebody or to break my limits. I ride for the feeling of total control and independence. I ride to meet new people and my friends. I ride to think and to have new ideas during the ride. I ride to reduce stress. I ride to be in good shape, so I don’t need to go to a gym. I ride for all these endorphins. I ride for adventure and thousands of beautiful views. I ride because I want to be a part of the community that adores cycling. I ride because I appreciate the simple form of movement on a bike and the look of this amazing machine. Often I ride on my bike just to ride on the bike. I ride to commute or to race. I ride because I like it. I ride for myself.
What is your favourite set up?
I don’t have a favorite setup. I have different bikes which I use for different occasions – the mountains, the city, the track – but if I had to choose one, it would be my road bike – Cinelli Faster. My road bike & mountains, where I go to lose my mind and find my soul. To escape and take a breath.
Do you think the environment is male-dominated?
Yes, but this problem is not limited to cycling. We live in a world dominated by men, and because of this, there is a certain amount of gender discrimination in every sport. I think it might even be more prevalent amongst those more experienced or older, such as referees or commentators – maybe it’s some sort of old school thinking. They often treat men’s cycling as better, more spectacular, or even the only valid one.
However, I have not felt any form of discrimination or dominance from my cycling friends. They are very open and tolerant, just normal. We feel equal.
Fortunately, the world is changing, so the old school thinking is fading away. From generation to generation, women fight for their rights to have equal rights both on a competitive level or just riding in a group.
The girls bike community is growing, so the bike races are more equal to the men’s world. I feel cool about it. Chicks ride faster and faster. Stronger and stronger! ♥
Any riding plans for the future?
Another year of exploring Spain. Still, so many mountains to climb. So many places to see yet.
Currently, it’s forbidden to leave the region due to the pandemic, but when better times come, I’m going to ride into the local mountains again.
Another event on my list is to organize the upcoming Women’s 100 this year. Thousands of women gather into groups around the world and ride 100 km on bikes. Girls from the Warsaw area come together to celebrate women’s cycling. So far, I have managed to organize six such events, each with more participants. I can’t wait for the next time!
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.