Name/location/discipline

Kristina/Malmö/Fixed gear

What does riding mean to you?

Riding is my everyday life. As a bike messenger – I make my living by riding. I commute almost everywhere by bike and this gives me loads of independence from public transport systems. In the rare cases that I actually walk, I feel weird and slow.

Riding means power. Power to give a positive example and do my fair share of environmentalism. I especially enjoy riding in traffic jams and filtering through cars. It gives me huge satisfaction knowing that car drivers are probably secretly jealous of my ability to move much quicker than them. At the same time I am hoping that they will sooner or later take the decision to leave the car in the garage and get on their own bikes instead to gain the same freedom of movement they saw in me.

Whenever my soul empties because of the urban environment, I take a ride out of the city and I recharge really quickly. Cycling helps me escape all devices that steal my attention from the real world. It is the time to be fully and truly with myself.

Cycling has the ability to intensify my emotions (maybe because all distractions are put aside) and it is then when I can feel that joy of being alive, exploding in my whole body. But sometimes it can be scary.

If I am going through a difficult period of my life, getting on my bike means that I will face my deepest fears and I will have to do it all alone. It is beautiful how simply the motion of pushing pedals can bring you so many different experiences and feelings, depending on your needs and surroundings.

What is your favourite set up?

Two wheels and a frame is my favourite. If it rolls – then it is perfect. I usually ride my fixie and I truly appreciate when the pedals push my feet instead of the opposite. That bike is a true friend sharing the effort and always makes me feel snippity snap. 

When I feel like a grown up, I do enjoy the Omnium cargo and especially the fact that I can give rides to my beloved ones. 

Do you think the environment is male dominated?

I think the environment is human dominated. The community here in Malmo is so extremely welcoming to every living and breathing creature on a bicycle so not for a moment have I felt any special treatment for the fact that I am a girl on a bicycle.

Everyone is really supportive, friendly and happy when new people join the community so gender absolutely does not factor in. Basically, ‘the more the merrier’ is above everything else.

Any riding plans for the future?

All of the grand ones – going through Europe – from Scandinavia to the Balkans; cycling to the Arctic circle etc. But these are more like – one day, when I have the time. As of now, I don’t plan anything but a few days ahead, which leaves a lot of space for being spontaneous and go with the flow. The usual pattern is to check out the weather forecast and follow the direction of the wind:) No joke – aways a winning strategy!

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.


Name/location/discipline

Zofia Kowalczyk aka Zofix
Warsaw/Poland
Fixed gear

What does riding mean to you?

When I think of riding a bike, first things that come to my mind are: friends, freedom and commuting. I love the fact, that I met so many great people because of this little riding thing. I feel like I’m a part of a big family – and I’m not just talking about my closest friends, but all of peeps that ride. It’s that beautiful little thing about this kind of communities. I’m also (for now pretty shitty, but wait for it) a skateboarder and it’s the same thing – wherever you are, you’re part of it.

And freedom? Actually I don’t know how to explain this. It’s the feeling when it is just you and your bike – it could be in a crowded city, forest or while riding along beautiful beach – in the end it doesn’t matter. I have 4 loves of my life that gives me this feeling – fixed gear, snowboard, skateboard and analog photography. I can’t pick one, they’re very different, but when one of them is missing, I’m not 100% me.

What is your favourite set up?

My favourite set up is of course my current bike! I’m riding a custom Mielec frame with little lo-pro with carbon Aventon fork, Factory5 lattice chainring (fuckin’ love it), Omnium crank, H+Son Archetype rims, Miche Pista hubs, carbon riser, Cinelli Pista stem and my favourite Continental 4 season tires – they’re indestructible!

But if I could get whatever I want, I would definitely pick Cannondale Track frame from 1995’ or my best friend’s bike – he has black lo-pro, which looks like a devil and I love it with all my heart.

pic. Tomasz Seruga

Do you think the environment is male dominated?

Well…there are more men riding, but I don’t think it’s really dominated by them. Or maybe I should say – I don’t feel like I’m in a male dominated environment. That’s kinda natural that when there’s more men or women the atmosphere is not the same, but I never felt like an outsider because of my gender. Every year more and more girls starts to ride, build/fix their bikes or just get to know this culture. And I’m not talking about those girls from instagram pics that are just posing on fixed gears in short skirts, I’m talking about all girls that actually RIDE! 

Any riding plans for the future?

I don’t like making plans for things like that. All I want is to still have so much fun of riding my fixed gear. The best of my “bike memories” are the result of spontaneous decisions. So my only plan is to not have one and enjoy every second of it!

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.


Name: Julka Plenzler
Location: Poznan/ Poland
Discipline: fixed gear/ bike polo

What does riding mean to you?

Last year I started riding a fixed gear and immediately fell in love with it.

For me cycling is a way of spending my free time and the best form of transport. You don’t need money, driving license, all you need is a bike and willingness. Bike gives a lot of possibilities, you can get anywhere you want… ride to forest, to the mountains, to a beach. You can race with the cars in the urban jungle, play bike polo… It’s amazing.

What is your favourite set up?

Currently I am riding on a fixed gear, I have a steel frame from Csepel. I love that black beauty, she is indestructible like me!

Do you think the environment is male dominated?

Definitely yes, the environment is dominated by male riders. Girls on bikes aren’t taken seriously, rather like an attraction… I hope it will change soon and it will become normal that girls ride bikes and do it awesome.

I’m glad, that where I live I have good male friends who support me, help to learn new tricks and as a woman I never felt worse in their company.

I think girls should support each other more, not treat each other only as competitors.

Any riding plans for the future?

Summer is coming! I want to do more kilometers, of course go to PCMC [Polish Cycling Messengers Championships] and I want to test my skills on a velodrome.

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.


Name/location/discipline

I’m based in Copenhagen. I’m mainly doing gravel/cx, MTB and bikepacking but I also (besides some random beaters and city bikes) own a fixie and a road bike which is not been used that much at the moment. Then I sometimes do bikepolo, alleycats and work as a messenger. 

What does riding mean to you?

Everything.

It forces me to be in the moment which I’m really not good at when not on a bike. It’s also a way to disappear from society, city life, feelings, overthinking, expectations and duties. I go ride when I’m frustrated, when I’m ecstatic, when I’m sad, when I’m comfortable, when I’m hungover etc. 

It has become my indispensable tool to handle my endless restlessness. 

It is my favorite way of being social and hanging out with other people. 

When I’m (rarely) riding solo it forces all my subconsciously hidden feelings to come to the surface and forces me to deal with myself and actual being (which is tough). I want to be better at solo riding. Meaning I want to be better dealing with myself. 

Nature and social life are definitely the most important things to me. That’s what cycling gives me. 

What is your favourite set up?

Oh, depends on the day and the ride!

At the moment whenever I have time for cycling I’d prioritise my mountain bike, a hardtail NS Eccentric which I build a little over a year ago after many years of stubbornly taking my cross bike on the MTB trails meaning that a MTB and suspension wouldn’t be any different since I on my CX easily could follow the guys on MTBs. But I somehow saw the light – oh I loooooove my mountain bike. 

But my all time favorite set-up must be my CX/gravel/touring bike, a Bombtrack Hook 2. It’s the perfect compromise between light, fast and comfortable, it’ll do fine on all kinds of roads, trails etc and will be the one I take on favourite and most important kind of ride – long rides on the backroads. It can do anything.

Do you think the environment is male dominated?

This is also a though one to put into words. 

First of all nobody can deny the overload of males in the environment. But through the last couple of years at least since I did my entrance to it, I’ve seen more and more females/WTNB’s joining and I’ve seen and are still seeing the environment turning slightly into a less competitive and more and more social/get together thing. I don’t know which came first or if they’re coming hand in hand… (?!) 

Secondly it’s a shame in races that where’s such a lack of females/WTNB’s. It makes the competition really poor and we most often can’t even fill up the podium. Also often the few competitors have to different level to actual compete. Through the many CX races I did for 4 years I can only remember 3 times having a real fight on the court all the way to the finish line. It’s a shame because it’s in races that I really improve my skills, courage and ability to push a little harder.

But most important; this environment is where I feel most as the human I am and not identified by my gender (or age btw). I’m just as welcome to join any kind of rides, activities etc as any others. Here we’re all just cyclist -defined by our fitness, experience, interests, discipline, way of being and other for the activity relevant stuff. What a freedom. I love the cycle environment.

Oh a last thing; a kind of a first world problem. I hatehatehatehate the comments like “wow how cool to see a female on the court”………………….. I get that it’s only meant to be nice and because it’s a rare view. But it gives me props for being a specific gender and/or brave for doing something unexpected (because of my gender)  instead of props for my actual action. 

I was so proud to see Fiona taking the win at TCNR last year. It’s history for sure! And it takes some serious guts to get that strong especially as a female according to science – which I do believe in but I also believe that culture and social norms have a big role in this topic which can be defeated. And she deserves all the respect in the world. But what about giving her the kudos instead of paying so much attention to her gender, it was never impossible physically for a female to take a win in such a race, ‘only’ a question of effort and time put into it (and the individual behind it – without mentioning the gender).

Nevertheless if you’re a male or female it’ll take shitload of time and effort to get to the top. Not denying that females in general will need more effort than men. But also some men will never get even close to the end of the peloton in such a race. The physics varies from individual. A female is never just a female.

I do hope to see more females/WTNBs in the environment later!

That I say now will be way easier said than done, I don’t want to sound like an asshole – I know where it all comes from (not inside the cycle environment I know – just for the record) and it’s not easy to change. But I often hear “irrational excuses” like “i’m (she) not fast enough – they’ll (guys) have to wait” but I can tell from having been riding with both parts, that she is faster. But assume herself being slow — guys can be slow too.

I hope females will be able to leave their insecurity behind and join some rides instead of telling themselves they aren’t good enough. Try it! I never felt unwelcome – even the one time where I really misjudged my fitness and went on the (too) fast team – I was new there, they knew, I felt bad and they waited (a little impatiently tho) and then we laughed.

Any riding plans for the future?

Ehhh, sooooo many. But my rides are often really spontaneously; long as shorter ones. I have too many routes on my ridewithgps account from fully detailed routes in Georgia to a brief idea of riding to a random spot on the French west coast. They’ll be ridden someday.  Maybe. Maybe I go somewhere I never thought of instead, planned from one day to another.

But as every year I did plan a few tours in the Swedish backroads already and one through Denmark. 

Then I think I’ll tour to Basel to ECMC. And I’m really keen on making it to CMWC in Bogota and do some weeks touring afterwards (but economics…) – bahhh I’ll make it happen somehow. 

But my overall goal is to do some more solo touring, so I’ll aim for at least taking one night on my own each month.

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.


Name/location/discipline

Name: Kathrin ”Kat” Gutzeit
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Discipline: Fixed, Road, Gravel 

What does riding mean to you?

Riding my bike means freedom in the first place, easy access to places, transportation and consciousness about our environment. I live in the city of Stockholm where there are still too many cars and to ride by all the clogged places and intersections during rush hours makes me weirdly happy. I’m also interested in the mechanical part of biking so I fix them on my own, rebuild or build up new frames. 

What is your favourite set up?

I don’t have a specific favourite setup, I own five different bikes at the moment which I use for different occasions but if I need to choose one it would be my Oddcycles TGAC – it’s designed by my friend and it’s the most versatile bike I ever owned. 

Do you think the environment is male dominated?

The bikescene in Stockholm is pretty much male dominated when it comes to riding fixed gear bikes but when it comes to other disciplins there are a lot of rides and tours arranged for mixed groups or just female groups. 

Any riding plans for the future?

My future riding plans are to join some people for touring-weekends around the Stockholm area and this year I’m gonna ride the Gotland Gravel race – I love the island and have never been able to explore it by bike. 

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.


Name/location/discipline

Name: Milana Barbosa
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Discipline: Courier/Cyclist/Prince

What does riding mean to you?

Riding a bicycle has many different meanings and definitions to me, like it’s my only way to get around beside public transportation. I enjoy traveling and using city transit, but being able to move freely and having the autonomy to stop or go as fast as I like is really important to me. Touring across countries or even states has really given perspective on how amazing the human body is and how much power you truly have. In that sense riding is a strong key that should be utilized more and not underestimated.

I have never driven cars nor do I have any intention of driving in my life. I don’t judge people who have licenses, as I understand the practicality and efficiency of driving for work or various activities, but for my life I would rather use transit or cycling to get from point A to point B than moving around in a vehicle in which I think is too much power or responsibility for most people.

Riding is also a means of income. Working as a courier I rely on my physical abilities and bikes to provide for me, as I pay for rent, food (fuel costs), clothes, traveling, etc from being on the road. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without cycling. Riding means the world to me, and is my world.

What is your favorite set up?

Right now for work I am riding a simple steel road bike. The hills and rain in Seattle can be a lot sometimes so I try and find whatever set up is the most fun or comfortable for that season or time. As the winter approaches I switch to my single speed mountain bike and hop around the city. For touring I have been riding fixed. The ease of packing up my fixed gear bike to fly overseas with makes it very simple and ideal to travel with. Im not sure if I have a favorite set up as a whole but favorite set ups for different cycling activities.

Do you think the environment is male dominated?

I know the environment is male dominated. For every courier event, bike race, commuter group, etc, you can just open your eyes and see that. The community breeds a culture of male dominance and thus makes it unwelcoming for a lot of WTF to become messengers, race, or even ride a bike. Of the WTF I do know that ride I have nothing but the utmost respect and love for. I have worked on the road for only 4 years now and that many of the WTF that I see now have paved the way for me to feel included. Awaremess and Starbma are organisations that were created to fight abusive behaviour and open the doors to various groups that struggle within the community.

I think it’s my responsibility at this point to go to as many events or races as I possible to give presence for WTF and POC but also to look/prevent/stop inappropriate behaviour. I also believe that is the responsibility of all of my male friends to realize their privilege and use it to help promote POC/WTF attendance and recognition in the cycling world. The environment is male dominated but as long as we keep making strides in the right direction I believe we can change this.

Any riding plans for the future?

As I write this I am in a Frankfurt messenger office on vacation and riding around a familiar but still new city. Every year I go to at least one national/international event to see old friends, make new friends, and support the WTF/POC that also attend. For 2020 if money and holiday days permit me I plan on touring from Milan-Grenoble-Basel in the Summer to go to ECMC. For the autumn it’s NACCC in Boston and CMWC in Bogota. I have a lot of planning and money saving to do. I will also try and do smaller tours with my best friend around Seattle to nearby cities. As of right now my plan is to ride around Berlin this weekend and return to Seattle to work as a courier until I travel again.

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.


Name/location/discipline

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.


Name/location/discipline

Justyna John (but everyone says Tina). I live in Warsaw, Poland. I’m an editor of the 43ride bike magazine. I love downhill but sometimes I also like endure and dirt jumping.

What does riding mean to you?

Mountainbiking is my whole life except for work in government administration.

It’s a way of spending free time, friends, testing bicycle components and, above all, great joy. I used to race in competitions, but because of an injury I had to end my career – then the whole world collapsed. I found a way to connect a “normal” life with my beloved bikes. Sometimes it requires advanced logistics, but I manage;)

What is your favourite set up?

It depends on the bike I ride in the season. I’m testing a lot of new bike parts, including frames and cushioning. At the moment I’m happy with the bike of the Polish brand NS Bikes, but I’m thinking about changing to a new model (for new standard – 29”). In general, Poles make very good cycling equipment – I’m proud of it.

Do you think the environment is male dominated?

Definitely downhill is the mens world. I have never been treated badly just because I’m a woman. But I have no problem with the fact that I have few mountainbiking girlfriends – I like to ride with boys. I have a more masculine character, so it suits me. Will this change? I don’t know, many women choose enduro because it’s easier. It does not require breaking the fear of jumping large obstacles, trails are easier. Downhill is a sport for tough guys;)

Any riding plans for the future?

I travel a lot with the bike – I love bikeparks in Austria, I loved Maribor in Slovenia. My dream is to spend a few weeks in Whistler, Canada. This is the Mecca of every gravity biker. I would also like to ride enduro in beautiful Scotland, where I feel at home.

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.


Name/location/discipline

Lorenza Walker, living in Oslo, Norway from Stockholm, Sweden. Working as a bike courier and bikepacking whenever I can.

What does riding mean to you?

My friend asked me this, the summer of 2018. We had just sat down to eat some cold watermelon, after riding over 340 km that day. It was midnight, we had arrived back home to an unusually tropical summernight. The last 50 km had been torture due to fatigue, but once we sat down the urge to get back on the bike itched in the back of my mind. I answered with my mouth full of watermelon, it’s escape. It can take you places physically, yes, but also mentally and spiritually.

Yes, it can be something very practical, taking you from A to B. But also travelling in the perfect movement. Where the escape becomes the meditation where you really meet yourself. The search in the escape is to find the flow, either within or on the road. Or both. Deep shit, but that is why cycling means something to me. Bikepacking as really struck a chord with me and with it means to go places with little gear and see how far you can go. It takes the escape and travel within to a whole other level.

What is your favourite set up?

I have been trying out a lot of different bikes lately, and there is rarely a bike I’ve met that I didn’t like. It’s been mostly road bikes, my first being an aluminum iconic Cannondale Saeco race bike, but now I just bought a crappy singlespeed for the coming winter at work and it’s so much fun on one gear.

Do you think the environment is male dominated? If yes what are your thoughts about it?

These question perplexes me a bit, because I think the focus is wrong. Which is exactly the problem in the sport industry. Are there any women who have inspired you to ride? I think it’s incredible to see more and more women getting exposure and a cultural shift in lifting women by both men and women (in the industry). It’s when we see people who are alike, that can become an inspiring gateway for more people from all genders and walks of life to get into cycling. Now we are seeing women like Lael Wilcox, Ayesha McGowan and Fiona Kolbinger, whom are total forces and bringing important diversity into the industry.

Any riding plans for the future?

I did have a big plan for next year, which was to take on the Around The World record that is currently held by Jenny Graham. But after riding the Transcontinental this year, I had some insights in not being ready for it. I will do some more ultra distance racing the coming year, definitely take on the TCR again. Other than that just zip around Oslo at work and explore more of Norway.

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.


Name/location/discipline

Leigh/born in Minnesota (USA) but living in Sydney (Australia)/fixed, cargo, touring

What does riding mean to you?

I come from the most bike friendly city in the United States –  Minneapolis, Minnesota. I remember seeing cycle messengers around the city when I was in my teens and I just thought they seemed rad and I loved the concept of actually physically working to make a living, a modern hunter gatherer – if you want to eat, you have to chase that bread. So after college, instead of pursuing a career in line with my degree, I became a bike messenger and completely fell in love with the community and the joy of the ride. Since then, I’ve worked in cities across the US, began competing in messenger events nationally then went on to compete in events and tour around the world making some amazing connections. Here I am 4 years later and I am still at it, pushing paper on the other side of the world!

So, in short, cycling means to me exactly what it brought me – I learned to take in the world around me through the best and the worst, the sunny days and the bone chilling days, embracing discomfort and showing myself what I’m capable of. More importantly, though, the thing I am most grateful for is is that cycling brought me a ridiculous, driving and loving community.

What is your favourite set up?

I’ve been riding my All-City Big Block fixed for a majority of my mess career, I have even toured with it. But I’ve been working on an Omnimum for a bit and wow I am falling in loooove.

Generally I like narrow bars and a set back seat post because I somehow always wind up with tiny frames. Currently my gear ratio is 46×18.

Do you think the environment is male dominated? If yes what are your thoughts about it?

Absolutely. I would say in all the cities I have worked in and events I have attended, I was either the only non-man person or non-men made up at most 20% of the cycling community. It took me years to finally get a job as a courier because, sadly I was confronted with a wall of men who believed that non-dudes just couldn’t hack it. It was discouraging and annoying as hell. I find that still, there are a lot of issues that face the community regarding sexism but I’d say that is pretty universal across industries and niche communities, especially those that require manual labor. It isn’t a cycling thing, it’s a whole society thing. I make the best of it by encouraging other non-men to join in and by participating in collectives like the *BMA and generally remain an outspoken woman that demands equality in order to attempt to get those waves of equality kickin’.

Any riding plans for the future?

Heading to Hawaii after Australia so I’ll be checking out those beautiful landscapes. Hoping to do a South America trip coming up! Really keen on doing some rides throughout Europe and checking out Japan!

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.