Name/location/discipline

Zuza/ Szczecin –> Kraków (Poland) / commuter with a hint of a messenger, freedom rider, abandoning my infant son to ride a bike as often as possible

What does riding mean to you?

The more I think about it, the more I realise at some point riding a bicycle became a huge part of my identity. I quit cycling around the 5th month of my pregnancy, partly because it became difficult to get on my bike, mostly because I got scared of getting hurt in the traffic. And I missed it SO MUCH.

My first post-pregnancy ride, after 3 long months of baby blues, almost got me in tears. It felt like coming back, reconnecting to the world, remembering who I am aside of being a mum. I felt like Zuza again.

It’s not an original thought but riding really IS freedom. It’s being in touch with my body. It’s a symbiosis with a machine. Together we’re this perfect, well-oiled mechanism. Even if in reality we’re both far from perfect.

I love riding through the well known streets of my city, speeding up and slowing down in all the right places. I love riding through the woods. I love how riding gets me places in the most efficient way. But I also love the mere act of joyful riding, how I feel every muscle doing the exact moves necessary, the wind in my hair, the deep breaths. It’s who I am, I’m a girl, who rides.

What is your favourite set up?

The current one, a road bike put together by my brother on a vintage steel frame, claiming to be a Nishiki (which it probably isn’t). It’s possibly a little too big for me, it got hit by a car and may break at any point, it’s nothing fancy, but for me it’s just perfect. It’s beautiful in its imperfection and if anything happened to it, I’d be obsessively looking for a frame with the same geometry.

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

Even if the numbers are equal, the male voice is louder and that is still a universal truth. I worked as a dispatcher in a bike messenger company for 9 years and it was/is a boys’ club. I have huge respect for every girl who came to at least try working with us. Not only is it a hard, demanding job – by the clients and her coworkers a girl messenger is often considered either a wonder of nature or a mascot.

If you’re a girl doing a stereotypically male activity, people get surprised, ask silly questions, treat you like a circus freak, patronise you – it’s no different when you’re riding your bike for a living or for fun. I kind of wish it stopped already.

Luckily, my local cycling gang in Szczecin, although male-dominated, is very inclusive and supportive. I learned a lot from them, had heaps of fun, and was never made feel bad for being weaker/less in shape. It’s important that we treat each other simply like humans, equal but different. And that is another universal truth.

Any riding plans for the future?

I’m slowly getting back on track, which isn’t too easy with an infant on board. We’re moving to Kraków in autumn, I’m hoping to tame the new city by finding my cycling routes around it. And hopefully in the spring I’ll be ready to take my son for a ride – I’m really looking forward to infecting his little heart with the bicycle disease.

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

Gloria / Italian Heart, Berlin-based / Fixed-gear, Road *NEW*

What does riding mean to you?

When I moved to Berlin almost 3 years ago, I didn’t have so many friends, and it was really hard to start a new life: I left everything in between Como and Milan, my parents and my friends, smiles and tears. But not my bike. It was the first thing that I asked my parents to send me.

At that time I was riding a turquoise and heavy Create Bikes; it was the first bike I’d bought, and I was treating it like a jewel. I started riding it with the free-wheel gear, and then I turned the wheel to the fixie side.

After a few months of riding it in Berlin, I decided to upgrade my skills in riding fixed-gear, and I found a second-hand 8Bar. Best choice ever! I was going everywhere with it. The memory is still fresh in my mind of the day when I did 100k with an Italian friend of mine: it was really tough to ride non-stop but we made it!

Recently I bought a Canyon Endurace WMN AL Disc 7.0, finally. For me, there was always a limit with my fixie bike: long distances. I don’t have that problem anymore with my new and shiny road bike.

I feel so connected with my bikes that I also gave them names: the Create was called Camilla, the 8Bar is called Fritz, the Canyon is called Bella. Am I crazy? Maybe… yes.

What is your favourite set up?

I ride my 8bar bike every day: from going to work at Blinkist or to the supermarket. The road bike is only for long rides or for those beautiful weekends where I meet new cyclists or some bike friends are training me to be less lazy 😛

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

SHE36 is running a petition to get rid of the tradition of podium girls at Tour De France 2019. You should have a look at it, and sign it! https://www.change.org/p/tourdefrance-get-rid-of-podium-girls-amaurysport-letour-chprudhomme-2

Any riding plans for the future?

I still have it on my list to ride from Berlin to Copenhagen: I’d be super excited to do it, but the problem is to find people that would love to join me on this trip, as it requires taking some days off from work and to ride at least 150k a day (it’s not a super-beginner-ride).

I might ride around Lago di Como in October with my Italian friends. I’ll go back to Italy to see the Giro di Lombardia, and it’s a perfect occasion for renting a bike (it’s too expensive to bring mine with me) and riding around my beautiful lake. 

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
Joanna / Poznań (Poland) / fixed gear

What does riding mean to you?

It’s hard to describe it in few sentences… Riding means freedom. Riding means independence. Riding saves time – you don’t stand in traffic jams or wait for late public transport. In a city you can get to anywhere, usually faster than by car. So even you’re late – you’re not. I ride all year round and I can’t understand why people give up in winter – you can warm up on a bike instead of freezing!

Thanks to cycling I’ve met a lot of wonderful and inspiring people and I’ve been in places where I couldn’t get in a different way than by bike. Riding gave me a sense of self-confidence and now I can’t imagine my life without riding. It’s just a part of me.

What is your favourite set up?

Fixed gear, my one and only set up. FG has been my first bike in adult life (since 2014) and till today I can’t convince myself to freewheel.

In my view, fixed gear seems to be the most universal set up. I use it for everyday commuting and long distance trips (over 250 km) as well. 

I ride it on tracks and I even finished a duathlon race in Poznań as one of the fastest woman.

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

I’d love to say no but there is still a lot to do. Many girls ride and do it very well but we are not taken seriously, methinks. Every cycling event I was at, there were just a few girls among a lot of guys. I’m lucky that most male riders from my surroundings are super cool and treat me fair but I heard many stories about unequal treatment of women in cycling – worse prizes for instance.

I think we – female riders – should keep together and show that WE ARE, we ride, we ride well and want to be taken seriously.

Any riding plans for the future?

This week I’m starting my holidays and I’m going to spend almost two weeks on my bike, all days long! I’m going on a trip around Poland and I’m considering taking a part in WroWelo Crit.

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

Erica Harumi Folli, 25 years-old. From São Paulo, Brasil, to Barcelona, Spain. Started with a fixed gear bike three years ago and then I officially changed to road bikes recently.

What does riding mean to you?

Riding gave me a sense of life. I mean, by riding I started to feel connected with life in a completely new way that I had never felt before. Riding for me means freedom, moving through neighborhoods, cities, countries or even continents. It makes me feel capable and also gives me the possibility to get better and better by the amount of effort I put on. It fulfilled me as well with a deep love, for the outside life, for the sunset and the sunrise, for the wind and the nature, making me truly appreciate the simple things in life. Also have been putting me in contact with so many amazing people around the world. Riding is a lifestyle.

What is your favourite set up?

I am really enjoying try it out the road bike and getting connected with the roads but fixed gear bikes will always be my true love as long as I started from there.Specifically, nowadays I find vintage stem really sexy. But I am not that kind of nerd-bike that have a favourite set up, I think.

Do you think the environment is male dominated?

Yes, of course. At all levels, from the streets to the biggest professionals. And it is sad to think that just because someone was born men that person will have more possibilities to get involved with this. Even though, I see some differences from the places I’ve been riding currently. For example, in São Paulo it was quite difficult to go training alone by the dangerous situation we live in the country as a whole. It happens to get even worse by the fact I am a women. I heard so many stories of friends that suffered from different kinds of harassment from other cyclists or even drivers at the roads that made quite difficult to maintain a healthy cycling life there. In another direction, when I moved to Barcelona this was one of the greatest surprises I had. As long as the cycling culture here is more evident, I don’t feel that insecurity I was used to feel and then I started to go training alone, go discover roads alone, minding my own business – just me and my bike. That kind of stuff made me feel a little bit more hopeful about the environment itself. In general it is a fact we have much more to conquer, but some little things like this makes me feel that is possible!

Any riding plans for the future?

I would love to plan some bike trip for the summer and also to join in some fixed gears criteriums, both really fun! Can’t wait for them!!

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

Katarzyna/Wrocław (Poland) now, Portugal soon/fixed + bike polo + road

What does riding mean to you?

Riding is freedom. Bikes really bring friends together, a family type of community. In almost every city there is somebody connected to the fixed gear culture or bike polo, so it makes it easier to travel and they are super open to help you, meet you and host you. I enjoy the fact that bikes draw people who are little bit rebellious or outside the norms and they care about something more than just themselves.

What is your favourite set up?

Every set up which allows me to move, I hate walking in the city. But if I had to choose, I think it’s my first fixie, put together by one of my friends on a frame by Ted James, it has got a lot of memories through the last five years of life challenges.

Do you think the environment is male dominated?

I think there are statistically more men playing polo, riding as bike messengers, but there is no division in genders in those fields and I don’t feel masculinity taking over, maybe a little bit in myself. Everybody is welcomed to join, except assholes and rude people. I feel that the number of riding girls is increasing, they feel that it’s giving them power, tolerance, security and family vibes. I’m not a profesional rider, but what I see at competitions, especially fixed gear criteriums, many organizers underestimate girls’ skill levels and their power and that they are sometimes faster than men. I like the idea of the mixed teams in bike polo, it’s definitely giving different feeling. Everybody has different skillsets and unique character to their style of playing so they can all go along and complete eachother.

So the answer if it male dominated? Yes and no, I never heard that I am forbidden to or discouraged from riding because of my gender, except it sometimes happened that we couldn’t organise a race on the velodrome, simply due to the fact that there weren’t enough girls to race. So I think it’s beneficial at a certain point to shift the focus from gender, creating further divisions through categories and labels, and to try to unite us equally on the same playing field and ride along together as humans.

Any riding plans for the future?

Bike polo definitely gives a lot of opportunites to travel, riding only on the court, outside of it I feel like a hamster on the wheel. I’m going to be playing in Porto (Porto Open)  and in Berlin for two tournaments (Mallet Dolorosa and Berlin Mixed). Maybe I will join up with the ECMC or PCMC in the summer. And hopefully some events on Wrocław’s velodrome – we have a really nice crew here – and demanding concrete track. Who knows, I tend to be spontaneous.


Name/location/discipline

Sandra, Berlin, Fixed Gear, SHE36

What does riding mean to you?

Free will and embracing nature – on the one hand I love finding new routes e.g. on my daily commute by escaping the usual bike lanes. On the other hand it’s the nicest feeling to ride your bike every single day in ANY weather condition. I promise you won’t feel cold sitting at your office desk for the rest of the day in winter 😉


What is your favourite set up?

Most of the times I ride my Koga steel frame which I transformed from a retro road bike to a sleek fixed gear. As a mother of a 2.5 year old son and now cyclist I don’t need to ride my granny bike which comes with a child seat too often anymore <3

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

I can only tell, that most of the male commuters underestimate my kind of speed. But I do hate the slow people sneaking to the first row on a red light, too. Racing wise I feel like the whole fixed gear community gets more open minded (not just about female riders) but there is way too much discrimination shit going on in the big picture. 

Any riding plans for the future?

I‘d surely love to start transitioning to road cycling to do more long distance rides in summer…



Name/location/discipline

Mana / I was born in Eastern Europe but living happily in Switzerland / I am working for Kurierzentrale and I love my workhorses: fixed, singlespeed and cx geared – choosing after my mood and/or socks (:

What does riding mean to you?
Depending on the day: sometimes just work and nothing more at all. Friyay leg burns if the whole week was windy… But sometimes I am not even realizing that I am working. Cantering through the city on my rainbow unicorn and nothing matters to me like  I am one in the traffic.

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What is your favourite set up?

I love all my bikes. Everything is perfectly measured for me. I love my fixed with the cool panter painting. I love my singlespeed with the front rack. I love my cx with the drop bars and fenders. My bike my home.

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

Yes it is. But It’s fine.We are living in a man dominated world anyway. But the girls are getting stronger and braver and be aware: though chicks are coming! The change is in the air! [meow]

Any riding plans for the future?

Riding my shifts (and horse) [hihihi]. And the summer is coming! I will be definitely at the ECMC and at the German Champs in Duisburg. So sorry but Jakarta [Cycle Messenger World Championships 2019] is not for my wallet in this year…
As an everyday-working messenger can’t plan more ride because I am working my a** off and still need a regeneration time for the next week. Yes I am getting older too (:

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
Stephanie Ortega/Los Angeles/CX, MTB, fixi

What does riding mean to you?
Riding for me is what I see as freedom. As a courier constantly working in the city and time and time dealing with rabid drivers. It is really nice to unplug and go straight to the mountains near home. I grew up skateboarding and the distance you cover is nothing quite as close to cycling. You can travel longer distances through bike touring stopping when you need to and just set up camp. Cycling is a beautiful sport and never ceases to amaze me on how much we can actually push as human beings.

What is your favourite set up?
My favorite setup is probably my MTB, it’s a Niner Sir9 Hardtail. It’s the bike I feel most comfortable on plus the advantages of bike touring. Camping in the mountains and not being concerned that it’s too rocky or too steep, at that point its simply fun.

Do you think the environment is male dominated? If yes what are your thoughts about it?
I do think the environment is male dominated. Especially as a bike courier or as a mountain biker. I believe there is this fear that is bottled up in everyone that prevents us from doing things, from riding in the city and constantly battling the cars to going to the mountains and riding technical trails. I think to grow some of these areas of cycling we need to go against our fear and practice on getting better. All things take time for us to get comfortable. Other reasons in my opinion are that there is not enough of us that can get together to teach each other and to motivate each other. I think internally we have to be supportive of each other in every aspect and levels, more WTF clinics, more supportive groups but I also think men have to change their mindsets and encourage women rather than laugh at fears or being impatient.

Any riding plans for the future?
I am doing the landrun100, thankful to WTF Bike Explorers. I don’t think I would be able to fully afford a trip to Oklahoma Stillwater if it weren’t for them. If I had the opportunity, I would love to go to Grinduro and definitely more bike tours.

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.