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Name: Milana Barbosa
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
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.