#CommunityConnect 07

Heather MacKinnon, Seattle – USA

How would you define yourself as a cyclist?
H: I’d say I’m a commuter turned enthusiast turned bike messenger turned pretending to race bikes against pros on the track, and occasionally in the street.

How many bikes do you own?
H: Currently 4 and a half

Aprox. how many Km’s do you cover per week?
H: It depends on the work day and whether or not I need to train for a race coming up. I don’t usually ride any less than 25 miles a week, but never more than 100 on average.

Would you consider yourself as having basic mechanical knowledge?
H: Basic, yeah. I still don’t understand how to true a wheel or adjust my disc brakes. But it’s important for me to know how to patch a tube at work on the go.

What does the bicycle simbolize for you?
H: Freedom! Liberation! You connect your body directly to your bicycle and you’re in complete control. It also responds back with whatever energy you put into it. It can also be your tool to take you wherever you want to go with little resources, and greater reward. It’s one of the most versatile tools a human being can possess. And it’s cheap and fun.

What do you think the local cycling community needs the most?
H: I tend not to really dwell on any negativity so it’s hard for me to answer this one directly. However, it would be really cool to see women’s cycling on the forefront of mainstream equally as men’s cycling. It’d also be cool to see more people of color and queer gender identities.

Do you feel the local council is doing enough for cyclists in your city?
H: I think so, the city of Seattle is so nice to ride around in. There are lots of bike lanes and cars are surprisingly responsive to cyclists.

What do you find to be the scariest aspect of cycling in the city?
H: Probably the unpredictability of traffic and pedestrian flow. There’s that small margin of uncertainty which will keep you on your toes. It can be scary and also a bit fun, but you never know what to expect with drivers.

When visiting Seattle, where would you advise cyclists to ride?
H: If you want a short and scenic training ride, the Merced Island loop. If you want a chill ride to a park with a view, ride to Gas Works. Or if you want good food, bars and a cool view of the Space Needle, ride around Belltown.

Heather 2

(@heatherfromboston)

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Heather MacKinnon, Seattle – USA

CC+Sept+Heather+2017

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#CommunityConnect 06

Youle, Frankfurt am Main Germany

How would you define yourself as a cyclist?
Y: I’m a hobby biker. I don’t like competitions and for me cycling is pure freedom. I’m not depending on streets, times, money or other people. I love to meet people and with a bike it’s an easier way.

How many bikes do you own?
Y: I have 6 bikes. One old trekking bike, I don’t use.  Two old race bikes from the 80’s. Two fixies, one custom bike and one new Race bike!

Aprox. how many Km’s do you cover per week?
Y: It depends. In May I rode 700km. I ride every day at least 25-30km. Plus my freetime biking…

Would you consider yourself as having basic mechanical knowledge?
Y: I can do some basic things. And with a fixie everything is really simple. But sometimes I go to a really good bike shop, the Fixiestube in Frankfurt. I like the guys!!! Sometimes we only drink beer or go to the Critical Mass.

What does the bicycle simbolize for you?
Y: FREEDOM! When I’m happy, I go cycling. When I’m sad, I go cycling. When I’m looking forward to something, I go cycling…. And a nice bike is a sexy accessory for a guy ;)

What do you think the local cycling community needs the most?
Y: I’m not  sure. Maybe better weather or less cars?! We have a Critical Mass 2 times a month and we have good shops with cool guys here.

Do you feel the local council is doing enough for cyclists in your city?
Y: No! We have too less bike lanes on the roads. I think we need a car free zone in the inner-city.

What do you find to be the scariest aspect of cycling in the city?
Y: Taxi drivers. They open the door without watching. They park on the bike lane. Often they’re going too fast. And pedestrians… looking at the phone, walking on the bike lane, walking between parked cars and not paying attention. I hate it.

When visiting Frankfurt, where would you advise cyclists to ride?
Y: Through the city to see the skyscrapers, or at the river Main or Nidda. The nature there is so beautiful.

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(@zornrose)

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Youle, Frankfurt am Main – Germany

CC+June_02+Youle+2017

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#CommunityConnect 05

Korina Miserli, Athens – Greece

How would you define yourself as a cyclist?
K: Given the fact that I gave up driving a few years ago and these days I exclusively commute by bike, I have incorporated the bikes into my daily life and they have become a lifestyle choice. Whether I ride my bike to go to work, or I ride my bike to train and be active, in the past years I have become a “hybrid” cyclist embracing any bike style… as long as it’s on two wheels it will be my vehicle of choice.

How many bikes do you own?
K: At the moment I own 7 bikes: two road bikes, three fixed gear bikes, one trek bike and a folding bike.

Aprox. how many Km’s do you cover per week?
K: I’d say around 150 km/week

Would you consider yourself as having basic mechanical knowledge?
K: There was time when i couldn’t even inflate a tyre, but give the fact that the bikes have become a huge passion to me, that only made me more eager to learn more. I still need technical support every now and then, but fortunately i can deal with basic things.

What does the bicycle simbolize for you?
K: First of all, i cannot imagine spending one day without riding one of my bikes, whether it is for a shorter or a longer distance. The sense of freedom that it gives me every time, cannot be compared to anything else.  It’s such a mood changer every time I get on one of my bikes… I happen to work very long hours and the bike has become one of the small pleasures to enjoy in the little time I have. Riding my bikes relaxes me and charges me with energy to get through the day.

What do you think the local cycling community needs the most?
K: My city is pretty chaotic, a lot of traffic and a lot of speeding… unfortunately there are not many places where you can ride your bike without the inconvenience of cars and motorbikes and buses speeding inches from you. You have to be very alert at all times. At the moment we need a better infrastructure that would allow us to feel safer on the roads. And also to raise awareness of all the participants in traffic to respect the right of the cyclists to be on the road and enjoy safely their rides.

Do you feel the local council is doing enough for cyclists in your city?
K: I believe steps are taken in the right direction, though at a slow rhythm due to all the financial difficulties that Greece is going through at the moment. But there are more and more events organized by the local authorities that involve cyclists such as races, trade shows, group rides etc to attract more enthusiasts and grow the local cycling community.

What do you find to be the scariest aspect of cycling in the city?
K: As I mentioned before it’s the safety issue. While riding a bike we are extremely exposed to careless drivers that do not respect our right to share the road with them. Many times we are facing negative behaviour and even verbal abuse and that is such a shame considering we only contribute at reducing the traffic in the city and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

When visiting Athens, where would you advise cyclists to ride?
K: Athens is a wonderful city to explore and according to what you want to enjoy more you would have three great options. The first one is to cycling around the city center where all the important touristic highlights are located. Then cycling the Ymittos area offers both a challenging cycling route and incredible scenery and views of the city. Last but not least is the coast of Attica, a less challenging route, with hardly any uphill riding but with the beaches and the beautiful Greek sea keeping you company the whole time.

Korina Miserli 2

(@kori_n_bikes)

 

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Korina Miserli, Athens – Greece

CC+June+2017

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Chelsea Marie Matias, NYC – USA

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#CommunityConnect 04

Chelsea Marie Matias, NYC – USA

How would you define yourself as a cyclist?
C:
Considering I’ve only been racing for three years now, I would define myself as a very passionate cyclist-eager to learn more and more everyday.

How many bikes do you own?
C: I own two right now. My favorite bike being my Roda Gira Arrogante track bike and my second bike being my Liv Envie road bike.

Aprox. how many Km’s do you cover per week?
C: It depends on my training schedule but usually from 100-160km a week. Mostly indoor work until it gets warm outside. It’s hard training during the cold in New York!

Would you consider yourself as having basic mechanical knowledge?
C: Definitely! I have a long way to go to be able to do complete maintenance on my bikes but I do know basic gear swaps and chain length adjustments for the track bike, brake and gear adjustments for the road bike and how to disassemble and assemble both safely and securely! I want to learn how to build wheels soon, that is my goal for 2017.

What does the bicycle simbolize for you?
C: The bike is like my diary. Anything I feel, whether it be sad or happy, angry or excited – I express it on the bike. Bikes keep me whole so I would think it symbolizes hope. Hope to not only become a stronger, faster, resilient and better cyclist, but a better person. Bikes center my world and help me channel all my energy into the most thrilling feeling ever – being in the fast lane!

What do you think the local cycling community needs the most?
C: More bike friendly businesses and more protected roads for cyclists! Although the crew at Transportation Alternatives out here in NYC are doing an amazing job at making that happen, it’s nice to just express that we need more to spread the word with the rapidly growing cyclist population in the area!

Do you feel the local council is doing enough for cyclists in your city?
C: I feel like they could do so much more. It’s just hard for some of the city council members to relate to our needs and concerns. A lot of community volunteers and non-profit organizations have lost so much sleep trying to get the bike rights we have now, but there’s still a lot of people who are skeptical about cyclists riding in the city. I wish we could have bike highways here. That would be a dream.

What do you find to be the scariest aspect of cycling in the city?
C: Getting sandwiched in between two cars. Sometimes riding in the city, our own bike lanes aren’t safe because people like to walk and run on them, so I go to the middle of the road to be seen and get to my destination easier. Sometimes cars don’t pay attention and try to squeeze into lanes where they don’t fit and they forget to look! I’ve had so many close calls with getting sandwiched haha, luckily my handling skills are pretty good so I’m still alive!

 

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(@chelseabicycleco)

 

#CommunityConnect 03

Sami Moreno Sauri, Berlin – Germany

How would you define yourself as a cyclist?
S. I would say I started as a commuter with a “fixie” bike 7 years ago, and now I could say I have become an athlete and a joy rider!

How many bikes do you own?
S. While I was living in Barcelona I use to have lots of bikes always with me; commuter, bmx, fixie, road, mtb. Now I moved to Berlin and my apartment its not that big so I have here a commuter, a track bike and road but I might have a cyclocross one soon I think hahaha.

Aprox. how many Km’s do you cover per week?
S. It depends about my training plan, or if it rains… I can’t say how many exactly! Sorry :)

Would you consider yourself as having basic mechanical knowledge?
S. Yes, if I do something I always try to know about the basic things of all. Like you can’t go cycling without knowing how to change a flat tire, or knowing maybe a bit about brake problems. Just small things like that maybe make you arrive home everyday hahaha.

What does the bicycle simbolize for you?
S. Now I could say it completes my life, it symbolizes power, freedom, adventure, happiness, fun, speed… I could never finish saying things, just everything!

What do you think the local cycling community needs the most?
S. They are just knowing more and more each day, I think the cars, public transportation, taxis, motorbikes, etc.. they are the ones who need some lessons about how to behave on the roads. We just need to be respectful about others, and depends which city you are in, maybe more bike lanes!

Do you feel the local council is doing enough for cyclists in your city?
S. I just moved from Barcelona to Berlin, I could say both cities are growing in their bike city structures. Berlin its maybe more used to have tons of cyclist and Barcelona is new and they are working on it.

What do you find to be the scariest aspect of cycling in the city?
S. I don’t know I never had any crazy problems. I’m not easily scared so it’s difficult for me to answer this question hahaha.

When visiting Berlin, where would you advise cyclists to ride?
S. “There are a lot of places and very good places, it depends which part of the city you are in, because it takes sometimes one hour to get out. I’m living next to a very good forest called ‘Grunewald’ – there are some hills, a lake, nice cx forest just a bit of everything near to home!”

CC+Apr_01+2017

(@samisauri)

 

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Sami Moreno Sauri, Berlin – Germany

CC+Apr+2017

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Angela De Vita, Rome – Italy

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#CommunityConnect 02

Angela De Vita, Rome – Italy

How would you define yourself as a cyclist?
A: I really don’t know what kind of cyclist I am, I just like to ride so I try to get on my bicycle when ever it is possible.

How many bikes do you own?
A: I have three bikes: one racing bike that I take for trips outside the city, one single speed and one vintage bike for the city.

Aprox. how many Km’s do you cover per week?
A: Everyday I cover at least 20km’s to go to work, during the week-end I like to ride outside the city with my friends covering distances between 50 and 120km’s.

Would you consider yourself as having basic mechanical knowledge?
A: Mmm…I don’t think so. I’m able to do basic reparations… but I have a lot of friends who can help me if necessary!!!

What does the bicycle simbolize for you?
A: It symbolizes my fight against the unconditional use of cars and the exploitation of natural resources. I started using the bicycle when the gasoline price got more expensive due to Government choices (not shared by me).

What do you think the local cycling community needs the most?
A: The Roman cycling community needs more respect and politeness from other road users such as car drivers or motorcyclists, sometimes I think people play pranks on ciclysts for fun… but it is very dangerous.

Do you feel the local council is doing enough for cyclists in your city?
A: Since a few months Roma has a new town mayor who made a lot of promises about cycling mobility, we will see. Right now we have few cycling paths and in bad condition, and they are on peripheral or green areas (we are used to see the bike as a hobby instead of a trasportation), for me it is necessary to have bike lanes especially on the streets that are mostly used by commuters . I think that it is also necessary to simplify and encourage intermodality also for a better management of city traffic jams.

What do you find to be the scariest aspect of cycling in the city?
A: Cars, they are totally unfocused on cyclists.

When visiting Rome, where would you advise cyclists to ride?
A: As I said before, Rome is not a bike friendly city, there are no bike lanes, the traffic is heavy and the streets are in bad conditions. When I go cycling I prefer to ride outside the city enjoying Rome from far away. Following via Appia or via Tuscolana, towards Castelli Romani, it is very easy to reach some beautiful places… clean air, green landscapes, sweet slopes, delicious food and of course an amazing panoramic view of Rome..

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(@non_aligned)

 

#CommunityConnect

Eileen Abrigo, Santiago – Chile

 

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#CommunityConnect 01

Eileen Abrigo, Santiago – Chile

How would you define yourself as a cyclist?
E: “I would consider myself a commuter, as I go to the store, to the supermarket, everywhere I can on my bike!”

How many bikes do you own?
E:”I only have one bike… ‘Morita’ is her name, she is a fixed gear bike.”

Aprox. how many Km’s do you cover per week?
E: “I don’t know, maybe 30km’s a day… But on the weekends I generally ride more as I like to take trips out of the city to the surrounding hills. I enjoy climbing on my fixedgear, towards the Andes or up to the Cristobal hill.”

Would you consider yourself as having basic mechanical knowledge?
E: “Yeah! I can change tubes, dissamble the whole bike if necessary! I have enough tools and enough know-how.”

What does the bicycle simbolize for you?
E: “My bike simbolizes freedom, not having to depend on a car, a bus, the subway… It’s my time, it’s my freedom”

What do you think the local cycling community needs the most?
E: “The people of Santiago need more bicycle culture, as other vehicles don’t have respect for cyclists. Accidents can happen very easily and the laws are not strict against these kind of incidents, therefore drivers don’t care.”

Do you feel the local council is doing enough for cyclists in your city?
E: “A few years ago there was alot of investments and developments in cycling as a means of trasport, but unfortunately that has slowed down now. Having said that, I think that cycling is still important for the council and they listen to our needs.
I feel that we have enough cycle paths in the city, but we need more space on the streets like dedicated bike lanes, so we can learn to share the streets all together!”

What do you find to be the scariest aspect of cycling in the city?
E: “Pedestrians! The people cross the streets everywhere, and without looking sometimes… This is the most dangerous aspect of cycling in Santiago.”

When visiting Santiago, where would you advise cyclists to ride?
E: “I advise to visit San Cristobal Hill, Pirque, El Toyo and Camino a Farellones these are the famous places to ride in Santiago.

Bikers-United-Eileen-Abrigo

(@eileenzitaclara)