We're the capitol of the sexiest, chicest, state in our country. Well, ask any Californian, and they would said so. In this city: politics, state government, public relations and non-profit are everyday discussions. And women are in the thick of it!
"Girls On The Grid," a creative space for those ladies to discuss from careers to motherhood and everything in between, was created by and for these women. There are over 30 ladies who contribute to this up and coming local blog, which celebrates it's first year anniversary this week.
These girls are hot, hip and in the know. And they ride bicycles! I met with Laura Braden, editor in chief, and Mary Beth Barber and Ashley Robinson, who are both frequent contributor to the site.
|From left to right: Laura, Mary Beth and Ashley|
SacCycleChic: Tell me about your bikes? favorites? why?
Mary Beth: My most often used bike is a Dahon 7-speed folding bike I got in 2001 when I lived in New York City after I discovered most high-rise management companies wouldn't allow office employees to bring their bikes inside, even on the service elevators. And the parking garages charged the same amount to park a bike as they did a car. Yet building security would allow me to take a large, heavy black bag on the regular elevator without inspection, even after 9/11. Go figure. The logic of NYC building management companies.
|Mary Beth and her adored folding bike|
SacCycleChic: Do you remember your first bike?
Laura: I own an Electra Gypsy beach cruiser. My first ride on it around Midtown was the first time I felt like a true Californian. It's the first bike I've owned in over 10 years, and I'm obsessed with it- right down to the basket and the bell. I don't own a car so I use it to get to work, the groceries store, drinks with friends, everywhere!
Ashley: Oh, I loved my first bike. It was a purple and pink Huffy that I got from Santa. I remember walking into my living room that Christmas morning and was so excited to see that bike with this bright pink and white training wheels, it's late 80's graphics. I remember thinking that Huffy must have been the name of Santa's elf that made bikes and wow, he sure made a lot of bikes!
Mary Beth: I don't remember my very first bike - just the thrill of realizing I could ride a two-wheeler on my own - but in 5th grade I got my first 10-speed after seeing "Breaking Away." I rode for hours through the Greenhaven/Pocket-area parks singing "Figaro" from "Barber of Seville". Other memorable bikes: mid-priced mountain bike I rode through college at the University of Michigan at all hours of the day, through snow, rain, etc. Riding down 57th Street in NYC at rush hour, which is probably similar to the thrill my boyfriend gets kayaking down a class 4 river. And my first and only true long-distance lightweight road bike that I got on sale and still own, and taking it through suburban, wooded New Jersey when the congestion of the city became too-much.
|Laura and her Electra Gypsy|
SacCycleChic: What is cycling to you?
Ashley: Cycling to me is a relaxing way of getting around town. Feel the wind in your hair, the smells of midtown and the adventure of moving around town without the pressure of having to find parking!
Mary Beth: I'm so jealous of the Dutch and people in similar communities that have bicycles as part of their daily lives. There's something incredible peaceful and meaningful about being able to get around without the assistance of motor vehicles. As a kid, biking mean freedom - I could get to my grandmother's house, my friends' school or even downtown if desired without relying on my parents. That sense of freedom is still in my psyche. I'd bike more often now if I lived either closer to light rail or the downtown area. Unfortunately my house in Carmichael isn't situated well for biking as regular daily transportation, although I was able to make it work with light rail for 3 weeks last summer when my car was in the shop.
Laura: Riding a bike is sort of like driving a convertible. You just feel more...alive and engaged. You can smell, hear and sense more of the world around you. I find myself smiling and nodding at passersby's more often, and I notice shops, architecture and details that I would miss if I were driving.
|Ashley and her ride|
SacCycleChic: What do you think of Sacramento's bicycle culture?
Mary Beth: Downtown/midtown Sacramento is perfect for biking, and I'm both glad that so many people do, and surprised there aren't more, especially with Davis so close. But I'm also extremely frustrated with how the light-rail stations are set up. For many of the stations in the outlining areas, there's no easy way for folks to bike there without taking their lives in their hands. For example, bikers in Carmichael who want to take the Watt/I-80 light rail to downtown must cross the Capitol City/Bus 80 freeway on Watt in a section coated with broken glass, busted sidewalks, no bike lane, and speeding drivers cruising around blind curves. Suddenly what started as a nice cruise through suburbia turns into a hellish, hair-raising experience. It's one of the things I wish Sacramento's local government entities would fix.
Laura: I love seeing friends, couples and families riding around Sacramento, and I love seeing bikes chained to every free post and pole. I think it adds to the overall character and vibe of Sacramento of being laidback, friendly and open. Friends and family have all commented on it during visits - many of them wish they had what we have! In fact, I had to buy a second beach cruiser for visitors to use - they can't get over the fact of how easy and enjoyable it is to bike around town.
Ashley: I love it. I went to Davis, so I really fell in love with the bike culture as an actual mean of getting from point A to B, not just a recreational past time I enjoyed as a little kid. But here in Sacramento, it's so much more dynamic and fashionable, trendy but with actual sincerity and interest. A true passion for a lot of people. And it's inspiring to be around it.
Happy Anniversary, Girls on the Grid!
Happy Anniversary, Girls on the Grid!