As a woman who experiences her world from a bike a lot of the time and would love to encourage other women to do the same, I think it’s very important to support other women in cycling who are contributing to the community.
One way do to this is shopping from and at women-owned businesses. The fact that these brands and shops have completely upped my cycling game and made me more excited to ride my bike makes doing so that much easier!
This is a guest post from Kate (@bike_to_brew), one of our brand ambassadors in Chicago. Read more about Kate here.
Here are my favorite 5:
Maria Boustead: Po Campo
When I met Maria, it was instantly obvious that she is absolutely excited about bicycles and good design. She asked my opinion on my favorite bag, what worked and what didn't. She also asked what pattern swatches I thought would be good. That is what Po Campo is all about; form AND function and acknowledging that there is a definite market for cyclists who want efficient products that also look stylish. Not to mention that for every 50 bags a bike is donated through World Bike Relief to help a girl in Africa get to school.
Gloria Hwang: Thousand Helmets
Gloria Hwang had the same problem I did. She hated wearing a helmet. Like me, she also saw firsthand what can happen in an accident without one. This is the concept behind Thousand Helmets, making sure safety looks good and feels good. The helmets are fun, stylish, comfortable and sustainable. Thousand is looking to make their carbon footprint as small as possible, from materials to packaging, to shipping. Part of their mission is also to make cycling inclusive and approachable for all.
Photo: BFF Bikes Website
Annie Byrne: BFF Bikes Chicago
BFF Bikes changed the way I thought about bike shops, and it was intended to. Annie has created a welcoming space that helps women of all ages and skill levels feel heard and encouraged. Watching her help a customer find the right bike for them sets the example for how bike shops should approach customers of any gender, but it is a treatment that women regularly do not experience in bike shops. She has built an incredible and inclusive racing team around the shop, and regularly host events for cyclists of all levels; giving workshops on shifting, changing a flat, commuting, and traveling with your bike. They host group rides for beginners and training rides with the team for those looking for a challenge. Annie has truly created a special space and is always reaching out to her community.
Karen Canady: Bikie Girl Bloomers
“Smart clothing for women on a roll, and . . . for whatever blows your skirt up!” Karen’s goal with her Bikie Girl Bloomers is to get more women on their bikes, whether they want to wear cycling-specific clothing or not. And she has definitely made my commute a lot more fun. She started the business after being frustrated with most bike-specific clothing that didn’t really make the transition from bike to the office. The bloomers are lycra bike shorts intended to be worn under a dress or skirt and come in a ton of fun patterns and colors, so if the wind does catch your dress, what shows underneath has got some style.
Photo: Four Star Website, Stephanie Bassos
Elsbeth Cool: Four Star Family Cyclery Chicago
Elsbeth is the Founder of Four Star Family Cyclery and an important voice in Chicago bike advocacy. Four Star specializes in cargo type bikes, particularly geared towards urban families who want to use their bikes as their primary transportation. And she leads by example. Her Instagram is definitely worth a follow as she shares the joys, fears, and struggles of carrying children on a cargo bike in the city. Through events at the shop or work as an activist - she is the co-founder of Chicago Family Biking Community, a forum for parents cycling with children- Elsbeth is dedicated to changing the urban landscape on the local level to make cycling as safe as possible for everyone, and providing some amazing bikes to help navigate it!
Author Katharine is a Po Campo Ambassador living and biking in Chicago. Read more about her here!