Women on Bikes Series: Jude Gerace

Meet Jude who owns Sugar Wheel Works!

For my blog project I decided to be a bit brave and contact random individuals to see if they wanted to share their stories. I actually did a search online for small bike businesses and/or biking women. Somewhere during my search, I found Jude's website: Sugar Wheel Works

 It's been an absolute pleasure to talk with Jude and I really appreciate her willingness to talk to me about blog-related topics I've come up with along with just general conversation. It makes my heart feel a little fuller and I realize that I will probably make many more connections as this project continues. This means I'll want to take trips someday to visit these wonderful individuals and check out what they are doing in person! (Doesn't that sound fun?!)

Check out Jude's Facebook page too! Sugar Wheel Works on Facebook

When did you first start riding a bike?  I started on a Schwinn Fairlady that had training wheels on it.  My dad looked at the "Tradin' Time"--the used magazine (the precursor to Craigslist) and he found a bike.  When we went to pick it up the girl whose bike it had been had just fallen off of her new 10-speed and wanted her Fairlady back.  I remember being so scared that I wouldn't get it and that everyone would feel sorry for her because she was crying.  In the end we brought the bike home--and I hope that little girl kept working on riding her awesome 10-speed.
What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?  Freedom.  Nothing is more freeing than riding my bike.  When traveling in foreign countries on a bike it was easier to leave the tourist track and become part of the undulating landscape and interact with people in a way that I wouldn't have otherwise.

What kind of riding is your favorite? (paved, gravel, mountain)  I'm not sure I have a favorite.  I like touring most of all.  Light weight touring and free camping.  I like the option to go fast but I also like the option to stop and rest if I've found someplace interesting.  But most of all I like the idea of pitching my tent wherever and just being.

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride? (If not a mountain biker, how about first commuter ride, paved trail ride, gravel, etc.)  I was so scared on my first mountain bike ride--it was such an "epic" course that started with 10 miles of gravel climbing up hill.  It never ended.  But scarier than the uphill was descending in dusk on a somewhat technical trail.  I was both terrified and empowered.

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?  As the saying goes "Get back on the horse".  While an injury to my left arm has made it more difficult to mountain bike, when the opportunity presents itself, I like being there!

Do you use clipless pedals? If yes, what are some tips/suggestions for beginners that you would share? If no, are you thinking of trying it out at all?  I do use clip less pedals--but on my first ride I wish I wouldn't have.  I think that, for me, the key to enjoying mountain biking was choosing courses that were skill appropriate, having a good fitting bike, and yes using clip less pedals…while it's a little harder it pays off in the end.

If you are a commuter what are some of the challenges you face and how do you overcome them?  I have been a commuter long before any other discipline in cycling.  For me there was no challenge I couldn't overcome with the will to ride.  I dressed in some of the dorkiest outfits just to stay warm--that was definitely the challenge.  I'm glad I've been introduced to the right "Gear" but there was a naivety that was endearing about those early years of commuting.

If you live where there is a snowy or icy winter, do you still commute? Why or why not? If yes, what do you do to make it more tolerable?  Funny that you should ask…here in PDX they don't plow a lot of roads because we don't have the equipment to do so.  So, in this last winter blast I skied and mountain biked through the snow…I felt like I was floating using a 2.3 mm tire.  I think the snow brought out a sense of joy and there was this mission to get around not using cars.  I loved it!!!!

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?  I've never had a significant bike biff.  I've had a lot of close calls but I feel so connected to my bike that I wouldn't think of not riding it again after an accident.  When I was in a car wreck I was so scared to ride in a car again--but biking is different.  It's akin to walking.

What do you love about riding your bike?  Everything.  I just love my bikes.  I worry about them getting stolen more than any other possession.  I just love them and I don't always know why.