Women on Bikes Series: Kate Powlison

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kate, the marketing and communications manager of PeopleForBikes! You can check them out on Facebook as well: PeopleForBikes
I really enjoyed reading Kate's responses, especially about how she felt on her first mountain bike ride. I also do not seem to be a "natural" at mountain biking as well. The fact that she kept at it and become more advanced gives me hope that I can get better too!

A bicycle is more than just something fun to ride, it can provide you opportunity to experience the world in a whole new way. It brings forth perspective you wouldn't have thought of, and it's also a healthy option for transportation and the environment. I, too, also found my bike was therapy for my emotional and mental well-being. It just goes to show you that a bicycle is more than just a bicycle-it can be a way of living!

When did you first start riding a bike?
I started riding a bike as a kid, just like many people, and stopped riding as I got into middle school. My senior year of high school, I got a road bike for my birthday, and that’s when my current love affair began.

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
Whenever I’m on a bike, simply put, life is better. That’s what motivates me to ride.

What kind of riding is your favorite? (paved, gravel, mountain)
Any ride that involves good company, a little bit of suffering, and a little bit of bliss-inducing speed puts a smile on my face.

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.)
Scared as heck. I was not a very natural mountain biker.

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
Even now as a more advanced rider, I still will get nervous riding, though I think that’s what provides the thrill that makes bicycling such an enriching activity.

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?
Yep. I definitely toppled over a few times learning how to ride them. I practiced on a grass field to cushion the inevitable falls. My ego hurt more than my body. 

If you are a commuter what are some of the challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
When it’s nice out, I try to bike to my office, which is only three miles from my house. I think one of my big challenges with bike commuting is motivating myself to ride when the weather’s kind of bad, I’m tired, or I’m anxious to get to work as fast as possible. I almost always feel better when I bike to work compared to when I drive. I have to remind myself of that fact when I’m tempted to climb into my car. 

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?
I do, but not as much. Having a cyclocross or even a mountain bike for the days when the roads are bad makes me feel safe in the bad conditions. I also wear my big furry snow boots and take the side roads when I can. However, we’re moving offices to a location with less parking, so I know next winter I will have to be a hardier commuter. 

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
Many! I think one of the most memorable crashes was when I was riding at the local mountain bike park with my friend and her husband. I was showing my friend how to ride a sand pit, and of course I endoed in spectacular fashion. It served me right for thinking I was such hot stuff!

What do you love about riding your bike?
There are so many reasons why I love riding my bike. I love racing my road bike, swinging myself through corners and sacrificing everything to help a teammate win. I love traveling by bike, using two wheels to take in a new place. I love spending time with my husband on bike rides, because the conversations are almost always better than on a fancy restaurant date. I love commuting by bike, running into a neighbor or friend on the way to work and getting that warm feeling of community. I love how going for a hard five-hour ride pushes my physical and mental limits father than I would if I just went to the gym like an ordinary person. I love how riding a bike makes my food taste better, my body stronger, and my life richer. It’s a never-ending source of therapy and discovery.