Women Involved: Siobhan Dolan
What inspired you to create Braking the Limits and what inspired you to have it be bicycle based? When I was learning to commute and then learning to ride more for sport, I had so many questions! But no one to ask and certainly not the guys. So I hid away on the internet to find my answers. And then I thought to build a website that could compile this type of information in one place!
I began to use brakingthelimits as an offline group for women and transgendered people to gather and meet, and thus share information and questions growing our knowledge base exponentially. Women/Trans/Femme Bike Brunch LA was born! We meet every month or so to ride together to grab - because, of course, the whole fun of riding hard is to eat yummy food!
You mentioned you are a bike mechanic, how did that come about?
When I first learned to ride, I felt I had this huge piece of metal that I knew absolutely nothing about. Not even shifting! So I researched any and every class in Los Angeles that would teach me maintenance, repair, and safety. I took a workshop at The Bicycle Kitchen/La Bicicocina in East Hollywood and really respected the co-op's mission to create an eduction space, to empower you to do your own repair and love your bike. The teacher told me about Bicycle Bitchen, a female-identified only space on Monday nights, where I could feel comfortable learning about my bike without being made to feel helpless or hopeless. Two year later, I'm still volunteering every Monday night.
What would be the top 3-5 things a person should know what to do with their bike? (ex. check air in tires, pump tires, change flat)
1) A-B-C check; is there enough air in your tires? Are your brakes rubbing against the rim or loose in any way? And is your chain lubed and free of gunk, and are your cranks loose? 2) change a flat, front AND rear! 3) Adjust your saddle 4) use all your gears
Who do you hope to inspire?
Any beginner rider all the way to any beginner racer
How does one get involved with Braking the Limits?
I encourage feedback on the website through comments or twitter to expand the site, include guest posts, and more ideas for Bike Brunch restaurants, please!
What was the turning point for you with Braking the Limits?
Over a year after starting the site, we had a brunch just recently where a fellow rider told me how much she was inspired by my long commute to work every day by bike. I remember her reaction when I told her I have a 20-mile round-trip commute. She was incredulous, to say the least! At brunch, she told me she inspired by my story to start biking her 26 mile round-trip in order to get her exercise and training in. AMAZING! I almost cried. If I could do it, you can do it! I remember saying that to her, but she didn't believe it. Now she believes it! And will inspire someone else to commute too!!!