Women on Bikes Series: Anka Raskin

Meet Anka! She is the woman behind the online shop, Dirty Jane. Dirty Jane focuses to provide functional and fashionable gear for women. They offer several different brands and have everything you could look for: jerseys, shorts, helmets, pads, and much more!
The future for Dirty Jane is to support all women who ride: the shredders, commuters, road riders, and everyone in-between.

I haven't known Anka long as I've only recently become a Dirty Jane Ambassador, but what I can say is that she is a passionate woman who really cares about women in the cycling world. She's been encouraging, kind, and ready to give advice or be an ear. She wants the women who represent Dirty Jane to be successful with their endeavors as well as ensuring Dirty Jane thrives so more women can feel confident on a bike.

Connect with Dirty Jane on Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, and Instagram!

When did you first start riding a bike?
Aside from my four-wheeling My Little Pony bicycle, my first "real" biking love affair began in 2003 when I moved from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and saw a gang of girls blasting out of the trees past me on the North Shore Mountains. I remember thinking "what the hell was that? I want to do THAT!"  

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
Most people in my life mountain bike regularly, so when it comes time to make plans - be that camping, road trip or weekend excursions ... a bike is usually in the mix. Every trip I have ever gone on in North America with my girlfriends has always involved bringing our bikes. In fact, we rarely travel to places where there are no trails. Fitness and meditation also come into play here. If I am feeling like a slug, a bike ride will usually get me out of that funk and feeling a lot better in my body.  

Have you competed in events? If so, what were your reasons for competing?
Just a handful and totally for fun. I love participating in clinics though to brush up on my skills and improve my riding. I would rather head to the bike park with my husband and friends and run laps all day that end with a frosty beverage on a patio somewhere. Competing looks amazing and when I've done it I am left feeling like a million bucks. Every picture of me at an event shows me with a shit-eating grin mid-run. Perhaps I should do it more ;)   

What would be your favorite competitive biking event?
The ones where the guys are half naked volunteering and the women are dressed up in costume. I am a great spectator at the serious and gnarly events, but for myself I prefer to laugh and cheer each other on. I completed at Dixie Trix Jump Jam last August 2013 and we all had a blast encouraging each other, but also competing against each other. I got podium as there were only 4 of us. Yahoo!  

What kind of riding is your favorite? (paved, gravel, mountain, etc.)
Mountain all the way - preferably fast and flowy with some techy DH sections that help my lady balls grow.  

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.)
Excited and also nervous that I was going to disappoint the dude I was with. Crazy! I rented a mountain bike that was too large and a helmet that was too loose. I saw him hop over a tree stump so I thought I could too. I raced towards it as fast as I could and jammed my front tire into where the ground met the stump. My first real mountain bike ride ended up in me learning how to fly. Clearly it was not enough to stop me though and I tried biking again, and again, and again. I had no idea that by saying yes to mountain biking, I was also saying yes to brutally bruised legs. Totally worth it. 

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
The fun FAR outweighs the fear. I truly wish I had more to say about this one, but when it comes right down to it, I just have a blast exploring the outdoors on my bike with friends. The alternative is not participating and being left out. It is not an option. 

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?
Nope. I need to put my foot down. I tried it once and fell in a parking lot filled with Fox Head dudes standing by their factory truck. That was awesome. Can we just talk for a moment about the word clipLESS? That was a weird one to learn as a newbie for sure.  

If you are a commuter what are some of the challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
I commute to my gym every morning. It is about 3 miles. I LOVE riding on the city streets at 6am when they are quiet and the road is basically mine. It also makes me a stronger mountain biker as I just get to spin my legs more often now that I bike to and from the gym. I wish I could bike to other locations, but Phoenix is a huge city and it is a timing issue. I feel like I can't spend hours on my bike getting to one place. So instead I drive the blue machine baby!  

Do you commute even if the weather isn’t ideal? Why or why not? If yes, what do you do to make it more tolerable?
Oh yah! In British Columbia it rains. A LOT. If you don't ride in the rain, you don't ride. Now that I am in Arizona part time I see 110 temps. For longer mountain bike rides I head out at 6am or 6pm and bring as much water as I can carry.   

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
I suck at this. I will always get back on my bike immediately after a bike biff, but it may take me months before I even try the part of the trail that biffed me. I have a really good buddy who knows my riding style and pushes me. If we stop at the part in the trail and I watch her and then follow her through it, I am golden after that.  

What do you love about riding your bike?
I would never go to the places I have been that my bike has taken me too. I love being in the middle of the forest with people I consider to be my family. Speaking of family, biking is how I met my husband and getting on our bikes to explore is just what we do.  

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
If I showed you a picture of my garage I may have to kill you. I've got everything in there that a biker would need. The only bike missing is a road bike. That is up next for me. Have you seen a roadie's legs and butt? I need that.  

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
Eekk - there are SO MANY now! I love how the industry has grown and the options are really out there now. I really can't choose as it would be like saying who my best friend is in front of all my GFs! #1: get yourself a really good chamois. This is one of the only cases where more moola $$$ will equal better quality and help protect your hooha. 


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