Women on Bikes Series: Christina Julian (Jules)

As you all know, I have a love of Surly Bikes oh yes I do! That's why I have 3. I love the brand and how the people who work for Surly represent the products they love.

Several months ago I was able to interview a local Surly guy known as Skip Bernet or Sov and wanted to get in touch with some of the other Surly people.

Jules is one of two females who work for Surly, so obviously I wanted to get in touch with her! I wanted to learn got her involved with bicycles in the first place and why she loves them now.

When did you first start riding a bike?
I was fortunate enough to have parents that put me on a banana seat just as soon as I could walk.

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
Pure love. My family is deeply in love with cycling, I am deeply in love with cycling. I have been apart of many sectors over the years including traveling to race mountains about 15 years ago. That was back when I was a shop rat. Most recently it has been so much a part of my life I couldn't be happier.

What kind of riding is your favorite? (paved, gravel, mountain)
I'd say mixed terrain. I am happiest rolling around town but having the wheels to dive down to explore a path as needed. I also love bike packing. I prefer to load up and roll like a semi to destination. I find it exciting and amusing. I do like to mountain bike but have very little opportunity to do so. Mountain biking was where I started to ride as an adult. Road bikes always made me nervous. The thin hard wheels and swooping bars. I needed more meat under me.
To a point I still feel this way but recently have developed a great affection for pacering about on my Surly Pacer. This is not a plug, it is the truth. Well kind of a plug but an unintentional one of sorts.

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 know I felt excited and wanted more! Crashing through the trails was like a video game that I could enjoy. I have never been a gamer but felt that maybe I could understand it a bit after that ride. The attention required to what your whole body was doing, eyes wide open, breathing, sweating, legs pushing and pulling through the dirt, rocks, grass and hills. Thrilling. Just thrilling.

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
I open my eyes wide and concentrate on what I am doing, hard. Opening my eyes wide makes me feel like I am seeing more and won't be surprised. I work at keeping calm and concentrating on what I need to do next. I allow myself to bail if needed but I try my hardest not to.

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 use to use clipless pedals when I was racing and when I would mountain bike. I stopped a few years back when I realized I preferred to ride my bike when I wanted, without the requirement of special shoes. I take a much more casual approach to riding. I will say that the ability to pull the pedal up as well as push it does make a difference when needed. I may pick up a pair again someday but right now I am platform pedals all the way.

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
I have had several bike biffs. I even blogged my bloody face last year. I have wrecked on dirt and pavement. Both hurt. I can't say I have ever been traumatized by a fall. I wear a helmet when I ride (most of the time) and when I do fall I look at the bright side. It makes me glad to be alive and able to walk away from things like that. I feel like I conquered something. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? If you really think about that old saying, you should see just how truthful and helpful it is. Are you alive? Great. Now get up and go do something other than wallow about what didn't kill you. 

What do you love about riding your bike?
I love being able to sense my surroundings. The smells, feeling the air whether it is moist, dry, cold or hot, hearing everything around me moving, seeing small things I would have missed in an automobile. I find it fascinating. The experience. I don't really ride to be healthy. I usually end up drinking beer during a ride to be honest. I ride to feel. Pretty simple really.