In honor of International Women’s Day today, we celebrate the women of Salsa, both from our team of athletes and storytellers, and our staff here at HQ.
ALICE CLARK – Accomplished human-powered explorer & mother
The bicycle offers me family fun, adventure, exploration, solitude and wonder. My cycling life is divided into two phases so far: before and after kids.
Before kids, the bike gave me much solitude during long training rides in the countryside. On those rides all of my senses were heightened by being present: birdsong, overhanging trees, or the smell of the grass. It was very meditative and peaceful.
The bike still offers all those benefits with kids. I am able to share in the many senses during family rides and I’m finding that the wonder grows exponentially as the kids grow. The bike allows us to explore together, connects us to the places and people on our adventures, and gives us strength to continue our journey together in life.
AVA FEI CLARK – 10-year-old adventurer who has seen more than most of us ever will & advanced cartwheeler
Biking is important to me because it is good exercise and a good workout for your legs, arms, and mussuls. Its also important because it is a different way to travel around without using gas or fossil fuels. When you travel in a car you don’t hear, see, or smell all the things you would when you are biking, because when you are biking you are surrounded in the nature and it is all around you. Each time you go on small bike rides you improve your skills and you can build your stamina for biking longer distances.
One of my favourite things about my bike is that it is comfortable enough that I can ride long distances being pulled or riding by myself. I love the color of my orange bike and now my blue bike. The handlebars are sturdy and they feel nice after you ride long distances. My bike is so comfortable that sometimes after a long day of riding on a trip, I still go and ride around the campground. When I was little and hooked up to my dad, I would have naps during the day on my bike because it was so comfortable.
CRYSTAL KOVACS – Motivational cyclist, photographer & mother
I think everyone has an inner voice that says, “I need to have adventure in my life”. Cycling was how I was able to find that voice and embrace the course it has taken me on. Cycling has taught me humility, grace, endurance and the ability to push myself further than I ever thought was possible. Cycling has also taught me that there is a pride that comes when you finish what you once thought was impossible. It’s an adrenaline rush unlike no other. I can’t imagine my life without bikes in it.
ESZTER HORANYI – Minimalist maximizer of life, mountain biker & packrafter
Riding a bike has taught me to be happy with the present moment. If you’re out racing the Tour Divide and hating the current moment, only waiting to get to the next town, it’s going to suck. But if you look around and realize that the moment is perfect as is, there’s a whole lot of joy to be found in places and situations that could otherwise be seen as suffering. Over the years, riding has become my art form. Putting together a good ride, whether that means a fast and smooth race or just going out for a spin around the local trails and clearing all the crux points, I try to do things with some level of grace and beauty.
JADE PTACEK – Marketing Project Coordinator
Bicycling means exploration to me. Exploring where I live, exploring my limits and exploring new communities of riders.
Riding my bike has been a great way for me to get to know my city. I sometimes go for a ride just to get a little lost, so I have to figure out my way back. There are always new bike paths and off-road trails to find and it’s a great way for me to figure out a city without the constant need for a GPS.
Through bike rides and races, I’ve been able to challenge myself physically and mentally. I’ve now raced in triathlons, aquabikes, road, gravel, and this year will be mountain bike races. Each type of race has its own unique challenges that I’ve had to plan for and overcome, but these races continue to motivate me every year. I’m looking forward to challenging my bike handling skills with the mountain bike races I’ll be doing this year.
Finally, I’ve found a great community of people that I regularly join on group rides or weekend adventures. The Twin Cities have so many great groups to ride with and there’s always a variety from a short slow ride to go get tacos or a tough century ride with packs of racers drafting each other. These community group rides have become integral to my training and always put me in a good mood.
JENNY BARR – Product Project Manager
JILL MARTINDALE – Enthusiasm personified & dog lover
The bicycle to me means a whole heck of a lot of things - friendship, community, exploration, the best job in the world, independence, self-reliance. I love that it can connect me with so many people and so many places, but I also love that it can disconnect me from those places and people. I love using the bike as an outlet to sort through my thoughts and then riding more and having my mind go completely blank. It gives me something to keep working towards and riding towards.
KATE MANSFIELD – Softgoods Designer
KELLY MACWILLIAMS – Creative Director
The first bike most of us had was a single gear contraption, inexpensive and simple. My friends and I spent countless hours ripping around the neighborhood before we got called in for dinner. Bikes meant freedom and fun. I’m a grown up now (technically), but my love for single speed bikes has not faded. There are no rattling gears, no delicate parts to break, and I still love the feeling of power when standing on the pedals grinding up a big hill.
KIM MCNETT – Arctic explorer & artist
My favorite type of cycling is off road and often off-trail wilderness riding, which is best facilitated by a fat bike. I like to be in remote locations, and the fat bike allows me to cover long distances for days on end. I also like to be outside, meet people along the way, watch wildlife, and take advantage of unique opportunities that arise. I like to cover a lot of ground but racing and finishing routes quickly is not usually a primary goal of mine. In the winter, I ride snow machine/dog sled trails, which can stretch for hundreds of miles across the frozen Alaskan landscape. In the summer, a combination of beach riding, pack rafting, trail riding, and ‘bike-whacking’ allows for innovative and explorative routes.
KRIS BAGGENSTOSS – Production Artist
KRIS MITCHELL – Marketing Project Manager
To me, the bicycle represents a way to exercise, have fun, get where you need to go AND be mindful of the environment. What more could you want from an activity?!
LINDSAY BELTCHENKO – Marketing Manager
For me, the bicycle is a form of exploration. It helps me to explore my physical and mental limits, along with new places, new people and new experiences. I can always count on it to put a smile on my face.
LINDSEY CARPENTER – Mountain biker, enduro racer, and fisherwoman
I love spending time on a bike in beautiful places with my friends. I enjoy challenging myself with technical mountain biking and some racing, but the main reason I ride is to adventure in the mountains surrounding my hometown in the Shenandoah Valley.
I am grateful that riding gives me a way to connect with my family and friends. Cycling promotes healthy lifestyles and creates an outlet to nature, and that is even better when shared with those you love.
LINDSAY PIPER – Apparel Product Manager
For me, bikes are the ultimate fun-havin’ machines, and a great medium for connecting with my friends. I love all kinds of riding, but my #1 favorite is mountain biking. It’s the most fun way to combine my other favorite things in life: the outdoors, traveling, friends, and dopamine. You know that amazing feeling when you’re someplace beautiful and you get in that perfect groove moment and nothing else in life matters because you get to be in this place doing this thing right now? I hope you do. I live for that feeling. I’m really lucky to have a group of smart, fun, fabulous women around me who I can share that with. As a longtime endurance athlete and outdoor industry person, for much of my time, riding happened with a mixed group or mostly with men, and don’t get me wrong, that’s fun too. But riding with my babe squad is rewarding on an incomparable level. I’m always trying to cultivate and grow my group of shred sisters because I value the absolute crap out of it.
MEG FISHER – Gravel racer & Paralympic gold medal winner
The story of how I discovered bikes also includes the story of my service dog, Betsy the Wonder Dog. In 2006, a doctor told me that I would never walk again. Betsy joined me and made everything better. She opened doors (literally and figuratively), picked up things, and pulled my wheelchair. Eventually I regained the ability to walk. At first, I wasn’t able to walk far enough to help Betsy burn off her extra energy. I saw people around mountain biking with their dogs, and I thought she and I needed to give that a try. What began as a way to exercise my dog led me to a new community and restored my identity as an athlete. Bikes have permeated nearly every nook and cranny of my life. They have carried me farther than I could have ever imagined and enabled me to meet so many good people. I am so thankful for bikes but even more grateful for Betsy the Wonder Dog. She passed in 2019 and this 2020 season is dedicated to her memory.
PEPPER COOK – Explorer of distant lands
The bicycle to me is a complicated mix of community, freedom, equality, and silliness. I love that as an adult I can still get that giddy feeling of running away from home after shoving panniers full of bread, cheese and beer...be it for a night, or for two months. Nearly all of my friends are folks I’ve met through cycling, and the past ten years of jobs I’ve worked were in the cycling industry. When I ride bikes overseas, folks think it’s incredible that a solo woman could be found in such a state in the middle of nowhere...and I like to think I can start to challenge that incredulity. Just like I thought when I was 8 years old and riding bikes in a rowdy pack of pals around my neighborhood, bikes are for everyone, and they can take you anywhere!
And to all the women out there that support Salsa, we celebrate you as well! Cheers!
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I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.