On a Roll with Angela Brown

Angela Brown of Spokane rode Seattle to Portland in 2009

Angela Brown at the 2009 STP (Seattle to Portland) ride.

Name: Angela Brown

Location: Spokane

Things Angela does:  Roots and Wings International Board member, WSU Alumni Board and African American Chapter President, Fundraising Volunteer for Act Six Spokane, Partner of Higher Level Consulting, Co-founder Sistahpedia.com, Director of Employment Services for Spokane Public Schools

Who or what made a difference in your life that got you on a bike?

I had a child late in life, which was a catalyst to stay healthy.  I’ve always been athletic, but my weight has always gone up and down.  Along with that, I have a family history of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. With a bum knee (from athletics!), my orthopedic surgeon encouraged me to try swimming or cycling.

And with my personality, I couldn’t just “try it”–I plunged in and decided to sign up for the STP (Seattle to Portland ride).  With such a large goal in mind, and the fact that I’m too cheap to pay for registration and not use it, I started training with a good friend of mine.  That was in 2007 and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Tell me about your bike(s) and accessories. 

I love my bike!  It’s a Specialized Dolce.  Everything on it and my accessories are black and pink…including my Camelbak!  My uncle ordered my shoes for me from Specialized and they were actually made to match the bike.  He hadn’t seen my bike at the time, so it was a crazy fluke.

I actually purchased my newest bike accessory from Bike Style Spokane, which is the little square wallet by Po Campo I can carry my ID in when I cycle.  I’ve been using a Coach wallet and it’s too bulky and not waterproof.

What type(s) of riding do you do? How often, what destinations, and how far? 

I try to ride every week and the distance just depends on how much time I have.  If it’s during lunch, it’s a quick 10-mile ride on the Centennial Trail.  I’ve been training for a sprint triathlon, so I’ve been riding between 10-16 miles on the Fish Lake Trail and then doing a 2-3 mile run.  (Ugh.)  If I’m training for the STP or MS Idaho Ride, I’ll do 25-70 miles depending on how close it is to ride day.  I try to ride to work sometimes, but it’s difficult to manage for me.  That’s 5 miles roundtrip.

What’s the most common question you get asked when you bike somewhere? 

“How can you ride with your feet clipped in?  Don’t you fall?”  I’ve fallen twice.  The first time was the very first day that I tried them out and I clipped in with my weak leg and immediately crashed to the ground.  It was 5 am and no one was around…and yes I did check. The second time was during the Loreen Miller Classic and the directional sign had fallen down in the rain.  As I slowed to figure out which way to go, I didn’t pay attention and rode into gravel and kaboom!  Quite funny actually.

What do you usually wear when you ride? 

Bike shorts, jersey, sunglasses, helmet and gloves are my mainstays.

What things do you wish were different about your bike and gear or women’s clothing or both that would make it easier to bike and look good, if this is something you give any thought to?

I think your new company is helping with that!  I need to get one of the dresses!  A prettier helmet would be nice though.  No one looks cute in a helmet!

What does Spokane need to make it an even better place for women to ride their bikes?

Drivers who want to share the road.  Better bike lanes throughout the entire city.  I don’t feel very safe riding on our roads.  I’ve almost been hit twice.  At one point, I had even dismounted to walk my bike across a crosswalk and a driver still came through and almost hit me.  It was a matter of seconds and me paying attention.

What’s your proudest biking accomplishment? 

Finishing my first STP! 202.2 miles in 2 days!

What one word describes the way you feel most often when you ride?  Free.

What question didn’t I ask that you really want to answer? 

“What goal do you have for the cycling community?”  To get more people of color out on bikes.  I get excited when I see other cyclists of color because there aren’t many of us here in Spokane.  I ran into a group of about 6 African American cyclists at the STP in 2009 and asked them to stand in their group for a minute so I could see what it feels like!

Related Reading

Your Turn

On a Roll with… features interviews with women who engage in all kinds of riding on all kinds of bikes for all kinds of reasons. Check out the list of women we hope to interview and add your suggestions, or email info at bikestylespokane.com with names (including your own, if you’d like to answer these questions!).

Update Jan. 26, 2013: This started as a series profiling women who bicycle in Spokane. It’s now statewide so if you know someone anywhere in Washington, let us know!

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