On a Roll with Sue Hinz, Pullman

The “On a Roll with” series started with women in Spokane since the blog focused on biking in Spokane. Now that I have a statewide role at the Bicycle Alliance of Washington I’m expanding the geography to feature women from all over the state. If you have a woman to nominate (and please nominate yourself!) drop an email to bikestylespokane-at-gmail.com.

Name: Sue Hinz

Location: Pullman

Sue Hinz at the entrance to the River Walk at Tukwila, Washington.

How do you describe yourself?

I am beginning my 10th fall as a lecturer at the University of Idaho’s School of Journalism and Mass Media, following 30 years with the News Bureau and University Relations offices at Washington State University.

I am a past Pullman City Council member, Pullman Chamber of Commerce board president, Pullman Education Foundation board president, United Way of Pullman board president, Festival Dance and Performing Arts board president to name a few. I am content to see others continue the valuable leadership roles of these organizations while I help out and begin to think about activities for me.

I enjoy masters track and field, competing in the hammer throw, shot put, discus, weight throw, super weight throw and javelin. About every five years I have added or tried another activity learned during childhood. Softball was fun, but when a ball took a bad bounce and sent me to the emergency room for stiches above the left eye, I decided I needed to find a team of gals more my age or another sport.

The family wasn’t too excited about me trying in-line skating, roller derby or ice hockey, so biking became the next personal activity. It was one I had little to no personal contact with for decades.

When one teaches/helps a child learn to ride, one runs alongside as long as physically possible and later just yells support and helps dust off the road rash from the 5-year-old’s knee after a fall. My neat, three-speed, light blue Schwinn bike was in my parent’s storage shed but was hidden when I was pregnant with my first son. I never heard what happened to it…

So, 35 years later I had to buy a new one – and I was picky…no pink or purple ones…I had to be able to get off the bike quickly…I wanted to sit up so the handlebars had to be up. Easily done by the bike shop owner and out my bike and I went…to the back of the family van since there was snow on the ground.

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

On my way between Moscow (Idaho) and Pullman, I would see people biking on the Chipman Trail that runs the full length between the two communities. They were getting all kinds of exercise and enjoying the out-of-doors. Maybe biking would strengthen my legs for my track events?

Tell me about your bike(s) and accessories.

My iTouch is my favorite thing about biking (alone). My very favorite music is right there and I can listen to it without disturbing anyone. The miles fly by listening to the Beach Boys.

My best biking buddy bought me a mirror so I can see people coming from behind… Remember, I ride looking at things, so many people pass me on my treks. I have a bell, but I would rather say something to those ahead than ring it. I have lights for night riding and a small pump for air in a hurry.

Of course, I wear a helmet. I really have appreciated biking gloves; I don’t grip the handlebars so tightly now.  I wear sunglasses a lot; keeps flying things out of my eyes. I also have a bag that slides onto a bar above the rear tire. Nice, but I have to be sure it is securely on. Otherwise, someone will find it along the trail. (Just happened and it was scary until the kind soul brought it to my house.) My bike lock travels with me all the time. I have at home a device I can use as a cross bar so my bike fits on a multiple bike rack with guys’ bikes. We have carriers for both vehicles so we can bring the bikes in either of our cars.

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

I will emphasize often that I ride to work when the weather is great. But I ride for fun. My husband and I try for trips around Lake Coeur d ‘Alene using that wonderful trail and along the Snake River between Clarkston and Asotin – again, a nice ride. We want to spend time on the Centennial Trail and another one that runs from Cheney toward Spokane (the Fish Lake Trail). I like trails developed from railroad lines…pretty flat! We have ridden the trail along Green River in the Seattle area. Nice!

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

Nothing really. We share interesting sites ahead of each other’s journey.

What do you usually wear when you ride?

I let the weather choose for me. The spring and early summer were chilly. I had long pants with shirt and sweatshirt. I don’t plan rides in the rain. This summer I am riding to build up endurance in the heat, but I don’t ride fast. Summer wear includes shorter pants and t-shirts. Fortunately there is always a breeze along the Chipman Trail to my office, so I can stay somewhat comfortable. Tennis shoes always. Helmet and gloves always. Sunglasses a lot.

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 really don’t need to look like a biking enthusiast.  I want my pants somewhat tight so the legs don’t get caught in the chain. (I use special grips for that.)

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

Safe riding areas are important for every rider. Wide, clear areas; lighting and pull-out with some seating and interesting signage will add a lot to a biking adventure.

What’s your proudest biking accomplishment?

Riding from Moscow to Troy, Idaho, and back – about 24 miles – with just a short break in Troy.

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 would you tell a woman who is thinking of beginning to bike after decades of no cycling?

I really want women to know that riding is for everyone. Learn the few rules of the trail and you can enjoy this activity (and exercise) at your own speed. Work into the distance and be pleased with every extra mile you ride.

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