Lavinia Tanzim and Clare McFarlane believe that confidence is as important on the road as bicycle lights. This idea is fuelling their idea to build a badass community of female-identifying city cyclists in Toronto with their Bad Girls Bike Club.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Lavinia Tanzim and I’m Claire McFarlane. We’re the co-founders of Bad Girls Bike Club in Toronto. It’s pretty simple, we’re two young women who like to bicycle.
How is the cycling lifestyle essential to you?
Our bicycles are how we get to where we need to be. It’s one of the most reliable, cost-effective and energizing ways to get around the city. If we didn’t have our bikes, we’d be far more broke and a lot less happy.
What’s the most interesting city cycling idea you’ve seen recently?
Glow-in-the-dark bicycle frames! The Glow Series from Pure Cycles. There’s no more need for lights at night.
What’s your craziest cycling experience?
Claire: One time I was on a (sort of) first date with guy who also rode a bike. We were riding around Ashbridges Bay along the Toronto waterfront when he tried to hop a curb and failed. It looked like half his face was left on the pavement. I had to call him an ambulance and stayed with him in emerg ‘til about 4 a.m. Definitely the craziest night of the summer.
Lavinia: Last summer, my friends and I decided it would be fun to try and bike 200km in one day. We biked all the way down the waterfront trail to Niagara-on-the-Lake, dipped our toes in the water, and then tried to bike back to Hamilton in time to catch the bus. We just barely made it, but we rode well over our target distance–240k from Toronto for my friends, 220k from Milton for me.
Where is your dream cycling adventure?
Claire: I’d love to do a tour of Cape Breton Island.
Lavinia: My friend is going to ride his bicycle across Canada; so I’d like to join him for a leg of that from Montreal to Quebec City.
What’s your ride? (It’s totally fine to nerd out a bit.)
Lavinia: I have a Giant Avail 3 for long distance rides and touring, but I don’t want to ride it around the city, so I bought this old Pro Tour bike off Kijiji. It get’s me from Point A to B so that’s all that matters.
What’s part of your everyday carry (focus on clothing, accessories, tools)?
Claire: I don’t carry any tools on me because in Toronto you’re almost always within 10 minutes of a bike shop. I usually only carry the essentials: keys, wallet, phone, lock, lights and lip balm, usually all in my YNOT backpack.
Lavinia: All my essentials fit in my trusty pizza fanny pack from the Fanny Factory. Phone, lipstick, keys, cards, bike lights, lighter, and a water bottle and bike lock clipped to the strap.
Pick your poison. Is it craft beer, coffee or something food? (No it can’t be an energy ball.)
Claire: Lattes, Beau’s Lug Tread beer and natas (those delicious Portuguese custard tarts.)
Lavinia: Tea is kind of my thing.
Finish this thought. “Cycling is…”
Cycling is the most fun you’ll have with something between your legs.
Check out all the latest on the Bad Girls Bike Club Instagram. This interview was contributed by Jennifer Robeson, a first-timer female city cyclist who can attest to the daunting nature of the feat–”Bike lanes and shared lanes and left hand turns, oh my! It can and does feel like a lot.”
(Images courtesy of Bad Girls Bike Club.)
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