KOOCHELLA

FTW Racing in Minneapolis/St Paul

The Women Behind knog

As part of our sponsorship from knog, the whole team recently flew out to Australia to tour the offices and get a behind-the-scenes scoop on how our favorite lights and locks are made!

…just kidding. That would have been sweet, though.

We did, however, sit down (digitally) with the women behind the brand. Their roles vary from graphic designer to logistics and they all pack a big punch when it comes to product innovation, brand marketing, and smoothly-running day-t0-day operations. Read on to learn a bit about these incredible individuals!

Michelle – Product Designer

Tell us more about your role at knog. 

I’m one of the behind the scenes designers that make the awesome sketches, drawings and ideas into a reality. I put together the computer files and the drawings so that the factories know what to make. And then I make sure that they make them the way that we want them to.

Finish this sentence: The one thing people should know about Australia is… 

That we don’t all look at speak like Steve Irwin (but some of us do!). Australia is diversely multicultural and I love being able to call people from many different backgrounds my family, friends and colleagues. (And to be able to eat food from many different cultures right down the street. Yum!)

 

Maddy – Graphic Designer

Tell us a bit about yourself! 

Due to a number of unfortunate incidents occurring over the years, my bike riding days are currently on hold. I love to travel (cannot wait for my next trip to Japan), try new restaurants and spend time with family and friends.

What’s your fav musical group right now? 

Michael Kiwanuka

Leah – International Sales Manager

What are some of the challenges you face working in the bike industry? 

It is still a very male dominant industry, there’s no doubt about that. Of course in the early years, if you’re a female at a tradeshow you were immediately mistaken for a promo girl. Thankfully times have changed since then, and I’m very lucky that I currently work with such great companies and people all around the world, who treat you like an equal no matter your gender. I would really love to see more females working in the bike industry, and now is a better time than ever to see that happen.

What’s your favorite knog product? 

The Oi bell. The design, its so revolutionary, yet so simple. The best thing is watching people’s reactions when they first see it, its like love at first sight! The Oi bell has been such a global success, and we are about to clock over 1 million units produced since its launch 18 months ago!

 

Meesha – Logistics

Tell us about yourself! 

I have a bright yellow retro bike and I love  going to music concerts, hiking and brunch.

Finish this sentence: The one thing people should know about Australia is… 

The coffee is the best in the world.

 

Virginia – Finance/HR Manager

What do you like most about working in the bike industry? 

The relaxed but busy vibe.

Finish this sentence: The one thing people should know about Australia is… 

AUSTRALIA IS INFAMOUS FOR its dangerous animals. With more deadly snakes than any other country worldwide, it isn’t surprising. Though sharks, spiders, and snakes get the majority of bad press, it is actually an awesome array of predators and venomous critters that have earned Australia its fearsome reputation

Not enough knog in your life? Check out the brand’s latest project, the Bandicoot headlamp, and pledge money to the kickstarter to get one for yourself!

I first met Jenny during QBP’s annual intern bikepacking trip (Jenny was an engineering intern). Her can-do attitude and general stoke factor was immediately evident as she stuffed (at least) two cases of beer into the back of her cargo bike for the 40-ish mile round trip journey. Yeah, no big deal. Also, it was like 95 degrees out that day.

Anyways, All-City wisely hired her shortly after the internship ended, and she’s been making magic for them ever since.

When did your interest in bikes begin?

I was running a lot in high school, and decided that I wanted to do a triathlon. I didn’t have a bike so I bought this World Sport from a garage sale and made it my summer project to tear it apart and clean it and then put it together. It went really terribly because I had no idea what I was doing and no guidance, but it was really fun and I wanted to learn how to do it properly. I got a job at a shop through MSU’s triathlon club and started riding and working with bikes more seriously.

 

What’s your current bike style? 

Commuting is what I do most, just because I have to go places, like work, every day. I race cyclocross and I have dabbled in gravel, but I think riding mountain bikes with my friends is my favorite bike style. That includes bike packing trips, which I’m hoping to do more of this year.

Why engineering?

Up until halfway through my sophomore year of college, my major was philosophy. I was also working at a shop, and having a lot of fun learning how to fix bikes. There was a ton I wanted to learn though, and the shop mostly serviced bikes for college kids, so the technology was pretty unimpressive. One of my friends at the shop was doing mechanical engineering, and had done internships with Trek. When I heard about the things he was doing there I wanted that internship, so I started engineering as a second major. I have always liked making and fixing things way more than reading and writing, so it felt more natural, and I went that route.

 

How’d you get your start in the bike industry?

I got connected through that bike shop, MSU Bikes. I worked in the front room, which was the shop area, and all the repairs were done in the back. It was really small, and most of our customers were students on tight budgets, so I always tried to fix their stuff without having to check it in and have them pay for the repairs. Our head mechanic was also really cool and would teach me how to service high end stuff, which I was a lot more interested in. Learning how to wrench got me a long way, and I think it was a foot in the door when I went to apply for the Trek internship.

What advice would you give to other femme/trans/women (FTW) folks who want to work in the bike industry, but don’t know where to start?

I would say learn as much as you possibly can, and just start tearing into things. The bike industry is definitely intimidating when you’re new, because there is so much to take in, and it seems like everyone else is already in the know. But in my experience people respect when you want to fix your own stuff, and if you want to learn how to do something there will definitely be someone who will teach you. And don’t doubt your abilities just because others have been conditioned to seem more confident. That took me a long time to learn.

 

Can you tell us about any exciting projects you’re working on right now or are they all top secret?

I think they are mostly top secret, but I can say that I am working on things that are pretty.

If you could engineer anything in the world, what would it be?

I could get down with designing motorcycles. My second choice would be artisanal kitchen equipment.

 

What’s it like working at All-City?

It’s great, everyone is so passionate. Sometimes I’ll see a heated argument break out during a meeting over something that seemed so minor. And it’s obvious that it only got heated because of how much everyone cares, because after the meeting we go back to talking about Law and Order Valentine’s cards. The team works together really well, and it’s cool to see how much thought and care is behind every single detail.

Where’s your favorite place to ride?

My favorite ride is my commute to work because I love my job!!! Just kidding. The coolest riding I have ever done was on the Colorado Trail. Around here I like riding the bandit trails along the river. There are always new things to see and explore.

 

Favorite quote/saying:

Live laugh love

Follow Jenny on Instagram <3 <3 

Disclaimer: The author of this article is 100% guilty of doing the thing she’s writing about, which is what inspired this post. – Renee Hoffmann 

 

When people say “[insert cycling discipline here] is dead” they mean one of three things:

  • It’s not popular anymore.
  • It’s not exclusive (to me and my group of friends) anymore, therefore it’s no longer cool.
  • I don’t like doing it anymore.

In the land of bike talk, this phrase seems pretty innocuous. Here’s the thing, though — it’s not. When you start dissecting what this phrase means, what it assumes, who says it, and the effect it can have, it becomes evident that it’s actually pretty problematic and ultimately harmful.

Check Your Privilege

When you think about it, trying out a cycling discipline and then moving on to something else actually takes a lot of resources. And I don’t just mean money (which is also a big factor). It takes access to certain gear/equipment, industry or social connections, and living in an environment or society that supports you and normalizes what you’re doing.

For example, cycling “trendsetters” who wax poetic about a certain discipline getting “too popular therefore it’s dead” tend to be privy to inside industry information or know influential industry professionals that many people don’t have access to. Spoiler alert: It’s a (cis/white) boy’s club.

Or there’s the classic case of “person who tries out road, goes really hard, and decides it isn’t for them.” (aka me) During my two-year pursuit of Cat 4 road glory, I had access to a bike team, sponsorships, industry friends/knowledge, and all the equipment I could possibly need. I’ve lived a pretty damn privileged life and used up a ton of resources just to be able to say, “road is dead.” 

For some people, road is a goal.

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Recent discussion on Facebook about 2018 goals. “CRITS” indeed.

Don’t Shit on my Parade

Unless you’re using some sneaky-ass reverse psychology, chances are telling someone that a certain thing they want to try “is dead,” will dissuade them from doing it. Yeah, [insert cycling discipline here] might be old news to you, but for them it’s brand new, shiny, and exciting. Maybe it’s the discipline they’ll fall in love with. Maybe it won’t be, but that doesn’t mean us curmudgeons should make new riders feel like they’re late to the game and shouldn’t bother giving [said discipline] a shot.

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Remember: One person’s midlife crisis is another person’s 21st birthday.

People are Amazing…Even if You Don’t Know About Them

Finally, this phrase and way of thinking is problematic because it fails to take into consideration all of the incredible progress that POC, women, LGBT folks, people with disabilities, and others (basically anyone besides your typical white dude cycling bro who gets all the attention) are making. Examples of a few amazing people/groups that should get way more attention: A Quick Brown Fox, Foxy Moxy, WTF Bikexplorers, SS Gravel Crew, Ellen Noble #bunnyhopthepatriarchy

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Chris Foome, meet Ayesha McGowan.

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Looking Ahead

recruit

We’re holding a Recruitment Meet & Greet
Wednesday, December 13, 6pm-8pm
at Eastlake Craft Brewery, 920 E. Lake St.
(inside Midtown Global Market at the southeast corner)

Koochella Racing is looking for new 2018 team members! Are you a somewhat experienced woman/trans/femme (WTF) rider who is ready to get more into racing (mountain, cyclocross, gravel, BMX, track, road)?  Learn more about the team from a brief overview with Q&A and then get to know current team members:  Sarah, Renee, Lisa, Leah, Kim, Maria, and Bri.  We’re excited to meet you!

Koochella’s mission is to elevate and support WTFs in the sport of cycling.

Feel free to reach out to any current team member or email us at koochella.racing@gmail.com if you’ve got any questions. We hope to see you there!

RSVP on facebook

 

USE THIS cxiscoming v1.0

Cyclo-cross season is upon us and we’ve been gearing up.  BUT WAIT!  Road season never ended!  And track is still in HOT pursuit!!  What if I don’t care AT ALL about competitive cycling, but still love having fun on bikes?  This list is not at all comprehensive (there are links to better calendars on here), but we think there’s something for everyone happening this fall.  At least one Koochella team member will probably be at each of these
upcoming events (all locations in Minneapolis, unless otherwise noted):

August 19-20 – Fixed Gear Classic
@ our local National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine, Minnesota
The Fixed Gear Classic features sprint and endurance omniiums for both men (Pro,1/2) and women (Pro, 1/2/3). $5000 in cash prizes will be divided equally between the men and women’s competitions.
on facebook

August 19-20 – Powderhorn24 Community Ride
@ Midtown Greenway/Powderhorn Neighborhood
Powderhorn 24 is a celebration of the Powderhorn neighborhood of South Minneapolis encouraging cyclists, neighbors, families, and spectators to come together to race, volunteer or cheer on riders.
on facebook

Friday, August 19 – Mounds View Crit Road Race p/b PJW Racing,
@ Mounds View, Minnesota
on facebook

Saturday, August 20 – Ride Like A Girl Cycling Dirty Girl Gravel Series #3, p/b Penn Cycling
@ Rosemount, Minnesota
on facebook

Sunday, August 21 – CX Skills Clinic by Marcus Bush, Week 1 of 3:  Corners and Barriers
@ Sibley Field
on facebook

Wednesday, August 23, 6pm-8pm – Sunset Road Ride
Join Koochella team member, Kim, on a ride from the Lake Harriet Bandshell over to Sociable Ciderwerks!
on facebook

August 24-27 All-City Champs, p/b Bike Jerks:
Friends, the ACC’s are back to spice up your Summer! Please join us in Minneapolis from August 24th-26th for three days of partying and a lazy Sunday spent at the beach!
The big news is that All-City is supporting the event this year by purchasing the entries for all Women/Trans/Femme riders.
From All-City:
“To further our goals of helping to make the cycle community as inclusive and welcoming as possible, for our sponsorship this year, we have agreed to pay the entry fee for all women / trans / femme riders. So if you’re thinking you’d like to join in, please do, the good times are on us.”
Thursday, August 24 – Bandit CX, Location:  TBD, afterparty at Fulton Brewing – 414 6th Ave N
Friday, August 25 – SK After Dark Alleycat, registration at 9pm @ Rockit HQ – 715 W Franklin
Saturday, August 26 – All City Championship 2017 Alleycat, registration at 4pm, race at 5pm @ One on One Bike Shop – 117 Washington Ave N
Bring a lock and a map. Expect 25-35 miles all over this fair city of ours.
After party to follow @ the Nomad – 501 Cedar Ave
on facebook

Tuesday, August 29 – Fuerza Cycling x The Hub WTF CX Clinic
SAVE THE DATE! Our buddies on Fuerza have something great in the works!
on facebook

September 1-3 – Singletrack Mind Festival
on facebook

September 17 – UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup/Jingle CX
@ Iowa City, Iowa

CX Worlds! Get Dirty! We’re camping!
on facebook

Saturday, September 23 – All-City Intercontinental CX Champs
probably a LOT of fun.
on facebook

Sunday, September 24 – Gravel Grovel, p/b Venga Velo, Miesville, Minnesota
Sounds messy and so so great!
on facebook

Friday, September 29 – FTW Cheers! Ride p/b Grease Rag
Saturday, September 30 – 6th Annual FTW Wanderabout Ride p/b Grease Rag
Sunday, October 1 –  FTW Brunch! p/b Grease Rag
After last year’s 10-year-anniversary of the Babes in Bikeland Alleycat, Grease Rag is taking a little break from the huge hoopla and hosting a few smaller events this year.

Saturday, 9/30 RevoX

Saturday, 8/7 Donkey CX @ Baker Orchard

Little Guy Racing CX p/b Tonka Cycle & Ski

Reoccurring Happenings:

Mondays, 6pm-dark – W/T/F Bike Polo p/b Twin Cities Bike Polo
@ Green Central Park Elementary
(TCBP) has created this event for WTF – women, trans folx, femmes, and non-binary people of the greater Twin Cities area to come play bike polo and learn more about the sport. Come learn about bike basics, the rules of bike polo, or simply come hang with some rad people! They’ll have extra mallets on hand for new players. Please feel free to reach out to any Twin Cities Bike Polo member if you have any questions. This event will be weekly – come check it out!
on facebook

Tuesdays through SeptemberCX Skills Clinic with local crusher, Nicole Mertz, p/b Park Tool
Join Nicole for hands-on instruction and the opportunity to learn and practice skills and drills specific to the sport of cyclocross. Each week will focus on a different set of skills, ranging from dismounts/remounts, off-camber cornering, and proper bike maintenance. Participants will have the opportunity to win some ParkTool product and swag at the end of each session. This is a FREE clinic, open to people of all ability levels, held every Tuesday evening at 6:00pm starting Aug. 15 and running through the end of September. The clinic takes place at Saint Anthony Park in NorthEast Minneapolis.
Bring any bike, some water, and a helmet. *Helmets are required*
Week 1 focused on mounting/dismounting, shouldering your bike, and barriers
Week 2 will focus on cornering, off-camber, and tire pressure.
on facebook (((taking a break because Nicole broke their collar bone at Trek CX Cup)))

Thursdays (2017 season ends on September 14) – Thursday Night Lights @ NSC Velodrome.
This is where Koochella got its start. Come watch or race us!

Friday mornings, 8am-11am, Powderhorn Park
practice CX skills with Wreckhouse Racing’s Eamon O’Hara and Koochella’s Lisa M. Olson

Keep up to date with Minnesota Cycling Federation’s local calendar (some dates and locations TBA)
CX schedule
Track schedule