Biking with Jenny Rilling
One of the best things about biking in Dallas is the people. Dallas cyclists are not just one type… we are all shapes, sizes, styles, colors, ages, and lifestyles. We ride big bikes, small bikes, fat tires, thin tires, one tire, three tires, sitting up, sitting back, leaning forward, fast, slow, and everything in between. This is third in the “Biking with…“ series. We hope that you’ll enjoy meeting the folks that are Biking in Dallas.
At the time of this interview and photo shoot with Jenny, she was pregnant with baby Henry. He was born on July 26, and we are hoping that he inherited some biking genes!
You may have seen Jenny Rilling’s posts on the Bike Friendly Richardson group or taken a spin with her on one of the group rides. She’s currently a co-leader with BFR and got started after going on the second annual Black Friday Ride a few years ago. “I thought it was the coolest thing and had some ideas for other group rides. Now I do a little bit of everything – blogging, posting on the Facebook group, planning rides, and working with city staff and city council on items of interest to cyclists. Being involved in such a vibrant neighborhood group is great.”
In 2012, Jenny joined the board of BikeDFW after having been involved with Bike Friendly Richardson. “I think we’re doing some great work in advocacy and education, and at this time a lot of groups in the area are beginning to come together in more of a consensus that, in my opinion, will greatly benefit cycling in North Texas.”
You can usually find Jenny rolling up to locally owned restaurants, pubs, ice cream shops and coffee shops. She’s also an avid commuter. Her commute is about 4 miles each way. “My favorite route variation (which I haven’t been able to do since early in my pregnancy) is a steep hill next to a junior high – I loved cranking up the hill in the morning, passing the long line of slow-moving cars waiting to turn into the school parking lot. I also loved seeing the school bike rack full of student bikes!”
On her route to work this year, she was able to watch the construction of the Floyd Branch Creek project. “I got to see all kinds of awesome machines dig huge holes in the ground and install 6-ft. diameter sections of concrete pipe. That was pretty cool.”
On her bike fleet… I have a small fleet consisting of my 3-speed mixte that I use for transportation and leisure rides, a Raleigh step through with wire baskets for shopping, and a 10-speed Peugeot mixte that a friend gave me that I’m still working on. All vintage. I’d like to get a longtail cargo bike in the near future to replace the shopping bike. The 3-speed mixte is my favorite because it is the most comfortable to ride, and does most things that I need it to. It’s blinged out with a Brooks saddle, chrome accents, and cream tires.
Jenny’s advice to new cyclists… Full disclosure, I’m a League Cycling Instructor, but I can honestly say, take a class like Traffic Skills 101 or CyclingSavvy. Yes, you can learn a lot from the internet and riding on your own or with a buddy, but I think if I’d taken a class when I first started biking as an adult, I’d have been a lot more confident and expanded my cycling “territory” that I felt comfortable in much sooner. I think the reason many people buy bikes and then don’t ride them is because they’re not comfortable with traffic and consequently their “territory” is limited to their neighborhood or trails that they have to drive to.
Jenny’s reminder to motorists… It costs much less time than you’d think to be kind and courteous. Give courtesy and respect and you’ll get the same back. Remember that you have the superior mass and speed and with great power comes great responsibility. P.S. One bad cyclist does not make all cyclists bad, just as one bad motorist does not make all motorists bad.
Thanks to Jenny for sharing a little bit about her biking life. Big congrats to the new addition to her family. I’m sure she’ll be looking for baby bike gear in no time.
Photos courtesy Chris Curnutt.