Legal Receptionist/Assistant. I also make and sell jewelry.
How long have you been biking?
I’ve been riding a bike since I was a kid! The first genuine effort to use my bike in a commuter fashion was during my high school senior year spring semester (in 1997) where I had to get from home to an internship at The Children’s Hospital to school and back home again. Although it was only once or twice a week, it required a solution because I couldn’t carpool like I did other days. I didn’t have my own car like so many of my peers, but I had a Trek ‘Jazz’ hybrid bike. I remember thinking as I would park it, ‘this is a good idea. Why does no one else do this?’
What kind of bike do you ride?
I ride a two-speed custom-built commuter bike by a company named Courage. The builder doesn’t make bikes any longer, but I consider myself beyond lucky to have one.
My bike was built in 2009 and I’ve been riding it since then. It’s the only bike I have. It has disc brakes in the front and I can switch between the two gears by kicking a small lever with my heel at the top of the crank. The front and back lights are built into the frame and work by a generator when I pedal. I use the fenders year-round. This bike is an incredible tool. I’ve never had anything so nice or that’s made such a difference in my reality. It’s completely comfortable because it was designed to fit my height, size & weight as well as my style of riding. It is, without a doubt, an extension of my physical body.
How would you describe your current style in 5 words or less?
Layered, light & tight.
How do you feel about helmets?
Helmets are a positive part of riding a bike. They just ensure a safer delivery to where any cyclist is going. Since no one can control what happens on the road, it’s better to protect your brain than risk damaging it. I wear one all the time.
Do you think there’s anything different about the way men and women bike?
Nothing major that I can think of other than I wish more women would commute by bike. I only have a couple of girlfriends who do, and that’s here in Portland where it’s a big deal.
If someone you knew wanted to start riding to work (or play) instead of driving, what advice would you give them?
Use bike boulevards & streets/passageways intended for bike traffic. Don’t ride on busy, main streets; it’s way too stressful for everyone involved (you, drivers, other cyclists). Wear a helmet, use lights at night, respect traffic signals, go a safe speed, take up a lane downtown, always play it safe.
I learned about cycling from other people & their opinions, from experienced riders & friends I trusted. I had to see for myself through time, understanding & an accident that riding is joyful & interesting (you see all sorts of things you don’t see in a car), but it requires calculation, caution & thought.
What are some of your favorite local haunts?
I like Better Bargains Thrift Store, Hollywood 42nd St. Station, Dishman Pool, Pho Vinh on 72nd & Fremont, Aalto Lounge, Hollywood Theatre, Oven & Shaker, The Spare Room, beer at Belmont Station & the meatballs from the Italian Market cart on 45th & Stark.
How about your favorite meal to make at home?
I love a boiled artichoke dipped in lemon butter alongside vermicelli & meatballs.
Your photography is really lovely! Tell me more about how you develop your film and what inspires you to shoot.
Thank you. It was my chosen form of artistic release, personal exploration and documentation for over 10 years. I’ve shot primarily black and white film, processed every roll and printed the chosen negatives in a traditional wet darkroom. While some of my images were shot for other people in exchange for money, I see my time with photography and the darkroom as highly personal.
I haven’t done much in the last six months since I’ve stopped going to the PCC darkroom on 82nd and Division. I just got tired of photography because it seemed so much less special, if you will. There’s an entirely different ethos with digital photography: You can waste as many shots as you want because deletion is easy! Digital photography requires little patience and less understanding of light and timing because an image can be manipulated after the shot is taken. To me, it’s a game of reckless shooting and computerized editing which really is a different form of expression. Plus, it feels so fucking fake.
What are some of your future life goals?
Stay healthy, visit Amsterdam & Germany, keep learning, stay open to change, inspire other people, always act consciously, get to 50 push-ups a night.
Stephanie is wearing the 24 Hour dress in cream
Photos by Shola Lawson