Who We Are MCBC Welcomes Sophie Yanow to Staff

We are delighted to have Sophie Yanow join MCBC as our new Administrative Assistant.

Sophie grew up in the San Geronimo Valley, biking to her friends’ houses on back roads. After years on the East Coast in Montreal and Vermont, she returned to Marin where she is excited to play a role in making it a more bike-friendly place. She has bike commuted, bike toured, biked in the snow, co-founded an educational bike co-op, and built or overhauled most of the bikes she owns. Sophie is also an award-winning cartoonist, whose work often features… you guessed it: bicycles. We asked Sophie to tell us more about herself and why she rides!

Sophie Yanow

Photograph by Greg Evans

What kind of bicycle(s) do you ride?

I’m a tinkerer, so I own a handful of funky bikes, but my main steeds right now are:

Gravel & Touring – Surly Cross Check
MTB – 1990 Ritchey Team P-23

What do you like best about riding?

I feel a huge sense of autonomy on my bike. I can travel efficiently from point A to B with a real awareness of my surroundings and the ability to interact with people person-to-person. Plus it’s a mode of transportation that uses relatively few resources, so I have a lot of pride when I ride!

What do you like best about the benefits of riding your bike?

I love that I get exercise as a byproduct of transportation or having fun with friends on trails. I know that when I go for a ride with friends, I’ll get a mental health boost both from the social element and the endorphins. And of course, there are all the unseen benefits to the environment that we get by taking a car off the road, even for just one trip.

What would you have liked someone to tell you when you started?

I wish I’d had someone help me with a bike fit a long time ago! I built my first adult sized bike at The Bike Church co-op in Santa Cruz, and my second and third bikes at the UCSC campus bike co-op. I rode that last one for years (including on a month-long bike tour) without realizing that in my initial build I had cut the fork too short and wasn’t using components that would give me the right fit. I got a fit, and by replacing the fork and making a few inexpensive swaps to my stem and handlebars, that bike feels so much better now!

Where is your favorite place to ride your bike?

I lived in Montreal for a few years, and the amazing infrastructure there made it really easy to ride around the city. There are many two-way bike lanes that are completely separated from traffic, and often I could get around town only deviating from a bike path for a few blocks.

What is your favorite ride/route in Marin County?

I like riding up to the lakes from Ross and then down through Deer Park into Fairfax. It’s a centrally located ride so it’s easy to do with friends without much planning, and there are harder or easier options depending on what riding abilities your crew has.

What part of riding would you most like to improve?

More separated paths for cyclists!

What is your vision of bicycling in the future?

I would love there to be a vast infrastructure of public transportation and cycling infrastructure. Imagine being able to travel all of California (or at first, the Bay Area) efficiently, inexpensively, and safely by train, bus, and bike.

Sophie Biking as a Kid

Sophie biking on the Lagunitas School campus as a kid.

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