Continuing our Ride Like You Want To series on how to ride in style, Women Who Ride is a new series of posts featuring real women who ride and how they make it work. We hope to inspire and teach more women to ride like they want to.
Born and raised in San Francisco, we met Jess at Timbuk2 Headquarters when she biked her delicious banh mi setup into our kitchen for one of our monthly “Local Lunches.” Jess learned everything she knows about pickles and pork from her mother. “I grew up eating amazing Vietnamese food . . . all my recipes are my mom’s.” From all we’ve seen and tasted, Jess is an excellent student.
Jess’s banh mi business is a side gig, but she’s serious about sandwiches. “The bread is really important in banh mi,” Jess explains. “It has to be really light. A lot of the San Francisco bakeries make breads that are too dense.” So on banh mi days, Jess BARTS her Surly Long Haul Trucker and bike trailer to Oakland to procure the perfect baguette.
Jess’ eye for ingredients carries into presentation. Fresh baked baguettes are displayed in Anchor Steam six pack cases, and each banh mi is lovingly wrapped in pink paper and finished with a bicycle stamp.
WOMEN WHO RIDE
Name: Jessica Nguyen
Lives: Pan Handle, San Francisco
Works: Financial Analyst, Federal Reserve Bank; Founder and Chef; Eat Banh Mi
Rides: Surly Long Haul Trucker
Why She Rides: It is incredibly liberating to know that YOU are your primary means of transportation, and it’s the most efficient way to get around town.
Where She Rides: All over northern California, and inching towards the pacific northwest.
What Got Her Over the Hump: I don’t like to depend on cars or Muni to get around.
Story of Her First Ride: Biking from downtown to the Mission for the VERY first time was a big deal. It is scary at first; gaining confidence on the road and learning how to ride alongside cars takes practice. But once you do it a few times, you’ll wonder why you ever took the MUNI, paid for a cab, or drove a car in the city.
Wished She’d Known: Never lock your bike with a cable lock. U-locks are the way to go.
Had to Overcome Before Riding: Not knowing the routes in the city. My sister showed me this bike route site made for SF. It’s better than Google maps.
Wears: J.Crew menswear, my sisters hand-me-downs, findings from Wasteland and Painted Bird.
Cold Weather Riding Apparel: Helly Hansen base layers, wool sweaters, cords, puffy ski vests, and desert boots.
Hot Weather Riding Apparel: Dresses and saltwater sandals.
Carries Every Day: Panniers are a girl’s best friend.
Craziest Thing Worn on a Bike: I was beaker for Halloween and rode around town wearing a very large foam muppet head.
Cycling Style Secrets:
1) Wear short under skirts and dresses (if flashing isn’t your thing). “They don’t have to be bike shorts.”
3) Wear sandals with ankle straps for sun and support. “Saltwater sandals are the only sandals I feel comfortable riding in. I have three pairs.”
4) Always wear a dark bra and underwear when riding. “I like to be prepared for a jump in the ocean at the end of a ride.”
Contact Jess for a made in San Francisco bike-delivered banh mi party.
Photos by Courtney Nelson. See more photos of Jess and other women who ride here.