Her Bike Style with Rachel Ravitch

Her Bike Style with Rachel Ravitch

We are happy to kick off our Her Bike Style series here at Iva Jean and couldn’t be more please to have Seattle’s Rachel Ravitch as our first feature. She’s an absolute inspiration and I hope that you’ll enjoy a look inside her bike style.

Rachel Ravitch
Title/Occupation: Designer/People Person
Location: Seattle, WA
Bike: Vintage Raleigh Grand Prix

Tell me more about how and why you started your jewelry line. I started my line of jewelry with the simple idea of creating soft, lightweight, comfortable jewelry that makes a statement. The first idea was for the knotted rope necklace and I built from there to include bracelets and other necklace styles. I am playing with creating precious items from non-precious materials. It is my hands and their work that makes the jewelry precious. They are also made from very few materials or separate parts. Each piece has a sort of continuity and durability level. It is very important to me that everything I wear be bike friendly and the line reflects this philosophy. Wearing a heavy piece of jewelry just isn’t appealing while biking, nor is wearing something precious that could break. It’s a happy medium between wearing something special but not having to worry about it being damaged. 

Her Bike Style with Rachel Ravitch

How long have you been biking? I have been biking since I was a little kid. I loved riding my bike around my neighborhood, which was a 1970s development with lots of cul de sacs and a green belt. I was only allowed to ride around the neighborhood up to about age 10. I got in trouble once for riding my bike all the way to the grocery store which was about 1.5 miles away! I told my mom I was going,  but she thought I was going with my brother, Sam, who is 5 years older. When she realized that I rode by myself, she drove to the store, but I convinced her to let me ride my bike home! Even at the age of 9, I realized the delightful independence that comes with biking. I continued riding my bike in college and to this day. 

Her Bike Style with Rachel Ravitch

What made you start biking? I decided to bike as an adult when I was in college. It was either the bus or riding my bike. I did and still do both. But I prefer to bike whenever possible. It was both a financial and parking related decision at the time which has evolved into a spiritual and physical health must. 

Was there anything that you were nervous about when you started? I recall not being aware of a lot of things that drivers can/cannot see as I hadn’t driven much in the city. I learned very quickly that drivers rarely use their turn signals and to avoid being beside a car at a red light if you plan to go straight. I was almost hit by cars turning right at a green light more than any other incidence. It’s really easy to avoid. Just hang back a little and make eye contact with the cars you are near. Eye contact is much better to rely upon than turn signals (or the lack there of!).  

Her Bike Style with Rachel Ravitch

What are five things that make biking easiest for you? 1. Black Skinny jeans: they always look great, dry quickly, and you can’t tell if you get a little grease on them. 2. Flatform ankle booties by Vagabond: They have been really great for riding in Seattle because they have a rubber sole and are really water resistant. 3. Fenders! There’s just no reason to go around with a soggy bottom. Fenders are a miracle. 4. Toe baskets: they make it so much easier to wear a broader range of shoes. 5. Jackets with pockets: It’s great to have a pocket to stash things even momentarily – especially when transitioning from on to off the bike.  

What is your favorite time of day to bike your city? Mid morning and late evening, pretty much when there are less cars on the road! It can get a little overwhelming riding with lots of cars. I also really like riding late at night for the same reason. It’s so freeing to be out in the dark on a bike. I try to cut through Seattle University’s campus late at night whenever possible.  

Where is your favorite route to bike in your city? I’m very fond of biking from First Hill where I live to Mount Baker. It’s a really relaxed ride with lots of pretty trees. You can find yourself at Colman Park, which is a lovely place for a walk. For a day trip, I really like taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island with my bike. It’s a great place to ride and there are great restaurants in their little downtown. It really feels like you’ve left the city but really it’s just a 20 minute ferry ride away!

Do you have a bike shop or mechanic that you go to? I really like 20/20 Cycle on 20th & Union near my house. They are such great mechanics AND community members. They have great live shows with local bands. I recently saw La Luz play there and it was a packed house with great vibes. Alex, the owner, is usually there and has a warm, friendly smile. Everyone who works there seems like they genuinely like their job, which means a lot to me.

Her Bike Style with Rachel Ravitch

How has your style changed since you started biking? Biking has a bit of an edge to it but it is also very playful. My style definitely reflects these two aspects of biking. I draw from some harder, chic looks, and soften them with playful accents like my jewelry or a polka dot baseball cap that can easily be stowed for rain/sun protection once off the bike. I also find myself drawn to solid basics that work well for biking, like a good pair of pants, a skirt, and a pair of shoes that work for the drizzly fall and winter months.   

Who is your style icon? I am really drawn to characters that don’t compromise themselves for fashion, and embody a look that is quintessentially their own. To name a few: Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Eleanor Friedberger, and Catherine Baba are all icons that I dig who have great independent style. I love Mick Jagger’s suit – open shirt – silk scarf – wide brim hat combos, David Bowie’s ability to both destroy the men’s tailored suit and to create anew the men’s tailored suit, Eleanor Friedberger’s overall presence whose accessories include her piercing black eyes and high waisted pants, and Catherine Baba’s ability to wear anything on a bike, including 9″ stilettos!

What tips would you share with someone looking to start biking? I would say, just work biking in to your regular day. Instead of driving to the store for a few things, ride your bike! I promise, it will be a more fun, connected, community oriented way to get to wherever you are going. I ride with very few bike only accessories, but I do like to wear padded fingerless gloves because riding over potholes can be hard on your hands. I also have a very lightweight, compact rain jacket that can easily slip over any outfit. I bought a lot of Gortex stuff at first but was really unhappy with the way it felt and the way I felt about myself in it. I prefer to make my wardrobe work on and off the bike and have found this method to be the best for me. It is essential to have a comfortable waterproof bag, especially in Seattle. In terms of routes, I try to take side streets whenever possible. It can be very chaotic to ride on busy streets. It’s much more pleasant to daydream and listlessly roll down a calm residential street than to be constantly worried about a car door opening, cars turning, or the dozens of other hazards for bikers on a busy city street.

*Please note that Rachel always bikes with a helmet, though I asked her to remove it for our off-street shoot. This way you can see her amazing hair!

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