1×10: B Vivit, Instructor & social media wrangler at United Bicycle Institute

Welcome to 1×10, where we ask 1 inspiring human 10 questions about how they are using cycling as a force for good. Read on to meet B Vivit, instructor and social media wrangler at the United Bicycle Institute (UBI) in Ashland, OR. Additionally she’s an amateur framebuilder, cyclist, and writer. I came across B after I saw all of these wonderful instagram posts coming from UBI and QBP about the women’s mechanics scholarship program that they sponsor and host. I loved what they were doing and I wanted to learn more; B was gracious to accept a social media ping out of the blue and agreed to do a 1×10 interview. Learn more about B, UBI, and the 2019 class of the QBP Women’s Bike Mechanic Scholarship program that is at Ashland right NOW! Photo by Pamela Palma (@bicigirl)

1. How / why did you fall in love with cycling?

My Dad. He grew up cycling and took us on adventures every once in a while. And while I wasn’t super interested in it then; he was super supportive of whatever sports we wanted to do. When I got into cycling, he got pretty excited. He wasn’t super happy when I started wrenching, but still made time to give me pointers. I’d like to think he’d be super proud of where I am now, and what I’m doing. The things that have kept me cycling? I’m not a racer, so, my friends, coworkers and folks I continue to meet. I’ve only met the best, most inspiring people in the bike world. And at the end of the day, everything else aside, your bike is there to take you onto the next adventure.

“When I got into cycling, he got pretty excited. He wasn’t super happy when I started wrenching, but still made time to give me pointers. I’d like to think he’d be super proud of where I am now, and what I’m doing.”

2. Favorite bike?

SO MANY. The bike I’ll never get rid of, is my Frenchie. An 80’s Peugeot that was the first bike I ever worked on. It’s also the last bike that my dad and I got to work on together. I also have to say that I’ve wanted, but never owned, a 3Rensho track bike, forever.

3. What’s the most memorable ride you’ve done, and what happened?

There have been some grand adventures and some fun rides for sure. One of my most memorable is the ride where I met Jessica Chan. Jessica, creator of Tunitas Carryall, and now one of my best friends, and I spent a summer together riding bikes and adventured to Canada together to build bikes with Paul Brodie. But I like to think that my most memorable ride is the next one, I can’t wait to find new places this year.

“Jessica, creator of Tunitas Carryall, and now one of my best friends, we spent a summer together riding bikes and adventured to Canada together to build bikes with Paul Brodie.”

4. Who do you admire in the cycling world?

There are so many! Ayesha McGowan, Megan Dean, Danielle Schon, Brad Bingham, Sara Jarrell, my coworkers; Kaitlin Johnson (of the QBP scholarship), Nathan Riddle, Matt Eames, Rich Bernoulli, Stephen Glass, Jeff Menown, Richard Belson, and of course Ron Sutphin… every single one of the folks from the QBP Women’s Bike Mechanic Scholarship. Seriously, these folks are creating change every day whether it’s fighting for bike lanes or creating community wrench programs, no matter the obstacle, and it’s truly incredible to witness their adventures and triumphs and to participate in some small part. I also just can’t say enough good things about our students at UBI, it is amazing to be a part of their journeys, I love meeting such incredible people through my job. Most days I feel like the luckiest person in the world.  

“Seriously, these folks are creating change every day whether it’s fighting for bike lanes or creating community wrench programs, no matter the obstacle, and it’s truly incredible to witness their adventures and triumphs and to participate in some small part.”

5. Top tip for a new rider, or a cyclist about to take on a new challenge?

“When you pray, move your feet.” That is to say; just keep going. Whether it’s emotional turmoil or physical pain, whenever you get to the point that you think your last resort is to send up a prayer, keep going because that’s the only way you’ll get through it. And you’ll come out the other side, I promise.

“When you pray, move your feet.” That is to say; just keep going”

6. Favorite trend or innovation in cycling?

Ugh such a great question. Innovations could be something like dropper posts, hydraulic disc brakes, clutched derailleurs, pneumatic tires..we have this discussion at UBI all the time! Usually it comes down to picking between the aforementioned items (if you could only have 2…) But I have to say that I think electronic shifting is the future. There are so many beautiful things we can do with electronic shifting that really allows for a shift (ha!) in the term “able-bodied” which will revolutionize the sport of cycling, for the better.

“There are so many beautiful things we can do with electronic shifting that really allows for a shift (ha!) in the phrase “what people are capable of” which will revolutionize the sport of cycling, for the better.”

7. What are you doing to use cycling as a force for good?

Hopefully, on a very base and primal level, I am promoting diversity and inclusivity among mechanics and in bike shops. Promoting awareness that half the population is femme and instead of TELLING us what we want, why don’t you just listen when we tell you? Honestly, I want folks to see me and understand that I am a half-Filipino woman who is not only able to wrench, but is able to teach others. To take implicit biases that we learn as children about race, colour, and gender and turn them on their head to show that the world is still right side up. At a superficial level, I hope that I am able to inspire a few people to do their own mechanic work or to tackle something they previously thought was out of their abilities (and do it damn well!).

“To take implicit biases that we learn as children about race, colour, and gender and turn them on their head to show that the world is still right side up.”

8. Thinking about the work you’re doing, what do you see as the potential change for people or the planet? If you are successful, what impact will you have?

Yes. More butts on bikes is an incredible thing, both for the individual and for the planet. Less pollution, more healthy, less congestion, better city structures, more enjoyment and being part of the moment. More people fixing bikes and understanding bikes might raise up our profession to “skilled labor.” If a construction worker that sweeps the site can make a base level of pay that is more than minimum wage, why shouldn’t this skillset be worth more than that? If I could be successful, it would be in conjunction with big partners such as UBI, QBP, SRAM, Park Tool, Maxxis, Spank, Dero, etc. with the Women’s Bike Mechanic Scholarship and all of their great partners; in addition to every single person (and allies) out there fighting for equal representation.

“If a construction worker that sweeps the site can make a base level of pay that is more than minimum wage, why shouldn’t this skillset be worth more than that?”

9. What’s your biggest challenge/obstacle to success?

Myself. Imposter syndrome is real, people. Not to mention that I make mistakes too and have to rework how I think about an issue, it’s an evolving process. I am so thankful to have loving, supportive coworkers, friends, and family to help me overcome. And this dream is reaaally big, so we (collective) have to put in work every day. 

“And this dream is reaaally big, so we (collective) have to put in work every day.”

10. How can people help? Where can they learn more about your work?

  • Be an ally. Here is a great guide to allyship: http://www.guidetoallyship.com/
  • Mostly, try your hardest to be kind. If you make a mistake, it’s ok, but like all mistakes, you have to do better the next time around.
  • Challenge your preconceived notions. Especially if you’re in a position of power or leadership. Ask yourself why you feel a way you do about a person. Is it because of their own actions? Are you possibly judging them unfairly? What did this person do to get here, and how can you help them also achieve their dreams?
  • Say something. If you see something that doesn’t sit right with you, an article, a blog post, bring your constructive criticism to light. But this is always superseded by the golden rule, “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”
  • Question where your dollars go. Voting with your resources is incredibly important. Spend your money with folks that you can see who it goes to, who is benefitting.
  • Professionally, be involved. This industry is evolving and understanding the hard things about this industry-at-large will only make you stronger. Try to understand different viewpoints, but also understand it is not the person-in-question’s job to educate you. Do the research. 

“Say something. If you see something that doesn’t sit right with you, an article, a blog post, bring your constructive criticism to light. But this is always superseded by the golden rule, “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”

B Vivit is an instructor and the social media wrangler for the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, OR. When she’s not wrenching, slinging tweets/‘grams, building frames, or riding her bike, you can find her IRL or online being an ally and all-around great human What am I kidding? She’s doing all of the above at the same time!

Edited by John Kim. When he’s not out for a ride, John uses his expertise in Corporate Social Responsibility to help companies do well by doing good. Find him at virtcyc@gmail.com or VirtCyc on twitter or instagram.

One Comment Add yours

  1. B! She’s a pretty big deal!

    Liked by 1 person

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