Roxy Robles

An Introduction to Bike Overnights Ambassador Roxy Robles!

Aug 23, 2021

Roxy is a cyclist, urban planner, seamstress, and Filipinx food enthusiast living on the ancestral lands of the Duwamish (Seattle, Washington). She started bike touring in 2017 after realizing that bike touring was not that different than hauling 30 pounds of groceries up and down Seattle hills. She organizes with Friends on Bikes, and volunteers with The Bikery & Outdoors for All. Roxy is passionate about supporting new cyclists and spreading her love of bikes and bike touring. She uses her Capricorn powers for good by planning summer bike trips months in advance. She thinks tarot cards are an essential item on any packing list, and loves to talk about feelings.

Tell us a little about yourself!

I grew up in the suburban Bay Area and always wanted to bike to school, but my parents were freaked out because our town had really small windy roads and no bike lanes. They assumed I would get hit by a car in the mile to my elementary school, so they drove me or I took the bus every day instead. I really got into cycling as a form of fun and transportation in college since I didn't have a car. I didn't know what panniers were at the time, but my roommate was a bike mechanic and he got me a huge bike basket wholesale. I mounted it on this big beach cruiser I had, and I used that basket for errands, dumpster diving, and taking my pet rabbit to class! Bikes were mostly about transportation for me until I was no longer a student in 2017. I started bike touring that summer because I didn't have a car and I was tired of using car share or pestering my friends with cars to get me to the mountains. I figured if I could haul my groceries up Fremont Avenue in Seattle (it's pretty steep), I could probably handle riding with camping gear. 

After a few years of learning and building community on my own, I got a little fed up with the bro-centric tone and focus of bike blogs and media and decided to develop my own resources. I started writing a book about bike touring in early 2019, and self-published it in e-book form on my blog in May 2020. I also worked with a friend of mine from grad school to develop a Spanish-language version which I released in September 2020. Now I am really excited to offer the book in paperback! 

What's your favorite type of riding to do?

I really love riding the gravel fire and forest roads that are so plentiful outside of Seattle. The westside ones are pretty accessible by ferry, and the foothills of the Cascades are chock full, too!

Roxy riding in winter gear

Tooling around on Snoqualmie lands
Courtesy Roxy Robles

What's your favorite bike you've ever owned or ridden?

I'm very obsessed with my 2015 Kona Sutra that has been my main rig for the last few years (steel is real), but I think my favorite bike was my commuter in college. It was an old-school red Nishiki, and was a little too small for me, but I kitted it out with bubblegum-pink handlebar grips, bottle cage, and those deep-V wheels that were so trendy in the early aughts.

Right now I have the Kona and I traded a friend an espresso machine for a 90s GT mountain bike that I use for short trips around town.

Roxy's Kona touring bike
Steel is Real
Roxy Robles

What's one of the hardest bike touring experiences you've had? 

When I first started touring I didn't know a lot of femmes or queer people that were into it, so I was riding with a lot of tech bro types because that's who I knew. It was difficult not feeling safe being vulnerable or asking for help from the people you are touring with, which is why I started to plan trans, women, intersex, and gender nonconforming (TWIG)-only trips and invite strangers from social media and random corners of my life. Now that I've spent so many years building it, I feel really lucky to have a deep community of like minded people with whom to ride.
In a physical sense, a friend of mine invited me to do the southern tier of the Odyssey of the VOG and it really kicked my butt, but it was so much fun and a great challenge. It was my first multi-day backcountry trip and I can't wait to do more!

What's one of your favorite experiences on a bike adventure?

A few years ago a friend of mine organized a tour through the Willamette Valley wine country. I found a donkey farm that was open to the public and made an appointment for all 15 of us to go hang out with donkeys for an afternoon, and it was a really fun and goofy time.

Roxy and a small donkey friend

Me and my donkey friend
Courtesy Roxy Robles

Where are your favorite places to bike on Duwamish ancestral lands (Seattle)?

The Burke Gilman Trail and Lake Washington Boulevard both have great spots to take a break and swim in the lake, and I love water.

What's the best bike snack? What's your favorite bike touring meal?

I am a salt fiend (not the biggest fan of sweet snacks) so I LOVE corn nuts on a sweaty day. It’s also one of the few snacks you can get at a gas station that doesn’t have a ton of preservatives and other junk in it.

A friend of mine got me into taking a head of cabbage on longer trips -- It keeps really well and it’s so nice to have a crunchy vegetable on hand when you’re eating camp food and granola bars for days on end. I like to wrap salami and cheese, or hummus and some kind of grain in a big ol’ cabbage leaf and chow down.

Do your bikes have names?

Nope… Should they?

What are things you like to do when you're not on a bike adventure?

When I'm not on my bike I love making big meals for my friends. My sister and I visited our extended family in the Philippines in the fall of 2019 and I was inspired to learn more about Filipinx cooking. I am perfecting my adobo, and can make a really great bibingka and fresh lumpia! I also volunteer for too many things in Seattle including The Bikery, a donation-funded and volunteer-run community bike shop, and Friends on Bikes, a community for TWIG BIPOC folks.

Roxy's Filipinix family enjoys a meal together

Filipinos do hospitality like nobody else
Courtesy Roxy Robles

Where are some places you'd like to visit on a bike?

The Japanese island of Hokkaido, it has 95% of the country’s natural areas and 5% of the population, it’s supposed to be sublime. I would also really love to see South Korea by bike; I got to do a little bit of hiking when I was there in 2018, but it’s such a big and beautiful country I can’t wait to go back.

Lightning Round:

Flat Bars or Drop Bars

Disc Brakes or Rim Brakes
Disc! Seattle is wet.

Gels/Gummies or Energy Bars
Ugh neither… Corn nuts or dried mango.

#coffeeoutside or post-ride beers

Shoulder Season: Spring or Fall
Fall! This may be controversial but I think Spring sucks… It’s unpredictable and violent.

Maps or Bike Computer
Does Ride with GPS count as a bike computer?

Dogs or Cats

Roxy stands on a hill
Roxy, gloriously
Courtesy Roxy Robles