Bike Style Interview: Vanessa and Annie of BFF Bikes


{ Photo by Joshua Alexandre Haines }

1. Tell us about BFF Bikes

BFF Bikes is a women focused bike shop so that means we have a much wider selection of women’s bikes, accessories, and apparel. Neither Vanessa or I come from the industry, but rather have spent a lot of time as the consumer and so we bring that perspective and created the kind of shop we wish existed. It has a bright, friendly, and up-beat atmosphere where everyone is welcome– including men. We love getting to know all our customers, whether they haven’t ridden a bike since they were a kid or if they are a long-time triathlete. We have a full service shop too and hold monthly basic fix-a-flat and maintenance classes as well as the occasional more advanced class. We also sponsor Chicago’s largest women’s only racing team and have open training rides. We’re very active in the cycling community and want to help it grow!

2. What is your favorite bike route?
It’s hard to pick just one… I have a favorite ride depending on what I am doing, though if pressed to pick one it would have to be what is referred to as the “Goons Route,” a 45 mile round trip route from Chicago to a northern Suburb. This was the route I did most often when I started doing group training rides and I loved everything about those rides. We do that route a lot on our Sunday training rides and I love taking first timers on it and seeing them fall in love with it too.

3. How would you describe your bike style?

My bike style is a lot like me…practical and not a lot of frills, but good quality that is ready for anything :). I bike year round and Chicago winters can be pretty nasty, but I’ve learned that with a few key pieces and experience riding in wintery conditions, winter riding can actually be really fun. In the warmer months, I try to keep it simple and wear my team kit for training rides and breathable t’s for commuting. (Check out Annie’s nails painted to match her bike below)


My bike style is the same pretty much. I would say that if I am riding as a commuter i will wear whatever it is that I want to wear OFF the bike and make it work on the bike. (Even if that means swapping shoes out or wearing a pair of shorts under a skirt.) I feel like, when riding for transportation, you shouldn’t let the bike dictate what you wear.

4. What is your favorite restaurant?

I’ve been a regular at Sultan’s market since I moved to Chicago in 2002. They have the best falafel, chicken Shawarma, lentil soup, and salad bar. They have a great patio and it’s super affordable!

Plus one on Sultan’s Market but I have to say I really love Athenian Room in Lincoln Park. It’s a super homey Greek Restaurant, with the best lemon and rice soup.

5. Who is someone you admire?


My mom! She has been a big inspiration for me to open BFF Bikes– she has owned several small businesses and has been a great role model. She is not afraid to think big, try new things, learn from mistakes, and keep going. She has been a huge supporter and given me all the encouragement and confidence I could ask for.

I have a friend, Dr. Kim Dennis, who’s the CEO of a women’s treatment center. She’s also that center’s head doctor, and pretty much an all around badass. She helped me in the past become closer to my TRUE self and she told me once that if I do what I love, the money will come. I thought I love riding my bike, but how am I ever going to support myself doing that? But when is started working on BFF Bikes I realized that she was right! I just needed to open myself up to other ways I can support myself and find a career I love through bikes (and helping women!).


{ Photo by Joshua Alexandre Haines }

Want to learn more about BFF Bikes? 

Check out BFF Bike’s Website

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