Beth Pickhard


Beth just returned from a bike tour in Southeast Asia and is now joining the Wheel & Sprocket team to help share her passion for bicycles. Whether riding near or far, her best advice is to just get out there and do it! Plus, Beth reminds women (and everyone) to stop apologizing for not knowing bikes-- and start asking questions.-- "... starting out with a bit of humility as we learn" and to "put trust in others" is an essential step in becoming a better rider.

How did you get started riding bikes? What kinds of bikes do you ride?

When I was in college, my friend convinced me to do a triathlon with her. I considered myself a runner and used a bicycle to ride to classes in Madison. I rode the triathlon on a Trek FX 7.2 and kept cycling for exercise after the race. When I moved to Milwaukee, I was working downtown and, as a recent grad, I didn’t want to pay for parking at work and riding on the Oak Leaf Trail was the perfect way to start and end my day. I eventually bought a road bike and later a touring bike, hardtail and full suspension mountain bikes and a fat bike.

What made you decide to take your round the world bike trip? Were you nervous about riding alone and how did you overcome some of the obstacles (both mental and physical)?

The main barriers I’ve found to travel are lack of time and/or money. I had both time and money to travel at a certain point in my 20s and decided to travel by bicycle because I discovered it was an awesome way to slow down and enjoy the culture around me and be fully present. Much of the touring I have done has been in Southeast Asia. I’ve ridden in 90-degree weather with insane humidity levels, up and down 20+ percent grade roads and experienced all sorts of emotions along the way -- happiness, loneliness (half of the touring I have done has been solo), and frustration. Most days were good though. I got to ride my bicycle all day like it was my 9-5 job. Sometimes I would have a goofy grin on my face when a child waved at me or laugh to myself when I spotted beautiful scenery because I was joyous to be out on the open road. Fortunately, Asia is one of the safer places in the world to ride a bicycle as a solo female. Sure, there were nerves when my touring companion on my first tour in Asia and I split to ride in separate directions, but then I enjoyed being autonomous to make decisions about my day and not having to worry about my pace or where I would meet up with my friend.

What made you decide to take your round the world bike trip? Were you nervous about riding alone and how did you overcome some of the obstacles (both mental and physical)?

The best advice I can give is to get out there and do it! Of course gear matters, but so does your mental strength to ride a bicycle day after day, especially if you are riding self-supported. The confidence I found from being self-reliant while touring felt great. Testing out gear in advance is important and having a basic understanding of how your bicycle works helps too.

What made you decide to work at Wheel & Sprocket?

Wheel has a family feel to it and I’ve become friends with the people who work at Wheel & Sprocket over the years. Since I enjoy riding all sorts of bikes, I find it fun to assist riders in creating an excellent ride experience wherever they may ride.


What advice do you have for women riders?

Sometimes us ladies apologize when we are new to riding bikes. It’s as if we are saying, “Sorry, I don’t know everything about this newfound passion of mine.” And that’s ok. I recently started rock climbing and had minimal knowledge about climbing prior. It felt similar to when I began cycling. I felt uncomfortable and ignorant. No matter our gender, starting out with a bit of humility as we learn and a willingness to put trust in others is essential.