Joann Zwagerman

Joann Zwagerman

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Favorite Bike: Not fair. That’s like picking a favorite child. Impossible…
Sign: Scorpio. Isn’t it obvious?

What attracted you to Eliel?

The kits are great but it really was the feeling of ‘family’ behind the brand that attracted me to Eliel.

What about bikes brings you joy?

The freedom to roam and explore places from a different vantage point. The feeling of the wind in my braids and knowing that by just getting out there, I’ve accomplished something. The relationships that I have made through cycling. Commuting and having true zero emissions. All of this and more brings joy to my life. It’s all because of bikes.

How does riding make you a better person?

I am a nurturing person by nature but riding bikes has given me a whole new reason to care. I feel compelled to help where I can to support the cycling community. I have learned a lot from others and for that I have grown as a person and a cyclist.

Which rider inspires you the most?

Oh geez...Those who know me well would smile at this one. It’s not a pro because I couldn’t name more than a handful. It is someone from my cycling club. He has been my constant source of inspiration and support. He has taught and guided me from the beginning of my cycling career almost 5 years ago. He has been my constant mentor. I owe a lot to this man.

What are your goals for the future? On and off the bike...

I would like to roam around the world with my bikes and a camper. Possibly blog about it. I want to bring awareness to other cycling regions and communities without reservations.

What is important to you?

Having meaningful, honest friendships

Joann's Story

Joann Zwagerman is the proud progenitor of the Friendly Donut Ride (FDR)… a ride in LA created in the spirit of inclusivity, community and food.

Joann created a movement in the South Bay of LA, where the Donut Ride around Palos Verdes happens every Saturday, rain or shine, since the ‘80s. That ride is anything but a fluffy ronde van PV. It’s simply a hard and hilly hammerfest. Wonderfully (or not), unlike in San Diego where every time a ride gets too hard, they invent the B, C, D and F versions, in LA there is no B Donut Ride. What this means is the ride isn't very welcoming to newcomers…

Enter Joann, who learned quickly that in order for any movement to be successful the leader has to be there, no matter what. Because for a ride or movement to continue, the person who started it has got to keep showing up. It’s like being married, only far worse because at least when you’re married, rolling over and snoring is an accepted part of being a good partner. Requisite, actually.

What Joann figured out with the FDR was that if you’re cycling in the South Bay and you want people to commit to you, you have to commit to them. And that means a date, a time, a place, and a commitment to be there “til death do us part.” Week in and week out, the FDR goes off with Joann present to shepherd her Donut Denizens, and it has gone off in some pretty extreme situations.

Joann’s FDR has brought a lot of people into cycling and now serves as a focal point for people who are looking for a regular ride–not too hard, not too soft–and for event organizers who want to get the word out about their event. From the Belgian Waffle Ride, to Phil’s Cookie Fondo, to Rivet Cycling’s Santa Barbara Ribs Extravaganza, people in the LA cycling community recognize that FDR is there for the community as a whole. It’s for Stars of all Stripes and appetites.

This, of course, is how you spread the joy of cycling and then get to eat it, too. Two cheeks at a time. Joann is not only a Star to us, she’s one to a legion of others who have discovered that through cycling we have the power to transform each other, and the world.