Introducing Joanna Petterson

April 25 — 2019 | Santa Cruz, CA

World Traveler, Surfer, and Ride Out Coordinator

Juliana Bicycles: First off, tell us a little about yourself.

Joanna Petterson: Traveling around the country sharing amazing bicycles with people is pretty much the ideal job for me. I've been traveling since I was about 4, moving from South Africa with my family. We lived in Greece briefly then San Francisco and finally settled on the island of Kauai. 

We spent several years on Kauai frolicking in the ocean and sun but went back to SA when I was 8 with my mother for a family visit and ended up staying there until I was 13. At that point we moved back to Kauai. Long story short, Kauai is home but I've traveled the world since I graduated from high school chasing mountain bike races and the bike life. Bikes changed my entire life and sharing the beauty of gliding down a hill, feeling the wind against your skin and being entirely present is a passion of mine befitting my new role with Juliana Bicycles.  


JLB: You have quite the mountain bike history! Can you tell us a little about how and when you got started in the mountain bike world? Was there a moment when you knew mountain biking wasn't just a hobby? 

JP: When I was in high school in 1996 a UCI World Cup race was hosted on the Island of Oahu. It was big news in our little state and I just happened to watch the evening coverage of this crazy sport of Downhill Mountain Bike racing. I was completely enamored. I made a beeline for Borders Books and looked for any literature about the sport. Missy Giove was of course on the cover of some magazine and it all went downhill (pardon the pun) from there. It wasn't until about 20 that I got on my first mountain bike and moved to Colorado. My first race was a Mountain States Cup at Angel Fire in New Mexico. It poured rain all night before the race, and wracked with nerves I didn't sleep at all. But I went on to win my race the next day and I never looked back. It was never a hobby for me, and I think I probably only rode a mountain bike about 5 times before that first race. I learned to ride mountain bikes by racing. 


JLB: You are the newest member of the Juliana team, tell us a little bit about what the Juliana brand is to you? How does the demo program play into that? What you are going to be doing on the road? 

JP: The Juliana Brand to me is basically the worst case of FOMO. You're sure to have a good time around this crew, nothing too serious, lots of belly laughs and undoubtedly some of the most fun you can have on a bicycle. You don't have to worry about the bike, just get yourself to the trail with your kit and the bike will take care of you. 

And I get to be a part of this brand. I get to bring incredible bikes all around the country to events created specifically to share the beauty and ease of these bicycles. 


JLB: You have been a mechanic in the professional ring for some time. What are some pearls of wisdom you can share with us? 

JP: Never leave home without a few zipties. They are invaluable! Familiarize yourself with the tools you take riding. Take your time, listen to your bike, don't be afraid to ask questions or work on your bike. Youtube is a wealth of information, but so are the people around you. 


JLB: How has the women's mountain bike industry evolved since you started in it? 

JP: I'm not going to sugar coat it. Though we have evolved immeasurably, and the progress in equal podium pay has been something I have had many a discussion (sometimes heated) with race directors and organization CEO's to facilitate change. We still have leaps and bounds to achieve true equality. That being said, progress has been made and we will only continue to move forward.

From the product standpoint, it's inspiring to see that the industry has responded to the overwhelming number of women riders. We have beautiful bicycles and accessories that are designed thoughtfully and have been championed and pushed for largely in part by incredible women behind the scenes at some of the biggest brands in the industry.


JLB: You seem like you are about to have a super busy summer ahead of you, how do you stay motivated to keep up with everything? What do you do when you are away from the bike?

JP: Coffee of course! But seriously, Juliana Bicycles and Santa Cruz Bicycles is a great company to work for. I've been out of racing for about 2 years now and having the opportunity to be involved with the industry and share some of the best bikes on the planet with people all across North America is motivation enough. When I'm away from my bike I love to surf, farm, camp, and learn new skills. 


JLB: What bike have you been eyeing to make its way into your garage/team van first? 

JP: I just spent the weekend riding the Roubion and I'm hooked. Definitely the bike for me!

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