Stories / Sep 20, 2019

#RADWOMENRADWORK: EMILY KACHOREK, CO-FOUNDER OF SQUID BIKES


First, give us a quick bio of you and your work, 10 words or less: 

I love riding, racing and painting all the bikes. 

Nickname and if yes, what’s the story?

Em Bro – My brothers started calling me that when we were young; I hated it. Of course it stuck. It think at some point my cycling friends picked up on it and I guess it just fits since I always hang out with the boys. Plus it’s kinda fun to say. 

Where do you live now? 

I live in Sacramento. It took a few years to get realize what makes this city so special, but I really love it here now. 

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Encinitas, a beach town in the northern part of San Diego. 

Favorite place in your current city?

The American River. The river comes down from the Sierra Nevada and runs right through the city. I spend a ton of time out there. The trails are really cutty, fun to ride and constantly changing with the season. 

What do you like most about living in the city?

Being the capital of California, the city is really diverse, everyone is just doing their own thing. The city is pancake flat so it makes bike commuting really easy and accessible. 

What do you do for work?

Up until recently, I was a professional bike racer as well as co-owner of Squid Bikes. I just retired from racing and am now focusing on all that is Squid. 

Where do you draw inspiration from?

In terms of Squid, we started the brand inspired from skate / surf culture and design aesthetic. We wanted the bikes to look more like the bottom of surf and skate decks rather than the big bike company status quo. Stacy Paralta was a big inspiration. Growing up in the 80s and early 90s all that is neon and flashy has been a big component of what we do. I find daily inspiration from graffiti and street art, especially in terms of color pallets. 

What do you do for fun?

I pretty much love anything outside, but really love riding my bike. All of the bikes: mountain, cyclocross, tracklocross, even road. I love being on two wheels. I jump at any opportunity to getaway to the mountains and have always loved hiking and backpacking. I broke my leg this summer and have recently been enjoying kayaking (broken-leg-approved-activity.)

What’s your favorite way to get around town?

Townie, definitely my fixed gear town bike. 

What do you never leave home without?

Chapstick

Favorite thing you’ve made/done recently?

It sounds kinda silly but I was really proud of the booth we made for the North American Handmade Bike Show. We made it almost exclusively out of found and recycled wood and stuff we had lying around the shop. Compared to all the other booths ours was super janky but it was super DIY and felt very Squid. 

What’s your dream project?

Wow, that’s a really difficult question. Honestly, I really love what I’m doing on a daily basis. If I can dream it up, we pretty much get to try it out. 

Are you involved with any issues facing your city or community right now? Tell us about them

Women in sport, especially parity in the cycling world has been an issue throughout my career. Pay, job opportunities and prize money is incredibly unequal. I helped start and organize a UCI cyclocross race in Sacramento and parity was a really important part of the event. Highlighting the women’s event, racers and, equal prize purse. I have run a number of women’s cyclocross clinics. I have seen things change, but it’s been slow. 

Who is the woman/group of women who most inspires you?

I helped run the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour a few years ago that was started by Rebecca Rusch, a multi-time World Champion, Emmy award winner, adventurer, speaker and general all-around superstar. Working with Rebecca was amazing and additionally connected me with a number of other really strong, motivated and inspiring women.

Photography by Josh Sawyer, Squid Bikes, and Angel Perez.