BFF Bikes Racing Team

BFF Bikes Racing is Chicago’s first inclusive all­-women team with a strong focus on education and community building. Our team is made up of successful long­term racers, state champions as well as new racers. BFF Bikes Racing is the shop team for Chicago’s first women’s specific bike shop, started by BFFs Annie Byrne and Vanessa Buccella. BFF Bikes opened in March of 2014. Our team is active in road, track, mountain, and cyclocross racing. Check out the Events page for organized BFF team rides, clinics and weekly practices.

RONIT BEZALEL I’ve always loved riding my bike, and I somehow stumbled into racing.  My first race was a 10 mile mountain bike race in Wisconsin in 2002. I was hooked.  I’ve been racing on and off for about 12 years now.  My disciplines are mountain biking and cross. Every race teaches me life lessons, and that’s the most valuable thing of all.  I feel so fortunate to be on BFF and around this supportive group of women. It's really quite special. When I'm not biking, I'm a documentary filmmaker and photographer. Random fact: I don't have a cat or dog, but instead, an astounding cacti collection.

RONIT BEZALEL

I’ve always loved riding my bike, and I somehow stumbled into racing.  My first race was a 10 mile mountain bike race in Wisconsin in 2002. I was hooked.  I’ve been racing on and off for about 12 years now.  My disciplines are mountain biking and cross. Every race teaches me life lessons, and that’s the most valuable thing of all.  I feel so fortunate to be on BFF and around this supportive group of women. It's really quite special. When I'm not biking, I'm a documentary filmmaker and photographer. Random fact: I don't have a cat or dog, but instead, an astounding cacti collection.

ANNIE BYRNE FACT: I love to ride my bike more than anything else-- the faster the better. I lined up for my first race at the age of 31 and immediately found the rush completely addicting. Having felt so lucky to have discovered this new found source of extreme satisfaction, I wanted to share the love and get more women into biking and racing. This passion grew stronger and stronger and drove me to leave my profession as an urban planner, open up BFF Bikes, and create the greatest women's racing team.   Road and track racing are my favorite-- put the two together in a fixed gear crit and I cry tears of joy. I race cyclocross because my friends do and it improves my technical skills. After racing, my 2nd favorite thing is talking about racing, especially to those thinking about getting into it. So if you're thinking about it, don't be shy--find me in the shop or email me at annie@bffbikes.com!

ANNIE BYRNE

FACT: I love to ride my bike more than anything else-- the faster the better. I lined up for my first race at the age of 31 and immediately found the rush completely addicting. Having felt so lucky to have discovered this new found source of extreme satisfaction, I wanted to share the love and get more women into biking and racing. This passion grew stronger and stronger and drove me to leave my profession as an urban planner, open up BFF Bikes, and create the greatest women's racing team.  

Road and track racing are my favorite-- put the two together in a fixed gear crit and I cry tears of joy. I race cyclocross because my friends do and it improves my technical skills. After racing, my 2nd favorite thing is talking about racing, especially to those thinking about getting into it. So if you're thinking about it, don't be shy--find me in the shop or email me at annie@bffbikes.com!

KELSEY CAMPBELL-DOLLAGHAN

KELSEY CAMPBELL-DOLLAGHAN

HEATHER HAVILAND Bio Forthcoming

HEATHER HAVILAND

Bio Forthcoming

LYNNE KIESLING

LYNNE KIESLING

JENNIFER KOSATKA I have always loved riding my bike, but I did not discover bike racing until the summer of 2014.  After attending the BFF Bikes intro to racing workshop, and joining the team on several group rides, I decided to test my legs at the Intelligentsia Cup Chicago Criterium.  I ended up with a 3rd place finish, and it’s safe to say I was hooked. I jumped into the 2015 race season whole heartedly (81 races!!) and tried everything including road, time trial, criterium, gravel, mountain bike, track, and cyclocross races. My true love is racing crits, and some of my season highlights were winning the Intelligentsia Cup series for women category 4, getting my category 3 upgrade, and winning the last race of my season, Gateway Cup’s Benton Park Classic, with the help of some well-executed team tactics from Annie. As of the 2016 season, I finished as a Category 2 racer.

JENNIFER KOSATKA

I have always loved riding my bike, but I did not discover bike racing until the summer of 2014.  After attending the BFF Bikes intro to racing workshop, and joining the team on several group rides, I decided to test my legs at the Intelligentsia Cup Chicago Criterium.  I ended up with a 3rd place finish, and it’s safe to say I was hooked.

I jumped into the 2015 race season whole heartedly (81 races!!) and tried everything including road, time trial, criterium, gravel, mountain bike, track, and cyclocross races. My true love is racing crits, and some of my season highlights were winning the Intelligentsia Cup series for women category 4, getting my category 3 upgrade, and winning the last race of my season, Gateway Cup’s Benton Park Classic, with the help of some well-executed team tactics from Annie. As of the 2016 season, I finished as a Category 2 racer.

CHRISTINE LEPPANEN This Humboldt Park resident can usually be found on a bike, whether it’s racing skinny tires (track/crits) for BFF Bikes, donning pearls throughout the Chicago Cross Cup, or getting exposed to radioactive waste while mountain biking at Palos with her husband, Justice.  When she is not out riding, Christine is keeping a close eye on her mischievous pet turtle, Tommy (who's female), and studying to be a court reporter.  She also likes anything from the late 90s, fruit snacks, and novelty coffee mugs.  And cheap sunglasses.  And stickers.

CHRISTINE LEPPANEN

This Humboldt Park resident can usually be found on a bike, whether it’s racing skinny tires (track/crits) for BFF Bikes, donning pearls throughout the Chicago Cross Cup, or getting exposed to radioactive waste while mountain biking at Palos with her husband, Justice.  When she is not out riding, Christine is keeping a close eye on her mischievous pet turtle, Tommy (who's female), and studying to be a court reporter.  She also likes anything from the late 90s, fruit snacks, and novelty coffee mugs.  And cheap sunglasses.  And stickers.

ELIZABETH MCKINLEY

ELIZABETH MCKINLEY

LAURA PYLE I started bike commuting in 2007 and started racing in 2012, just before I moved from Chicago back to Virginia. I loved the mountain biking and hills I found (I'm in the Shenandoah Valley) but I missed the cityscape of lady racers, so I jumped at the chance to be a long-distance BFF. 800 miles is nothing when your team is this awesome! I race MTB, road, and so much cyclocross.

LAURA PYLE

I started bike commuting in 2007 and started racing in 2012, just before I moved from Chicago back to Virginia. I loved the mountain biking and hills I found (I'm in the Shenandoah Valley) but I missed the cityscape of lady racers, so I jumped at the chance to be a long-distance BFF. 800 miles is nothing when your team is this awesome! I race MTB, road, and so much cyclocross.

KAYCI STERZER I started bike commuting in 2007 and rediscovered that bikes are the best way to get around. On a whim I did a cyclocross race at Hopkins Park 2 years ago, where I first saw the BFF crew. I felt really drawn to this community of such strong supportive badass ladies, and joined the team in 2015 to do my first season of cross. I'm looking forward to continuing to grow as a cyclist and trying different racing disciplines this year. In addition to biking, I love climbing, dogs, grandpa sweaters, and coffee. 

KAYCI STERZER

I started bike commuting in 2007 and rediscovered that bikes are the best way to get around. On a whim I did a cyclocross race at Hopkins Park 2 years ago, where I first saw the BFF crew. I felt really drawn to this community of such strong supportive badass ladies, and joined the team in 2015 to do my first season of cross. I'm looking forward to continuing to grow as a cyclist and trying different racing disciplines this year. In addition to biking, I love climbing, dogs, grandpa sweaters, and coffee. 

JASMIN WELTER Up to a random day in January 2014, I couldn't have cared less about bicycles. After having been talked into trying the sport, I developed a strong passion for riding - and swimming and running. So yes, I'm the outcast triathlete on the team, but I also love gravel and CX racing, mountain biking and the occasional trip to the velodrome - especially with this amazing team of fierce, supportive and overall rad women.

JASMIN WELTER

Up to a random day in January 2014, I couldn't have cared less about bicycles. After having been talked into trying the sport, I developed a strong passion for riding - and swimming and running. So yes, I'm the outcast triathlete on the team, but I also love gravel and CX racing, mountain biking and the occasional trip to the velodrome - especially with this amazing team of fierce, supportive and overall rad women.

VANESSA BUCCELLA I've been falling into the black hole of cycling since I was 13 and bought a Schwinn Criss Cross. My dad road a motorcycle, so I guess something about the freedom of the road and the wind in my hair is in my blood. Since 13, I've been a bike messenger, year-round commuter, and racer. A few years ago I decided to turn my life's passion into my life's work, so I opened BFF Bikes with Annie Byrne.  Since joy shared, is joy doubled, I've  also made it my mission to get more women on bikes and get more women racing bikes.  By far my favorite race is a fast crit on a hot mid-summer day. I'll keep busy in the fall with some cyclocross and you might even find me mountain biking or racing on the track. I look forward to racing again after giving birth to my son, and being able to hold him while I stand on the podium one day. 

VANESSA BUCCELLA


I've been falling into the black hole of cycling since I was 13 and bought a Schwinn Criss Cross. My dad road a motorcycle, so I guess something about the freedom of the road and the wind in my hair is in my blood. Since 13, I've been a bike messenger, year-round commuter, and racer. A few years ago I decided to turn my life's passion into my life's work, so I opened BFF Bikes with Annie Byrne.  Since joy shared, is joy doubled, I've  also made it my mission to get more women on bikes and get more women racing bikes. 

By far my favorite race is a fast crit on a hot mid-summer day. I'll keep busy in the fall with some cyclocross and you might even find me mountain biking or racing on the track. I look forward to racing again after giving birth to my son, and being able to hold him while I stand on the podium one day. 

ANNICKA CAMPBELL-DOLLAGHAN After years of intense and mostly one-sided competition with Milwaukee Avenue bike commuters, I went on a group ride with BFF in 2014. A short list of my favorite things about riding and racing with this amazing team includes:  1. Stopping at the Waterfall Glen gas station for free fizzy water during summer group rides 2. The tingling feeling you get near the end of a hilly road race (probably a mix of adrenaline and heat stroke) 3. Using the phrase "put the hammer down" 

ANNICKA CAMPBELL-DOLLAGHAN

After years of intense and mostly one-sided competition with Milwaukee Avenue bike commuters, I went on a group ride with BFF in 2014. A short list of my favorite things about riding and racing with this amazing team includes: 

1. Stopping at the Waterfall Glen gas station for free fizzy water during summer group rides

2. The tingling feeling you get near the end of a hilly road race (probably a mix of adrenaline and heat stroke)

3. Using the phrase "put the hammer down" 

CRYSTAL COSTELLO I first started riding in August 2015 when I began commuting to work. Each day I fell more in love with cycling and decided to race through the 2015 Cyclocross season. I look forward to trying new forms of racing and to the time I will spend with this amazing team. 

CRYSTAL COSTELLO

I first started riding in August 2015 when I began commuting to work. Each day I fell more in love with cycling and decided to race through the 2015 Cyclocross season. I look forward to trying new forms of racing and to the time I will spend with this amazing team. 

LISA HILLEREN I've been riding bikes forever, including spending the last couple of years leading club rides for BFF, but I never thought I would race. When Chicago Women's Elite Cycling put on the Midwest Women's Road Race Championship over the summer, I was eventually convinced to give racing a try. It turns out I do like racing and there was no other team I would want to do it with. I've had a blast racing cyclocross and am very much looking forward to trying out new disciplines and pushing myself to grow as a cyclist with the support of my teammates.

LISA HILLEREN

I've been riding bikes forever, including spending the last couple of years leading club rides for BFF, but I never thought I would race. When Chicago Women's Elite Cycling put on the Midwest Women's Road Race Championship over the summer, I was eventually convinced to give racing a try. It turns out I do like racing and there was no other team I would want to do it with. I've had a blast racing cyclocross and am very much looking forward to trying out new disciplines and pushing myself to grow as a cyclist with the support of my teammates.

KATIE KOLON

KATIE KOLON

SARA LAURINO Using a bike as my sole mode of transport since my first job in high school, it has carried me through life in 4 US cities and 1 West African nation (Burkina Faso), as well as countless trips elsewhere. By depending on and trusting my bike I learned to do the same for myself, my ability to transport myself anywhere, and to handle whatever happens along the way. I came across racing through the ChiCrossCup series 3 years ago, and have been a happy member of BFF racing for 2 years.  I enjoy CX, MTB, road, long group rides, solo tours, and above all else: empowering young women and girls to believe in themselves because a bike really can take you anywhere. 

SARA LAURINO

Using a bike as my sole mode of transport since my first job in high school, it has carried me through life in 4 US cities and 1 West African nation (Burkina Faso), as well as countless trips elsewhere. By depending on and trusting my bike I learned to do the same for myself, my ability to transport myself anywhere, and to handle whatever happens along the way. I came across racing through the ChiCrossCup series 3 years ago, and have been a happy member of BFF racing for 2 years.  I enjoy CX, MTB, road, long group rides, solo tours, and above all else: empowering young women and girls to believe in themselves because a bike really can take you anywhere. 

LISA LIM It didn't take much to fall in love with racing cyclocross. After renting a bike and racing my first cx at Dan Ryan Woods, I was hooked. Going from idle to full throttle is an amazing challenge on two wheels with grass, dirt and sand. The camaraderie at the beginning and end of each race is great, sandwiched with all business in the middle. So proud to represent the BFF racing team.

LISA LIM

It didn't take much to fall in love with racing cyclocross. After renting a bike and racing my first cx at Dan Ryan Woods, I was hooked. Going from idle to full throttle is an amazing challenge on two wheels with grass, dirt and sand. The camaraderie at the beginning and end of each race is great, sandwiched with all business in the middle.

So proud to represent the BFF racing team.

ERIN OBRADOVICH As the kid of a cycling nerd I was forced to endure multiple viewings of Breaking Away and endless VHS recordings of Greg Lemond and Miguel Indurain Tour de France replays. I resisted as long as I could by cycling in all other forms: commuting, tour guiding, general adventuring and group riding. In 2014 I finally gave in after meeting the incredibly welcoming, encouraging and strong women of BFF, and the rest is history. Racing disciplines: ALL, but with a special love for road (succumbing to the fate of watching all those videos I guess).

ERIN OBRADOVICH

As the kid of a cycling nerd I was forced to endure multiple viewings of Breaking Away and endless VHS recordings of Greg Lemond and Miguel Indurain Tour de France replays. I resisted as long as I could by cycling in all other forms: commuting, tour guiding, general adventuring and group riding. In 2014 I finally gave in after meeting the incredibly welcoming, encouraging and strong women of BFF, and the rest is history. Racing disciplines: ALL, but with a special love for road (succumbing to the fate of watching all those videos I guess).

MARY RUSSELL I got my first road bike in 2010 when I completed a charity ride from New York to San Francisco. I continued cycling recreationally but was very apprehensive about racing. I first learned about the BFF Bikes Racing team via social media in 2014. I contacted Annie and Vanessa and the rest is history! I have since raced in several disciplines including criterium, road, track, cyclocross, and mountain. I am excited to see what else is in store and feel fortunate to be racing with such a supportive group of women.

MARY RUSSELL

I got my first road bike in 2010 when I completed a charity ride from New York to San Francisco. I continued cycling recreationally but was very apprehensive about racing. I first learned about the BFF Bikes Racing team via social media in 2014. I contacted Annie and Vanessa and the rest is history! I have since raced in several disciplines including criterium, road, track, cyclocross, and mountain. I am excited to see what else is in store and feel fortunate to be racing with such a supportive group of women.

IFI SUSANA I love bikes, love dogs, love cats, and love wine. However I really the combination of said bikes, dogs, cats, and wine! Joining BFF gave me the opportunity to enjoy all said things (celebratory wine only after hard training sessions and races of course) with a group of amazing, fun fast, and talents women! We at BFF Bikes so awesome that we also regularly hold fundraiser for One Tail at a Time so check out our next event for puppies (or all our events in hopes of puppies (also available for adoption))!  You will find me training on my trusty steed Idris Cumberbatch and at local road and CX races talking about bikes, dogs, cats, and wine (and also racing).

IFI SUSANA

I love bikes, love dogs, love cats, and love wine. However I really the combination of said bikes, dogs, cats, and wine! Joining BFF gave me the opportunity to enjoy all said things (celebratory wine only after hard training sessions and races of course) with a group of amazing, fun fast, and talents women! We at BFF Bikes so awesome that we also regularly hold fundraiser for One Tail at a Time so check out our next event for puppies (or all our events in hopes of puppies (also available for adoption))!  You will find me training on my trusty steed Idris Cumberbatch and at local road and CX races talking about bikes, dogs, cats, and wine (and also racing).

Teammates not shown above:
Trish Bosch
Melissa King
Margaret McGill
Kolleen McNalis
Heather Muller
Kelly O'Brien
Amber Ritter
Harley Smith
Carol Snow
Christine Thornburg
Julie Yeagle